Metro throws the full weight of its moneybags into Green Dolphin Street. To salvage the $4 million or so that went into this epic [based on the novel by Elizabeth Goudge], it must primarily count on the eminent saleability of earthquakes, tidal waves and native uprisings. Its curiously unreal story offers no help.
Flaws in the novel, which verbiage may have made less perceptible, sore-thumb their way through the pic. There’s the weak dramatic dodge, for one instance, of the wrong sister being married because she was mistakenly named by the suitor in a letter of proposal to her parents. And it’s nothing but a hokey have-your-cake-and-eat-it device to confer happiness on the other by retiring her to a religious order.
Alternately localed in primitive New Zealand and one of the French channel isles (circa 1840), pic details how Lana Turner, mistaken for her sister Donna Reed, makes the perilous sea voyage to the Antipodes to marry a deserter from the British navy.
When Victor Saville’s direction focuses on nature’s vengeance on man’s works, the handling is superb. The toppling of giant trees, the shuddering of splitting earth and, the sweep of a river rending everything in its path is simon-pure cinematology. Credit, too, the fetching grandeur of the New Zealand country.
Refusal by M-G-M’s studio-ites to recognize the ravages of time and events on the human face hampers Turner in depicting her exacting and pivotal role. As the gentler of the sisters, Reed is bogged by the weight of the yarn. Patly performing in the early reels, she fails to turn the hazardous trick of making her later conversion credible.
1947: Best Special Effects.
Nomination: Best B&W Cinematography, Editing, Sound