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Islands in the Stream

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Islands in the Stream (1977)

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Additional Information
How long has it been since you have seen a really good movie?

After a parade of top-heavy blockbusters (Papillon, Nicholas and Alexandra), director Franklin J. Schaffner retreats, like the Hemingway character of the film, to peaceful tropical serenity in Islands in the Stream (based on Ernest Hemingway's posthumously published novel). George C. Scott plays the rich, but world-weary writer Thomas Hudson, living on Bimini in the Bahamas, where he carouses, drinks, and fishes to his heart's content. Invading Hudson's paradise is a parade of the sons of his ex-wives. His oldest son Tom (Hart Bochner) succeeds in getting closer to his father, but the bonding comes to a halt as ripples from the encroaching conflagration of World War II intrude upon Hudson's retreat. Tom leaves the island to fight for the RAF. Then, one day, Hudson receives a visit from his ex-wife Audrey (Claire Bloom), who tells him that Tom has died in the war. Rejecting his insulated existence, Hudson decides to make a stand by agreeing to smuggle a group of Jewish refugees onto the island.

Artist Thomas Hudson is an American who has left the civilized world for a simple life in the Caribbean. Schaffner tells the tale in four parts:
The Island - Introduces Hudson and the people he knows. It is set in The Bahamas, circa 1940. Tom is concerned about his friend Eddy, who loves to drink and brawl with anyone he finds. Later the residents of the island and Tom celebrate the Queen Mother's Anniversary.
The Boys - Weeks after the celebrations for the Queen Mother, Tom is reunited with his three sons. It is a bittersweet reunion, because he left them and his wife Audrey four years before. Later they go on a challenging fishing trek to catch a Marlin. The segment ends as the boys return to the United States, where oldest son Tom joins the Royal Air Force in time for the Battle of Britain. Their father writes and tells them in a monolog how much he misses them.
The Woman - Tom's wife Audrey is introduced. Hoping she can give him companionship and love, Audrey returns to Tom to try to find what feelings may still exist between them. Tom finds he still loves his wife, but her real motive is revealed as the segment ends: she is there to tell him that young Tom is dead. This spoils her attempt at a reconciliation.
The Journey - Tom attempts to help refugees escape the Nazis. He is accompanied by Joseph and Eddy. Leaving the British-owned Bahamas for the waters near neutral Cuba, Tom finds the refugees and tries to conduct them to the port of Havana, and ultimately to the U.S. He worries that he may not be able to trust "rummy" Eddy, that the refugees may not survive the voyage, and this trip may be suicide for all concerned if they face the Cuban Coast Guard. (In the novel's climax, Tom battles a U-boat off the coast of Bimini.)

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