These three stories by W. Somerset Maugham were brought to the screen after the success of a previous compilation of four Maugham stories called QUARTET. The first piece here, directed by Annakin, deals with Hayter, who is fired from his post as a church verger when the vicar (Hordern)
learns that Hayter is illiterate. Hayter decides to go into business for himself, and in a few years is running a successful chain of tobacco stores. As he discusses money with a banking official who is amazed at Hayter's success despite his handicap, the now-wealthy tobacconist explains: "If I
could read and write, I'd have been a verger." Annakin's second story, "Mr. Knowall," features Patrick as an obnoxious jeweler taking a holiday aboard a ship. Every passenger tries to avoid the oaf, but eventually, in a roundabout fashion, Patrick is able to prove himself a gentleman. "Sanatorium"
is the final story, and the longest of the three. This one was directed by French and chronicles the crossed lives of some patients at a tuberculosis sanatorium. Simmons and Rennie are two younger people who meet there and end up in love. Though doctors warn them marriage could be fatally taxing
to their health, the lovers believe that a short-lived happiness is better than a longer, lonely existence. Also residing at this North Scotland sanatorium are two gossipy old ladies and a pair of old men (Laurie and Currie) who consistently fight with each other. When one of the old men finally
dies, the survivor realizes he misses his partner, now having no one to bicker with.
Though there is no connecting theme, these varied stories are presented with style and intelligence. The short, humorous pieces are a good counterpoint to the bittersweet feelings of the final story. The casting is uniformly excellent. Hayter is fine as the illiterate, while Patrick has a field
day with his rude, odious characterization. A small and highly enjoyable film. Nominated for a Best Sound Oscar.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: These three stories by W. Somerset Maugham were brought to the screen after the success of a previous compilation of four Maugham stories called QUARTET. The first piece here, directed by Annakin, deals with Hayter, who is fired from his post as a church v… (more)