Moonfleet (1955) - Rotten Tomatoes

Moonfleet (1955)

Moonfleet (1955)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Moonfleet Photos

Movie Info

In the 1750s, young orphan John Mohune (Jon Whiteley) arrives at the seaside Dorset village of Moonfleet seeking Jeremy Fox (Stewart Granger), a one-time "friend" of his late mother, to whom she has turned over care of the boy. Fox exudes an aura of class and bravado, along with an obvious love of life and the finer things it can offer, all of which combine to make him a beguiling presence to one and all, including the larcenous, decadent local nobility (George Sanders) and a band of cut-throats led by Elzevir Block (Sean McClory), to whom he has more than a passing acquaintance. In his innocence, John -- oblivious to the fact that Jeremy runs a murderous smuggling ring -- instantly accepts this man as a loyal friend (and, indeed, a man to be loved and trusted like a parent, precisely because his mother has consigned him to his care). And Jeremy, initially disdainful of the boy, finds himself moved by the latter's willingness to love him and see his better nature, which does come out (with some resistance) under his coaxing, and reluctantly becomes his guardian. But there are too many nefarious goings on in and around Moonfleet, between smugglers and the authorities pursuing them, and the Mohune family's dark history, to keep John safe from danger. His life is placed at risk when he stumbles on the secret of old "Redbeard," the Mohune patriarch who betrayed law and morality, selling his soul for a priceless diamond, which has long been believed lost. Before long, young John knows too much about the smugglers for their comfort, despite Jeremy's protection -- and when he accidentally discovers a clue to the location of Redbeard's diamond, even Jeremy can't resist the chance for that prize, even if he has to cheat the boy out of his birthright.
Action & Adventure , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Warner Bros. Classics


Jon Whiteley
as John Mohune
Stewart Granger
as Jeremy Fox
George Sanders
as Lord James Ashwood
Joan Greenwood
as Lady Clarista Ashwood
Viveca Lindfors
as Mrs. Anna Minton
Liliane Montevecchi
as Gypsy Dancer
Melville Cooper
as Felix Ratsey
Sean McClory
as Elzevir Block
Alan Napier
as Parson Glennie
John Hoyt
as Magistrate Maskew
Jack Elam
as Damen
Ian Wolfe
as Tewkesbury
Lester Matthews
as Major Hennishaw
Richard Hale
as Starkill
John Alderson
as Greening
Ashley Cowan
as Tomson
Booth Colman
as Capt. Stanhope
Frank Ferguson
as Coachman
Guy Kingsford
as Capt. Hawkins
Ben Wright
as Officer
Wilson Wood
as Soldier
John O'Malley
as Lt. Upjohn
Peggy Maley
as Tenant
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Moonfleet

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (5)

The plot turns upon a lost diamond of great price, but mostly the film is a string of lively, unrelated escapades.

Full Review… | October 15, 2014
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

With mood and action the keynote of the John Houseman production, the direction by Fritz Lang plays both hard, developing considerable movement in several rugged action sequences without neglecting suspense.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

A boy and a rakish smuggler search for a legendary lost diamond in a wonderfully stylised version of 19th century Cornwall.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

But, golly, that screen play by Jan Lustig and Margaret Fitts is a thoroughly boneless thing -- a hodgepodge of odd and sprawling incidents without dramatic continuity or sense!

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

A suggestive, subjective account of an orphan boy's apprenticeship to a dashing smuggler.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

This is a solid piece of good old-fashioned escapism.

Full Review… | October 15, 2014
Radio Times

Audience Reviews for Moonfleet


much better than i was led to believe, certainly superior to hitchcock's 'jamaica inn' which i've never managed to finish

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

A decent adventure tale, dragged down by the lack of a compelling central character. Jon Whiteley as the Dickensian child is pretty much empty as a character, and Stewart Granger just doesn't have seem to have any leading man chops. I wish there'd been more of George Sanders, who's always a delight. The color widescreen photography provides a few striking moments, but more often it's awash in dreary shades of brown. I also found the movie slightly confusing at times, as the relationships between some of the main characters were murky. Overall, it's passable as "brain off" entertainment, but not much more than that. Another disappointment from Lang's later career.

Martin Teller
Martin Teller

It's very telling that the reviews of this film are in French. Moonfleet has a great reputation abroad for its expressionistic visuals and doubled narrative structure -- simultaneously capturing the child's and the adult's points of view. The film struck me as sort of slow and foolish the first time I saw it, but I've come around. It's gorgeous, deceptively complex and very memorable. Like a Stevenson novel, it smuggles depths in under the guise of swashbuckling fun. Atypically hopeful and charming for Lang. See it a couple times.

Will Miller
Will Miller

Moonfleet Quotes

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