Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Island of Love


You could see this as The Music Man, Part II. Except that there’s no singing and dancing, the setting is the Greek islands instead of Ioway, there’s no boys’ band, it’s in the late 20th century and not the early part, and … okay, all it has in common with that film is Robert Preston and a big scam. Actually, not so much Preston as Professor Harold Hill. It’s the exact same character, made one year after his triumph. He even wears a lot of the same kind of clothes. It was directed by the same man, Morton DaCosta. Unfortunately, it’s not nearly as good. Preston is a con man, along with a perpetually drunk and frightened Tony Randall, selling the idea of a small Greek island as the “Island of Love” of ancient Greek lore. To do this, they salt the shallows with cheap antiquities they have bought in Athens, in order to re-write history. In the process Preston falls in love, and must find his way out of the fraud dilemma, just as Harold Hill did. It costars Walter Matthau, of whom I once said that he never turned in a bad performance. Sorry, Walter, but this one, as a rather comical mobster with a strange lisp, is pretty bad. Hope you cashed the paycheck promptly and moved on to something better … aha, I just looked, and his next film was the wonderful Charade, where he outshone both Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in an outstanding cast. One of his best performances.