The Heart of the Matter 1953

Yet another one with Maria Schell in it – hadn’t realised that until I came to look through the actors.

Also it is a film set in Sierra Leone. A dear friend and near neighbour of ours, who sadly passed away in 2012, had spent two years in the country during the War. He spoke very well of it, in that it was quite safe from German Bombers as they didn’t have the range, but the main dis-advantage was Malaria.

The weather is very hot and tropical so in many ways a paradise

Trevor Howard gives a capable performance as a British colonial policeman who is stationed in Sierra Leone caught up in a mid life crisis. He’s fallen out of love with wife Elizabeth Allan whom he sends away on money borrowed from a man who the authorities suspect of smuggling, an offence during wartime.

He also falls in love with Maria Schell, an Austrian refugee who with others had been on a life raft for 40 days at sea after Elizabeth Allan has been sent away. That and the fact that he now has the appearance of impropriety has his superiors questioning him after accusations were brought by another civilian Denholm Elliott.

Howard’s troubles are big, but he is his own harshest judge

Peter Finch played the priest, Father Rank in the film – he had just finished ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’ for Walt Disney, then Gilbert and Sullivan and also a stage play in the West End with Laurence Olivier and shortly after this he was heading to Ceylon for ‘Elephant Walk’ with Vivien Leigh. As we all know by now, Vivien Leigh became ill in Ceylon and had to be flown back to Britain – her place was taken by Elizabeth Taylor.

Peter Finch

So we can see that Peter Finch was then a very busy actor

Trevor Howard looking quite stern

ABOVE – the actors and crew gather together on the set of the film

Arriving in Sierra Leone

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