122 minutes| U.K.| 1950| Colour| D-Cinema

One of the most ravishing romances ever committed to celluloid, Lewin’s film is a genuine oddity: at once coolly literate, intensely passionate, and quite sensuously surreal.

Transposing to 1930s Spain the old legend of a loner doomed to sail the seven seas forever unless he’s redeemed by a woman’s love, Lewin centres his film on the alluring Pandora (Ava Gardner), courted by a clutch of expats and locals but intrigued by the arrival of a mysterious yachtsman (James Mason) who drops anchor outside the village. The film is as audaciously stylised and erudite as a Powell-Pressburger movie – unsurprising, perhaps, given the presence of actors like Sheila Sim and John Laurie, and the stunning Technicolor camerawork by Archers regular Jack Cardiff. His immaculately lit compositions, often evoking the delirious dreaminess of a Delvaux or De Chirico painting, are beautifully served by this recent restoration. (Notes by Geoff Andrew)

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