THE TUTTLES OF TAHITI
(director: Charles Vidor; screenwriters: Robert Carson/S. Lewis Meltzer/James Hilton/from the James Norman Hall & Charles Nordhoff novel in the Saturday Evening Post “No More Gas”; cinematographer: Nicholas Musuraca; editor: Frederic Knudtson; music: Roy Webb; cast: Charles Laughton (Jonas Tuttle), Jon Hall (Chester Tuttle), Peggy Drake (Tamara), Victor Francen (Dr. Blondin), Gene Reynolds (Ru Tuttle), Florence Bates (Emily), Curt Bois (Jensen), Adeline De Walt Reynolds (Mama Ruau), Mala (Nat), Leonard Sues (Fana); Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Sol Lesser; RKO; 1942)
“It’s silly but harmless fun.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Charles Vidor (“Cover Girl”/”Gilda”/”The Mask of Fu Manchu”) directs a breezy but flat comedy about a lazy and playful family living in Tahiti. It’s based on the novel “No More Gas” that was written by Norman Hall & Charles Nordhoff, and appeared in the Saturday Evening Post. It’s gamely written by Robert Carson, S. Lewis Meltzer and James Hilton.
The handsome Chester Tuttle (Jon Hall) returns home to his large beloved family in Tahiti after three years at sea. He’s broke but brings to his poverty-stricken family a fighting cock from San Francisco called Black Eagle, and the idler family believe they will get rich betting on their rooster against their wealthy neighbor Emily’s (Florence Bates) rooster. Getting money to make the bet depends on having gas for their fishing boat. The fun-loving patriarch, Jonas Tuttle (Charles Laughton), manages to sell his fishing boat to his landlord Jensen (Curt Bois), but the cock runs out on the fight and the patriarch misplaces the money from the boat deal. Meanwhile Emily’s daughter Tamara (Peggy Drake) falls for the smitten Chester, to the disapproval of her mom. Emily breaks up the marriage when she realizes Chester is broke.
It’s silly but harmless fun. It tells a tale of an irresponsible and carefree family, that’s well-executed despite its slight plot and dullish dialogue.
REVIEWED ON 7/2/2015 GRADE: B-