Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)

106-107 mins | Drama | March 1957

Full page view
HISTORY

The film opens with the following written acknowledgment: "Twentieth Century-Fox acknowledges with thanks the generous cooperation of the United States Marine Corps in the production of Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison ." At the end of the film, the comma in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison is replaced by a period to read Heaven Knows. Mr. Allison . Although the nun is called "Sister Angela" in the film, the Var review lists her as "Sister Angelica."
       HR news items yield the following information about the production: In Jul 1952, Eugene Frenke purchased the rights to Charles Shaw's novel. Under the terms of their contract, Shaw was to receive ten percent of the profits. Shaw's generous financial arrangement caused financing difficulties, forcing Frenke to relinquish his ownership of the rights, according to a Nov 1953 news item in Publishers Weekly . In Dec 1953, LAEx reported that John Wayne and Robert Fellows had attempted to buy the rights to the novel, but Frenke regained control. Wayne had intended to star, but was replaced by Kirk Douglas after losing the rights. In May 1954, a HR news item stated that Paramount was negotiating with Frenke for the rights and William Wyler was slated to direct.
       An Apr 1954 HR news item noted that in the film's original plot, the female lead had stolen a nun's habit and was posing as a sister to elude the Japanese. The Catholic Church rejected this story line because the woman and the Marine fall in love. In the Shaw novel, however, the female protagonist was a nun. ... More Less

The film opens with the following written acknowledgment: "Twentieth Century-Fox acknowledges with thanks the generous cooperation of the United States Marine Corps in the production of Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison ." At the end of the film, the comma in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison is replaced by a period to read Heaven Knows. Mr. Allison . Although the nun is called "Sister Angela" in the film, the Var review lists her as "Sister Angelica."
       HR news items yield the following information about the production: In Jul 1952, Eugene Frenke purchased the rights to Charles Shaw's novel. Under the terms of their contract, Shaw was to receive ten percent of the profits. Shaw's generous financial arrangement caused financing difficulties, forcing Frenke to relinquish his ownership of the rights, according to a Nov 1953 news item in Publishers Weekly . In Dec 1953, LAEx reported that John Wayne and Robert Fellows had attempted to buy the rights to the novel, but Frenke regained control. Wayne had intended to star, but was replaced by Kirk Douglas after losing the rights. In May 1954, a HR news item stated that Paramount was negotiating with Frenke for the rights and William Wyler was slated to direct.
       An Apr 1954 HR news item noted that in the film's original plot, the female lead had stolen a nun's habit and was posing as a sister to elude the Japanese. The Catholic Church rejected this story line because the woman and the Marine fall in love. In the Shaw novel, however, the female protagonist was a nun. In May 1954, Wyler submitted a new story line that was approved by the Church. A modern source adds that the project was shelved after Wyler lost interest. A late Apr 1954 news item noted that Frenke was negotiating with several studios to produce the film. A May 1954 DV item noted that Charles Feldman purchased the rights from Frenke and would co-produce the picture with him. By Jun 1954, HR announced that Twentieth Century-Fox had bought the rights to the novel as a vehicle for Clark Gable. In Dec 1955, John Lee Mahin was borrowed from Louis B. Mayer to write the screenplay and, according to a 4 Jun 1956 HR news item, Anthony Mann was to direct the film and Ellis St. Joseph was to write the script.
       According to a Nov 1956 NYT news item, the picture, which began production under John Huston's direction in Aug 1956, was shot on location in the West Indies to qualify it as a British quota picture. Modern sources note that the Marines featured in the cast were based in Trinidad and add Fusamoto Takasimi, Noboru Yoshida and Anna Sten to the cast; however, Sten was not in the released film. Deborah Kerr was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress, but lost to Ingrid Bergman in Anastasia (see above). More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
23 Mar 1957.
---
Box Office
30 Mar 1957.
---
Daily Variety
7 May 1954.
---
Daily Variety
15 Mar 57
p. 3.
Film Daily
15 Mar 57
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jul 1952.
---
Hollywood Reporter
4 Dec 1953.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Mar 1954.
---
Hollywood Reporter
27 Apr 1954.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 May 1954.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jun 1954.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Sep 55
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Dec 55
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Aug 56
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Oct 56
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Dec 56
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Mar 57
p. 3.
Los Angeles Examiner
4 Dec 1953.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
16 Mar 57
p. 297.
New York Times
18 Nov 1956.
---
New York Times
14 Mar 57
p. 35.
New York Times
15 Mar 57
p. 22.
Publisher's Weekly
14 Nov 1953.
---
Variety
20 Mar 57
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus comp
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison by Charles Shaw (London, 1952).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else But Me)," music and lyrics by Lew Brown, Charlie Tobias and Sammy Stept.
DETAILS
Release Date:
March 1957
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Los Angeles: 13 March 1957
Production Date:
early August--early December 1956
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Group Productions
Copyright Date:
15 March 1957
Copyright Number:
LP8752
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound Recording; Westrex Recording System
Color
De Luxe
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Lenses/Prints
lenses by Bausch & Lomb
Duration(in mins):
106-107
Length(in reels):
12
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

In 1944, somewhere in the South Pacific, Corporal Allison, a lone Marine, drifts, half-conscious in a life raft. Spotting land, he jumps overboard, pulls the raft to the beach and scouts the island. Coming upon a church, Allison is startled to see a nun, clad in an all-white habit, sweeping the porch. The nun, Sister Angela, is equally stunned to see him. After she informs him that although she is the only inhabitant of the island, God is her constant companion, Allison, exhausted, passes out. Upon awakening, the nun feeds him the last of her supplies and presents him with a pipe that once belonged to Father Philips, an elderly, beloved priest who died on the island. Sister Angela recounts that she and Father Philips came to the island to take the local priest to safety in Fiji. Once they reached the island, however, the natives who rowed them there fled in fright, leaving them stranded. The Japanese soldiers had wiped out all signs of life, and the local priest had vanished. Soon after, Father Philips died, leaving Sister Angela totally alone. Allison then relates that he ended up alone after the Japanese sunk his submarine, killing all but himself. The nun and the Marine begin to form a bond as they work in unison to catch a turtle for dinner. That night, Allison proposes that they attempt to sail the three hundred miles to Fiji on his raft. The sister eagerly consents to join him, and begins to weave a rudder from palm leaves. While working one day, the gruff, poorly educated Marine, wary of offending the proper nun, ... +


In 1944, somewhere in the South Pacific, Corporal Allison, a lone Marine, drifts, half-conscious in a life raft. Spotting land, he jumps overboard, pulls the raft to the beach and scouts the island. Coming upon a church, Allison is startled to see a nun, clad in an all-white habit, sweeping the porch. The nun, Sister Angela, is equally stunned to see him. After she informs him that although she is the only inhabitant of the island, God is her constant companion, Allison, exhausted, passes out. Upon awakening, the nun feeds him the last of her supplies and presents him with a pipe that once belonged to Father Philips, an elderly, beloved priest who died on the island. Sister Angela recounts that she and Father Philips came to the island to take the local priest to safety in Fiji. Once they reached the island, however, the natives who rowed them there fled in fright, leaving them stranded. The Japanese soldiers had wiped out all signs of life, and the local priest had vanished. Soon after, Father Philips died, leaving Sister Angela totally alone. Allison then relates that he ended up alone after the Japanese sunk his submarine, killing all but himself. The nun and the Marine begin to form a bond as they work in unison to catch a turtle for dinner. That night, Allison proposes that they attempt to sail the three hundred miles to Fiji on his raft. The sister eagerly consents to join him, and begins to weave a rudder from palm leaves. While working one day, the gruff, poorly educated Marine, wary of offending the proper nun, explains that he never knew his parents and took the name of Allison from the street on which his orphanage was situated. He continues that the Marine Corps offered respite from his life as a juvenile delinquent and concludes that the Marines are his church. Hearing the sound of Japanese reconnaissance bombers, the two take shelter in a cave. That night, the ground rumbles as the Japanese pummel the island with their bombs, causing Sister Angela to shake uncontrollably. Allison tries to reassure her, but they emerge to find the island in flames, their raft destroyed. Out of the rubble, Allison finds the charred church cross and presents it to Sister Angela. A flotilla of Japanese ships then appear on the horizon, and soon a battalion of soldiers are charging up the beach, forcing Allison and Sister Angela to retreat to their cave. With raw fish as their only food source, Allison sneaks into the Japanese camp one night to pilfer some supplies. Trapped in his hiding place when some officers enter the supply room to play a game of Go, Allison is forced to stay the night in the camp. Come morning, when the troops assemble for reveille, Allison steals back to the cave and finds the nun wandering the jungle, cross in hand, anxiously searching for him. When Allison presents her with a gift of a comb he fashioned from a reed, Sister Angela tells him that although nuns do not use combs because their hair is so short, she will cherish his as a keepsake. After Allison observes that leaving the nunnery must be akin to deserting the Marines, the sister confides that she has not yet taken her final vows. That night, the sky is lit by the gunfire of a distant sea battle, and by the next morning, the Japanese troops have departed. Relieved, Allison begs Sister Angela not to take her vows and proposes to her, but is embarrassed when she responds that she has already given her heart to Christ. The next day, he apologizes to the nun and avers that a Marine is not the marrying kind. That night, as a heavy rain pounds their shack, Allison gets drunk on sake and laments the irony of being stuck on a desert island with an attractive nun. When he smashes Father Philips' pipe in frustration, Sister Angela runs out into the rainy night. Allison finds her the next morning, soaked and delirious. Soon after, the Japanese return and Allison carries her into the cave and then sneaks into one of their tents to retrieve some dry clothes for her. Discovered by a soldier, Allison stabs the man and dumps his body into the water. Two days later, Sister Angela awakens, now coherent, and Allison informs her that the Japanese have returned. When the island erupts in flames, Allison explains that he had to kill a man, and thereby alert the enemy of their existence. As Sister Angela prays, the soldiers locate their cave. The Japanese are about to toss in a grenade when Allied bombers announce their presence, causing Allison to dance in delight. With dawn approaching, Allison announces that he has received a message from God, directing him to lessen casualties by disabling the massive Japanese artillery guns. While throwing the breech blocks for the guns into the sea, Allison is wounded. His mission accomplished, Allison returns to the cave, and knowing that they will soon be rescued, bids goodbye to the nun. In response, she promises he will be her dear companion always. As the American flag is hoisted over the island, American Marines carry Allison down the hill on a stretcher, the nun walking by his side. +

GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
World War II


Subject

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.