Monday, May 19, 2014

The Little Hut (1957)

“He trusts me too much. I think that’s his problem.”

            I always hate the questions what would you do if you were ever stranded on a desert island or what would be the one thing you would take with you on a desert island. They drive me nuts and in a way the thought makes me nervous. I do not even want to hypothetically think about being stranded on a desert. I am ass white and very anti-wilderness. I would burn and starve to death. Give me New York City or any city or civilization and I am fine! So obviously the perfect film for me to watch was The Little Hut where the three main characters get stranded on an island for almost two months.
            The film begins with an older couple visiting searching for an office in a large municipal building in London. They get to an office and ask to see their son Henry Brittingham-Bret (David Niven). They have returned from Australia after being away for some time. They ask Henry if he is still with his girlfriend Susan. Henry says no that she is now married to someone else and is Lady Susan Ashlow (Ava Gardner) now. He tells them he does not see her anymore nor write to her. Not a second after he tells his parents this and that he is busy for tea and dinner than Susan herself comes through the door as if she and Henry are still together. Susan shares that she sees more of Henry than she does her own husband.
            The following day Susan meets her husband Philip (Stewart Granger) at the airport. He has just come back from being away for a few weeks. She kisses him and he pulls away because there are photographers all around. Susan manages to convince Philip to take their yacht down to Rio where he has to be for work. She wants it to be just the two of them alone for a few weeks. He agrees to go after Susan’s pleading and insistence. Susan invited Henry and his parents over for dinner. After dinner she shows some videos of her and Henry doing things together. Some scenes show them kissing each other! Philip does not say a negative thing he likes the videos. On the way Henry’s mother says that Susan is using him to get Philip’s attention. That night while getting ready for bed Susan puts on a new nightgown and tries to talk to Philip but he just continues to do work in bed and not does not even pay attention to her.
            Susa had hoped to go on the yacht alone but Philip had other ideas. He invites a whole slew of guests. Even on the yacht Philip never gives Susan attention. She decides to phone Henry’s room in the early morning to go out on the deck. The cruise goes well until a huge tropical storm comes about. Philip kept telling Susan that the storm was nothing to worry about. Soon Henry, Susan, Philip, and Philip’s dog Nelson manage to get onto a lifeboat.
            The day after the storm all three castaways come to an island. Philip and Susan take to the island rather quickly seeing it as an adventure and a good time. Philip builds all kinds of contraptions and even a big hut for him and Susan and a little hut for Henry. Now Susan does not have to share Philip with anyone. Henry has a hard time keeping his feelings for Susan at bay. The more he sees Susan and Philip together the more annoyed and sad he feels. Henry’s feelings soon come to a head and lets Susan know that he is going to tell Philip about them. He suggests a “lend/lease” deal where both he and Philip get to share Susan. She does not like the idea at all and says she will not back him up. Henry pulls Philip aside and begins to talk to him. Susan claims she is going to do laundry at a spring but she hides behind some bushes. Philip thinks for some time Henry is talking about Nelson that he needs someone to stay with him in the little hut. When Henry tells Philip that he and Susan had an affair for two years Philip goes into a bit of shock. When she comes back Susan back Henry up because Philip says that she was incapable of having an affair and also because he did not kill Henry on the spot. That night at dinner Philip announces that since he is a ship captain that he can perform marriages and should be able to grant divorces. He lets Susan bring the divorce. She gives witness that her husband was not always around. The divorce is granted leaving Henry to be with Susan.
            All Susan can say once Philip goes to the little hit is “poor Philip”. Nelson will not let Henry into the big hut not matter how Henry tries to get him out. The next day at breakfast Susan and Philip flirt and hold hands like little kids. This makes Henry very anxious and uncomfortable.
            A man who looks like an island native comes to their camp. He shoots at Philip and Henry. When Susan comes out of the big hut the native stares at her and takes her towards the hut after he tied Henry and Philip up. Susan fell over as the native was walking towards her. He says he is sorry in English. The “native” was the cook on the yacht. He tells Susan he saw her on the other side of the island when she was swimming and he needed to satisfy his desires. Susan finds it funny and a good way to tease both her husband and friend.
            Off in the distance they hear cannon fire. A ship is out in the ocean not far from the island. After almost two months of being on the island all are saved and brought back to London.
            In the end the Ashlows stay together.
            I must gush about how incredibly fantastic Ava Gardner was. She was adorable and light and sweet. Gardner’s acting was great I think this is one of her best acted films I have seen. I liked seeing her desired but not desired because she was gorgeous but because a man truly loved her. She was not a femme fatale or the goddess of love. David Niven and Stewart Granger were alright they were good together and with Gardner.

            The Little Hut was a good film. I loved seeing Ava Gardner dressed in beautiful Dior gowns and being sweet. The story was good I actually did not mind seeing married couple in some strife or a woman falling for her friend. It was different and not typical. The story is based off a play with the film adaptation written by Nancy Mitford. Mitford was a British author. Her stories are usually witty and the characters unsure of themselves and very British. The Little Hut is enjoyable from the acting down to the story. I wish this was available on DVD. Unfortunately it is not even available to view on Youtube. Keep an eye out for it on TCM.