Outcast of the Islands

Film, Action and adventure

Time Out says

With all its faults, still one of the cinema's sharpest stabs at Conrad. Chief problem is the script, which tends to turn the whole thing towards picaresque tropical adventure by introducing character after character without ever quite pinning down the moral conflicts illuminated by their interaction. The recurring Conrad theme (clash between noble and ignoble) was probably doomed anyway, since Richardson gives a bizarrely stilted performance as Lingard, thereby depriving Willems (superbly played by Howard) of the sounding-board that measures his descent into moral degradation. A pity, since individual scenes have a power rare in Reed's work, and the last shot - of Aissa, the sultry beauty who both destroys and is destroyed by Willems, squatting balefully in the rain and seeming to melt back into the earth - perfectly encapsulates Conrad's ambivalent view of the man who is hopelessly wrong in all his actions yet represents a bold gesture towards life.

By: TM


Release details

102 mins

Cast and crew

Carol Reed
William Fairchild
Trevor Howard
Ralph Richardson
Wendy Hiller
Robert Morley
George Coulouris
Wilfrid Hyde-White
Frederick Valk
Betty Ann Davies
AV Bramble
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