Pierre Marteau's Publishing House


John Cromwell. USA 1942. - 98 min. - b/w
Historical, Adventure, with songs

Working Title: BENJAMIN BLAKE;
Onscreen Subtitel: »The Story of Benjamin Blake«

Release Date: 30.01.1942; 1949 (Germany)

Distributor: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Production Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Produced by: Darryl F. Zanuck.
Associated Producer: William Perlberg

Screenplay: Philip Dunne
Based on: Edison Marshall's novel Benjamin Blake (New York 1941)

Cinematography: Arthur Miller
Music: Alfred Newman
Film Editing: Walter Thompson
Set Decoration: Thomas Little

Tyrone Power (Benjamin Blake)
Gene Tierney (Eve)
George Sanders (Sir Arthur Blake)
Frances Farmer (Isabel Blake)
Roddy McDowall (Benjamin [Blake], as a boy)
John Carradine (Caleb Green),
Elsa Lanchester (Bristol Isabel)


In Bristol, England, during the reign of George III, gunsmith Amos Kidder is responsible for his young grandson, Benjamin Blake, as Amos' daughter Bessie ran away to India with Benjamin's father, Sir Godfrey Blake, the baronet of Breetholm, and both died after Benjamin was born. It is presumed that they never married, but Amos does not love his grandson any less for his illegitimacy. Their simple lives are destroyed, however, when Benjamin's cruel uncle, Sir Arthur Blake, learns of the boy's existence and demands that he live at Breetholm as a bonded servant. The law, which is on Arthur's side, forces Benjamin to comply, and in order to prove himselv a true Blake, the boy endures his uncle's continous mistreatment. Ten years pass, and Benjamin grows to manhood, works as one of the estate's grooms and falls in love with his cousin Isabel, Arthur's scheming yet lovely daughter. One evening, Benjamin tells Isabel that he is running away, and makes her promise to wait for him. She agrees to marry him when he is declared the rightful owner of the estate, but when Arthur catches them together, he beats Benjamin until he is unconscious. Later that night, Benjamin confronts Arthur, who holds a gun on him and threatens to send him to jail. Benjamin escapes and stows away aboard the Tropic Star. He is beaten when he is discovered on the ship, but as time pases, he becomes an excellent sailor. Benjamin is befriended by Caleb Green, who tells him about a tropical island where they can find a fortune in pearls. The pair desert ship and swim to the island, and there Benjamin wins the trust of the natives. Benjamin and Caleb enjoy their idyll while they collect pearls, although Caleb soon leaves their hut when a native woman, called Eve by Benjamin, moves in with Benjamin. The couple live happily as husband and wife, despite Eve's awareness that Benjamin is homesick and will leave someday. When a Dutch ship sails nearby, Eve sends Benjamin off with her blessing and he returns to England. There, he engages the services of influential solicitor Barholomew Pratt, who promises to help him reclaim his birthright. Benjamin visits Isabel, who betrays him to the king's soldiers despite her assurances that she still loves him. When Benjamin is brought to trial for running away and trying to assault his master, he does not offer any defense, admitting that he performed the acts of which he is acused. He is about to be sentenced to death when Pratt appears in the courtroom. Pratt reveals that because BenjaminÄs father and mother were married aboard shop as they sailed to INdia, Benjamin is the rightful heir of Breetholm and is therefore not guilty of any crime. After being released, Benjamin goes to the manor house, where he learns of Isabel's reachery. He evicts his relatives, deeds the manor house to Amos and orders that the land be divided among the tenant farmers. Benjamin then returns to his island paradise to live the rest of his life with Eve.

(Source: American Film Institue Catalog)