Special Effects by
Ray Kellogg .... special effects
Angela Allen .... continuity
Arthur Ibbetson .... camera operator
Laura Nightingale .... wardrobe
Lambert Williamson .... conductor
Awards for Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)
Academy Awards, USA
1958 Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role
1958 Nominated Oscar Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium
John Lee Mahin and John Huston
1958 Nominated BAFTA Film Award Best Film from any Source
1958 Nominated BAFTA Film Award Best Foreign Actor
Directors Guild of America, USA
1958 Nominated DGA Award Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures
Golden Globes, USA
1958 Nominated Golden Globe Best Motion Picture Actress - Drama
New York Film Critics Circle Awards
1957 Won NYFCC Award Best Actress
Writers Guild of America, USA
1957 Nominated WGA Award (Screen) Best Written American Drama
John Lee Mahin and John Huston
AMG Info for Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)
USA(1957)- 107 min. - Feature, Color
A two-person character study directed by John Huston, Heaven Knows Mr. Allison stars Robert Mitchum as a World War II Marine sergeant and Deborah Kerr as a Roman Catholic nun. Both nun and sergeant are marooned on a South Pacific island, hemmed in by surrounding Japanese troops. Mitchum does his best to make the nun's ordeal less painful, but is torn by his growing love for her. Kerr is equally fond of Mitchum, but refuses to renounce her vows. Their unrealized ardor mellows into mutual respect as they struggle to survive before help arrives. Based on a novel by Charles K. Shaw, Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison was coproduced by Eugene Frenke, who later filmed a low-budget variation on the story, The Nun and the Sergeant (62), which starred Frenke's wife Anna Sten.
The mismatched relationship is a standard Hollywood contrivance, and it's used to good effect in John Huston's Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison. In this particular pairing, the steely hero is a marine (Robert Mitchum) and the obstinate woman is a nun (Deborah Kerr). In a situation reminiscent of Huston's The African Queen, Mitchum and Kerr are stuck together on an island in the South Pacific during World War II, trying to survive and do their part against the enemy. With their mature performances, Kerr and Mitchum dignify what could have been a manufactured romantic adventure. Kerr was nominated for her fourth Academy Award for her portrayal of the woman divided between her love for God and her attraction for the marine. She and Mitchum would appear together in three other movies: The Sundowners, The Grass Is Greener, and the made-for-cable Reunion at Fairborough.
Amazon.com Review for Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)
If a war movie can be lovely, this is it. John Huston directed this touching World War II story about a Marine (Robert Mitchum) stranded with a nun (Deborah Kerr) on a Pacific island overrun by Japanese. After initial antagonism, the resulting kinship between the two characters is human and civil, even after Mitchum's grunt understandably falls in love with his unlikely companion. The action scenes, in which the pair works together to stay ahead of the enemy, are first-rate. The actors have never been better, and Huston's perennial theme about destiny's denial of our dreams is achingly clear in this essentially two-person drama.
Leonard Maltin Review for Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)
US (1957): Drama/War
107 min, No rating, Color
Leonard Maltin Review: 3.0 stars out of 4
Marvelous, touching tale of nun Kerr and Marine Mitchum stranded together on a Japanese-infested Pacific island during WWII. Solid performances by the stars. CinemaScope.
Memorable Quotes from Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)
Cpl. Allison, USMC: You don't have to be afraid of me, ma'am. That was just drunk talk. I'd never hurt you! I'd rather *die* first!
Sister Angela: Only God knows what'll happen to us.
Cpl. Allison, USMC: And He won't tell, huh, ma'am?
Sister Angela: He might.
Cpl. Allison, USMC: [Sister Angela walks up next to Allison as he stares at the waves on the shoreline; beat] Hello, Ma'am.
Sister Angela: Good morning, Mr. Allison.
Cpl. Allison, USMC: I must've been off my rocker last night. A marine oughtn't to get married. His duties are with the family or the corps. One of 'em's gotta get the short end. In the service, they'd ask us, 'what's better? A bad husband, or a bad marine. Well, he ends up *both*. Do me a favor, huh, ma'am? Just... just forget I opened my big mouth.
Sister Angela: [walking away] ... certainly, Mr. Allison.
[He continues to stare out at the waves]
Cpl. Allison, USMC: I, uh... I've never loved anyone or anybody before... I've never even *lived* before. Never really... lived... inside. That's why I want to ask you to marry me. I want to look after you... not only while we're here but for the rest of our lives. So, tell me, ma'am, if there's a chance.
Cpl. Allison, USMC: I don't mean to give offense. ma'am, but... is there?
Sister Angela: No, Mr. Allison. You see, I've already given my heart... to Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Cpl. Allison, USMC: Like you was engaged or somethin'?
Sister Angela: Yes.
[shows him her left hand]
Sister Angela: This is the ring, and when I take my final vows, I'll wear a gold one: a marriage ring.
Cpl. Allison, USMC: Oh, I didn't know it was set up like that. I guess I didn't have no right to speak.
[slaps the box beside him, stands up]
Cpl. Allison, USMC: Well, I guess I'll go fix that lean-to for ya!
Cpl. Allison, USMC: Shh! Of course I am, ma'am alive and kickin'. Now, didn't I tell you never to leave this cave?
[wagging his finger at her]
Cpl. Allison, USMC: I am very put out with you...
[she starts to argue]
Cpl. Allison, USMC: yes, I am! *Put out!*
Cpl. Allison, USMC: Let's just keep it quiet, ma'am. You speak English?
Sister Angela: Yes.
Cpl. Allison, USMC: Are there any Japs around?
Sister Angela: You're... You're an American.
Marine: I don't get it, Cap'n. Four howitzers, plenty of ammo, no breechblocks. They haven't fired a round.
Marine Captain: Beats me.
Trivia for Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)
The director and the explosives expert were reportedly left hanging onto an elevated platform on location--uninjured--after a short-circuit in explosives-effect wiring unexpectedly set off all of some 30 planted detonation devices at one time.
The script called for several Japanese-speaking officers and a company of Japanese troops to be on the island. There were no Japanese men on the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, where the film was shot. A half-dozen who spoke the language were finally found in a Japanese emigrant community in Brazil and flown to the location to play the officers. For the non-speaking roles of Japanese troops, the company hired 50 Chinese who worked in the island's restaurants and laundries. This caused friction with the local islanders, who found it difficult if not impossible to get their clothes cleaned or to get a meal in a restaurant because most of the employees were working on the film.
Robert Mitchum had just returned from spending four months in Tobago filming Fire Down Below (1957) with Jack Lemmon and Rita Hayworth when he learned that his agent had committed him to this movie, filming in Tobago.
Mitchum was very enthusiastic about playing the role of the marooned corporal until he learned that director John Huston had first tried to interest Marlon Brando in the role.
Supposedly Robert Mitchum's favorite film role he played.
The knife used by Cpl. Allison is a Ka-Bar. It is standard issue for the US Marines since 1942.
Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison
Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
Region: Region 1
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Studio: Fox Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: May 20, 2003
Run Time: 106 minutes
Available Subtitles: English, Spanish
Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 1.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0), French (Dolby Digital 1.0)