Vessel of Wrath
Time Out saysLaughton's venture into independent production, of which this was the first fruit, afforded him a welcome opportunity to escape typecasting as a monster. Set in the Dutch East Indies, the Somerset Maugham story - gradual defrosting of a frigid spinster by a drunken reprobate ('I suppose I'm jealous of the reckless way he squanders the precious treasure of life') - may be clichéd, but Laughton's performance adds an extra dimension. Burdened and embarrassed by his homosexual inclinations, he obviously entered with gusto into this portrayal of a man with problems in every area of his life apart from sex. Playing opposite his real life wife, he carefully combines conventions of masculinity with the self-doubt and inadequacy of his own persona to create an almost Falstaffian screen character.