On the Big Board
||Fans of this genre will probably accept the movie, but I found the history/medical story of more interest than the angsty love story.
Kitty is a poorly educated woman who cares only about the most superficial matters in life. Though she agrees to marry her father’s research assistant, the fervent and cerebral Dr. Walter Fane, she soon becomes lonely as he ignores her to do medical research. Because he has taken her to Hong Kong with him, she feels literally alone in a world with which she has little familiarity.
To ease her feelings of isolation, Kitty has an affair with Charles Townsend, the assistant colonial secretary of Hong Kong and a lifelong politician. When Walter learns that he is being cuckolded, he becomes embittered and forces Kitty to accompany him to a cholera-infested region of mainland China. Somehow, she finds some measure of happiness as she works at a convent frequented by small children. That slight contentment is shattered when Walter dies and Kitty is forced to leave China and return to England.
Back in her homeland, Kitty is back to feeling solitary and abandoned. She desperately clings to any affection from her father, her only living relative, though she had essentially chosen to ignore the man in the past. She is forced to face her own selfish, egotistical ways in order to find personal growth and achieve her innermost goals.
This W. Somerset Maugham novel was first published in 1925, and was subsequently made into a 1934 movie starring the reclusive Greta Garbo. Now that novel will once again be adapted for the big screen; this time it will feature Edward Norton and Naomi Watts. Warner Independent Pictures will handle distribution. (Kim Hollis/BOP)