Not quite Powell's last film, since he followed it with The Boy Who Turned Yellow for the Children's Film Foundation, and his revised version of The Edge of the World; but it is a last return to his favourite theme of the artist taking stock of his life, which he treats with new mellowness while exploiting '60s liberality to give it a direct erotic dimension. Mason plays a commercially successful painter who retires from New York to the Great Barrier Reef; his creative drive is re-awakened when he finds there an innocent but physically mature teenager, whom he strips and paints at the first opportunity. The emotional and psychological results of the encounter are followed through with exemplary seriousness and wit, in some way anticipating the themes and visuals of Nicolas Roeg's Walkabout. There are some nervous insertions of redundant comic relief, but not enough to shatter the prevailing mood: brilliant sunlight illuminating all the unmomentous ins and outs of a human passion.
Cast and crew