The Moon and Sixpence (1942)

“I hate love … It interferes with my work … Yet I am only human!” Dull, middle-aged British stockbroker “Charles Strickland” (George Sanders) undergoes a serious mid-life crisis, callously abandoning his wife and family, and embarking on a new life as a bohemian artist that eventually takes him from Paris to the island of Tahiti. Along the way, the thoroughly wretched Strickland runs off with “Blanche” (Doris Dudley), the wife of fellow painter “Dirk Stroeve” (Steven Geray). Blanche later commits suicide after Strickland walks out on her. Strickland lives an idyllic life in Tahiti with his new bride “Ata” (Elena Verdugo) until he is stricken with leprosy and dies. Strickland’s fascinating story is narrated by writer “Geoffrey Wolfe” (Herbert Marshall). Directed by Albert Lewin (The Picture of Dorian Gray) and based on the 1919 novel of the same name by W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence was loosely inspired by the life of French artist Paul Gauguin (who, for the record, actually died of syphilis). Although filmed in black and white, The Moon and Sixpence includes a brief color sequence highlighting Strickland’s Tahitian paintings. Look for Eric Blore as “Captain Nichols” and Rondo “The Creeper” Hatton as a village leper. Useless Trivia: Maugham took the novel’s title from a review of his 1915 novel, Of Human Bondage, which describes the protagonist, Philip Carey, as “so busy yearning for the moon that he never saw the sixpence at his feet.”

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