Rose (Victoria Grayson), a demure and prim governess, arrives in Marrakesh to begin a new job as a paid companion to a wealthy English expatriate, Selena (Catherine Lacey). As she begins to explore the exotic environs of her new home, Rose is seduced by the men, music and mystery of Morocco.
Lovingly and masterfully remastered by Facets Video for DVD distribution, Another Sky
is a nearly perfect low-budget indie film from 1954 shot in black-and-white on location in Morocco over the course of seven weeks. The only film directed by screenwriter (I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone),
novelist (Inside Daisy Clover)
and film critic Gavin Lambert, Another Sky
was inspired by longtime Lambert friend and peer Paul Bowles (The Sheltering Sky).
Beautifully capturing the 1950's atmosphere of North Africa, D.P. Walter Lassally's camera work is nothing short of extraordinary and hypnotic in tone and imagery as Lassally captures both the hedonistic spirit of the time along with the sublimely spiritual nature of the region. Lassally would later win an Oscar for his camera work on Zorba the Greek.
Selena is part of a community of Europeans and Americans living out a bit of a Bohemian existence in Marrakesh, a truth not too far removed from the real life experience of Lambert, an openly gay writer who lived several years in Tangier alongside several other openly gay writers (including Tennessee Williams and Bowles). As Rose becomes more and more integrated into this world, she will first bond with Ahmed (Ahmed Ben Mohammed) and then Tayeb, and her hypnotic seduction will alter the course of her existence in this exotic land.
was made during the years that Lambert served as editor of the British Film Institute's Sight and Sound
magazine and before he would land in Hollywood as partner, both professionally and romantically, to Nicholas Ray (Rebel Without a Cause).
Rather amazingly, Another Sky
was shot silently in Morocco with dialogue added during post-production in London. Vera Campbell's editing, then, is quite remarkable in its seamless consistency.
Grayson has a rather vulnerable nervy quality about her, a unique mix that lends an uneasiness to her portrayal of Rose. While Lacey has often received a bit more recognition for her performance here courtesy of being a slightly more well known actress, she's a solid yet secondary player as there's simply no doubt that Grayson's Rose is the film's central character. The film's male counterparts aren't really called on to be much more than stoic and mysterious, yet both Tayeb and Ahmed Ben Mohammed prove to be solid counterparts for Grayson.
A sadly forgotten film that has been given new life through its restoration by Facets, Another Sky
is a wonderful example of the independent spirit that existed within Hollywood and the film industry even 50+ years ago. Facets, as well, has become increasingly skilled at constructing solid packaging to support its increasingly impressive catalogue of cinematic classics. In virtually every way, Gavin Lambert's Another Sky
is a forgotten gem and a must see for true cineastes.
For more information on ordering Another Sky
on DVD, visit the Facets Video website.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic