The Captain's Paradise Reviews
Even though it is more windup than payoff, "The Captain's Paradise" is still a witty and breezy farce that is ahead of its time in exploring gender relations. Here, the joke is on Henry as he underestimates not one but two women which while certainly no record is still very impressive.(Relax, I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying that since we do know he will end up in front of a firing squad but how he gets there might surprise you.) Henry might think of his life as perfect, containing the best of all worlds, including male camaraderie, and, admittedly, it is a rather clever idea. But if he were as smart as he thought he was, then he would have found a cure for cancer.
Sir Alec Guinness plays Captain Henry St. James, a man with what he thinks is a brilliant idea. He decides that he needs two wives. One will be a housewife, mother of his children, the staid Englishwoman his upbringing has trained him to desire. The other will be a party girl, a wild and carefree, even tempestuous, creature who will go drinking and dancing with him until all hours. This will work, because they're at different ports, and he will sail between them, and everything will be fine!
Of course, it isn't. Even if it weren't totally obvious from that plot summary, we do see him in front of a firing squad at the end of the film. We are told his story by his former second-in-command, who is relating it to his uncle. Besides, it [i]is[/i] totally obvious that something will go hideously awry, probably in a wacky sort of way.
Hilarity totally ensues--well, it's a Sir Alec Guinness comedy. Meaning that it's also peculiarly British hilarity. Staid hilarity, if that makes any sense. Mostly, we see Sir Alec twitch a lot whenever something happens to bring his ideal life into danger.
Interestingly, what makes it fall apart in the long run is that he doesn't actually bother getting to know either woman. He decides who they are and proceeds accordingly. He actively works to suppress any personality traits that he doesn't want them to show. Leaving aside the whole bigamy thing, that is [i]not[/i] something on which to base a positive relationship.