Harriet (Patricia Walters) longs to be "outstandingly beautiful." But, according to her mother (Nora Swinburne), she has "an interesting little face, full of character," which is not what a plain teenage girl wants to hear. Growing up awkward is pretty much the same experience no matter where or when you live, and for Harriet the time and place are Bengal during the British Raj. Her father (Esmond Knight) runs a jute press outside of Calcutta, and as the oldest of five children-with another on the way-Harriet's life is spent writing poetry in her closet, wandering along the banks of the Ganges, and absorbing the rich culture and traditions of the Hindu religion. One day, wounded American officer Captain John (Thomas E. Breen) comes to visit his cousin, who just so happens to be Harriet's amiable next-door neighbor Mr. John (Arthur Shields). Harriet is immediately stricken with a bad case of puppy love, but she's not the only one. Her older friend Valerie (Adrienne Corri), whose father owns the jute press, is after Captain John as well. Even Mr. John's Eurasian daughter Melanie (Radha), who has recently returned from an English boarding school with a chip on her shoulder, is attracted to the tall, restless stranger. Based on Rumer Godden's semi-autobiographical novella, Jean Renoir's first color film, with cinematography by his nephew Claude, was shot entirely on location-the first color film made in India-and it remains a masterwork of Technicolor photography, a spellbinding exploration of cross-cultural contact, and a moving and warm-hearted celebration of a young woman's coming of age. This recent restoration returns this memorable and lovely color film to its original glow. Restored by the Academy Film Archive in association with the British Film Institute and Janus Films. Restoration funded by The Film Foundation and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Jean Renoir (1894-1979), one of the most important filmmakers and son of famed impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, studied philosophy and math at the University of Aix-en-Provence. After World War I, Renoir set up his own production company, and began directing in 1924. The advent of sound boosted his career. His masterwork Rules of the Game (1939) cemented his reputation, despite its initial suppression by Vichy censors. With the outbreak of World War II, Renoir moved to the U.S., where he made films for 20th Century Fox, RKO, and United Artists before returning to France in the 1950's to relaunch his European career with the box-office hit French Cancan (1955). He received an honorary Oscar® for his work in 1975.