Down Among the Sheltering Palms (film)

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Down Among the Sheltering Palms
Directed by Edmund Goulding
Produced by Fred Kohlmar
Written by Claude Binyon
Albert E. Lewin
Burt Styler
Starring Mitzi Gaynor
William Lundigan
Jane Greer
Gloria DeHaven
Music by Leigh Harline, Harold Arlen
Cinematography Leon Shamroy
Edited by Louis R. Loeffler
20th Century Fox
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • March 1, 1953 (1953-03-01)(United States)
  • March 27, 1953 (1953-03-27)(Los Angeles)
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$1.4 million [1]
Box office$1 million (US rentals) [2]

Down Among the Sheltering Palms is a 1953 musical comedy starring Mitzi Gaynor, William Lundigan, Gloria DeHaven, David Wayne and Jane Greer. [3] The popular song of the same name, which dates to 1914, is one of those performed in the film.



World War II is coming to an end, but rather than being sent home, Capt. Bill Willoby and Lt. Frank Schmidt, along with their unit, are assigned to Midi Island, formerly held by the Japanese. They receive a friendly welcome there from King Jilouili and many native girls.

Willoby declares fraternization with the natives off-limits, which becomes awkward when the King presents him with beautiful Rozouila as a token of his appreciation. Rozouila is to be the captain's wife.

Rev. and Mrs. Edgett have arrived with niece Diana Forrester, who is hired by Schmidt to be his secretary. Willoby goes to the reverend for advice and is told to keep Rozouila in a separate quarters at all time.

Major Curwin visits the isle next, accompanied by Angela Toland, an attractive correspondent. Angela immediately makes a play for Willoby, observed by two jealous women, Rozouila and Diana, who are both relieved when Willoby rejects her advances. An angry Angela writes a false story claiming the captain is romantically involved with a native girl, which causes Willoby's men to turn against him.

A colonel investigates the news story and Willoby could face a court-martial. But a way is figured out for the captain to give Rozouila back to her island boyfriend with no loss of honor. Angela's story is revealed to be a lie. Midi is reclassified as a "friendly island" by the military, permitting fraternization by the soldiers. Willoby now loves Diana, though, while a chastised Angela has her eye on Lt. Schmidt.



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  1. Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN   978-0-8108-4244-1. p248
  2. 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1953', Variety, January 13, 1954
  3. Down Among the Sheltering Palms at TCMDB