The year is 1957 on the tropical island of Santa Marta, the elections are coming up and David Boyer (Harry Belafonte – Carmen Jones), a charming young black leader, is a serious threat to the many years of British rule on the island. Boyer's political beliefs are put to the test when he becomes involved with Mavis Norman (Joan Fontaine – South Pacific, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea), a white woman. Maxwell Fleury (James Mason – The Verdict, Heaven Can Wait), a wealthy white man, is Boyer's main political foe, but he has a secret in his own past that could be his undoing. Fleury also believes that his wife (Diana Wynyard – leading British stage actress) is having an affair and is driven to a jealous fury as a result. Fleury's sister, Jocelyn (Joan Collins – from television's Dynasty) has her hands full with her romance with Euan Templeton (Stephen Boyd – Ben-Hur, Genghis Khan). David Archer (John Justin – The Thief of Baghdad), a white man who is the governor's right hand man, also finds himself in a relationship with Margot Seaton, (Dorothy Dandridge – Carmen Jones, Porgy and Bess) a black woman. This is an island with plenty of scandal, political maneuvering and interracial romance.
Shot in Barbados the location is beautiful, but it is definitely the strongest aspect of this film. O.k., Harry Belafonte's singing is not bad either. The only problem with his performance is that director Robert Rossen (All the King's Men) does not use him enough. Island in the Sun is a film that deals with an issue (black/white relations), but it tends to get too preachy at times. The romances are not very compelling and seem to have only been tacked on as an afterthought – either that or the fact that the film is trying to examine the still controversial issue of interracial romance is not done very well. Being that this was a hot topic, the interracial couples were not allowed to even kiss onscreen; it makes it quite hard to convey passion or love without any physical contact. I am sure at the time the interracial topic made many uncomfortable; but it seems that that sentiment has been transferred on to the cast, who themselves don't seem completely comfortable.
-Dorothy Dandridge: Little Girl Lost
-Fox flix: Trailers for South Pacific and Carmen Jones