The paper "Island in the Sun" is a good example of a movie review on visual arts and film studies. The events in the movie take place on the Caribbean island in the colonial era of the British. This island is surrounded by and has beautiful sceneries. The events take place on the eve of an election period. The center of attention is about a black male with an eye of a political position, who is also handsome and charming. However the romantic liaison this black man has with a white woman clash with his political aspirations as he sees it would ruin him. The interracial kiss seen in the movie raised numerous debates in the U.S. at that time when it was released. The movie’s theme is reinforced by revealing also the lives of a rich white family on the island. This family goes through various contentious issues like infidelity, murder, and racial discrimination.
The film has used several black and white protagonists. James Mason (Maxwell Fleury) comes from a rich white family and his father owns a plantation in the highland. He plans to vie in the forthcoming elections but seems to have inferiority complex issues. He suspects that his wife Sylvia (Patricia Owens) cheats on him with Michael Rennie (Hillary Carson). Jocelyn (Joan Collins) who is Mason’s little sister is in love with the governor’s son Euan Templeton who is a war hero and had come to visit his father. The main competitor of Fleury is black man David Boyeur (Harry Belafonte) and enjoys huge popularity among the voters. The romantic relationship between Boyeur and a white woman, Mavis Norman (Joan Fontaine) raises tension in the movie. This interracial romance is continued with the affair between Margot Seaton (Dorothy Dandridge) who works in a pharmacy as a cashier, and a white aide to the governor Denis Archer (John Justin).
The revelation that Maxwell Fleury and her sister Jocelyn might be having black blood saddens them as they fear it might interfere with their social affairs with people. Jocelyn fears Euan might leave her due to this revelation and decides to engage sexually with Euan and later ends up being pregnant so as to entrap him. Later it is revealed that she has no black blood as Mr. Fleury turns up to be, not her father. Maxwell slightly takes this situation to be a good chance for him to get sympathy black votes. This reveals that there was racism still during these days. Then Maxwell one night accidentally kills Hillary Carson who he had suspected, as the person that his wife cheats him with. The events after are centered on the investigation of Carson’s murder.
The movie ends with Boyeur winning the election. The huge cheer he receives as compared to Fleury being shut down through the use of calypso music definitely reveals him to be the winner. Then Fleury tries to cut a deal with the police to reduce his sentence. Euan and Jocelyn board a flight to England and they are later joined by Margot Seaton and Denis Archer on the same plane; to build a new life in England. The interracial relationship between Boyeur and Mavis fails since Boyeur sees it as an obstacle to his leadership role entrusted on him by the people.
The movie depicts the Caribbean island as a likely paradise faced with racial strains, however, never reveals factual violence or hatred. From the various parties held and scenes in the streets, it is seen that blacks and whites intermingle freely. Also, blacks seem to be accepted to vie for political seats, although the movie doesn’t show Boyeur’s victory. There is a social class of the rich and poor. The whites own major plantations in the island and are rich, while the blacks are laborers in the plantations and some as fishermen. The tension between blacks and whites is due to the long history of blacks being slaves on plantations owned by whites. This history was also a key issue for the relationship between Boyeur and Mavis to fail. Although there is no direct hatred portrayed in the film, a mild conflict and minor racism are revealed through Maxwell’s reaction to the news of having black blood.
In general, this movie show themes of racial harmony, interracial romances, equality and conducive environment for blacks in the running for political offices, which depicts a possible but naïve hope regarding the racial relations in future in the Caribbean. However, the fear of realizing this hope is through the manner which the black protagonists dress and present their speeches. As seen, Margot Seaton and Boyeur are not like the common blacks on the island.