The Restless and the Damned

aka L'ambitieuse, The Climbers, The Dispossessed

The Restless and the Damned (Yves Allégret, 1959) aka L'ambitieuse, The Climbers, The Dispossessed; French/Italian/Aust coprop; last of features (partly) from the Lee Robinson & Chips Rafferty production team; ; filmed partly in Tahiti; Edmond O'Brien, Richard Basehart, Andréa Parisy, Nicole Berger, Nigel Lovell, Reginald Lye; drama; commercially unsuccessful

This was the last film from Southern International, Lee Robinson's production company (with Chips Rafferty). It was made as The Restless and the Damned but was never released under that title in any medium. It was shot, largely in Tahiti, in both French and English (separately) and did actually get a theatrical release under its French title. But it was only seen in English under one of its American TV/video titles as either The Climbers or The Dispossessed.

At the centre of the plot is an ambitious woman, Dominique (played by an actress one of whose names is Andréa Parisy and two of whose roles are 'une autostoppeuse' and 'striptease girl'). She has married the Richard Basehart character because he comes from a wealthy family with connections. What she really wants is a phosphate mine in the South Pacific (as you do) and Edmond O'Brien's character owns all of the leases, so she has to get involved with him, in a one-mine stand. To save you watching all this shit (that's what phosphate comes from in the South Pacific - bird shit): Basehart ends up dead, after shooting dead the wife (as you do) and O'Brien ends up as rich as Midas: everything he touches turns to ... no, it already was. An unenlightening viewing experience.

I'm assuming that the French director's command of English was only as good as his command of his actors, who do whatever they usually do - which in O'Brien's case is unforgivably over the top raving ham. His performance is just appalling. I believe Reg Lye is a good actor - as shown in Sunday Too Far Away, for which he won an Honourable Mention (for a supporting role) AFI in 1975. But here he's dragged down by bad company.

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