The Secret of Seagull Island

The Secret of Seagull Island

 "Unfortunately, modern technology doesn't work very well in these parts.
It's the price you pay for solitude."

Barbara Carey (Prunella Ransome) arrives in Rome to visit her sister, blind pianist Marianne Saunders (Sherry Buchanan) only to discover that she has mysteriously vanished. To make matters worse, this is the third instance in recent months of a blind girl's abduction. With the help of British Consulate Martin Foster (Nicky Henson), Barbara searches for her sister – a search that leads her to the private island of millionaire David Malcom (Jeremy Brett). Is Marianne still alive? Why are blind women being targeted? And what terrible secrets does David keep on his remote island?

The Secret of Seagull Island originally aired on TV as a five-part mini-series and was later edited down to feature length for a video release. It has pretty much the exact same plot as the 1971 movie Amuck! (starring Farley Granger and Barbara Bouchet) but with a lot more panache and more melodramatic twists and turns, as was required by the cliffhanger format of a serialized drama. There's a good mystery here, but the resolution is eye rolling-ly, facepalming-ly awful. How did he...? And shouldn't they have...? And what's with the...? It's best not to give it too much thought.
  • The movie might be disappointing, but there's some serious talent at work. For example, composer Tony Hatch's melodic score is very nice and it's not surprising to learn that he is an accomplished songwriter, having penned hits for Petula Clark and Dionne Warwick.
  • Jeremy Brett would most famously go on to play Sherlock Holmes in the 1980's.
  • Nicky Henson has made a career on Brittish TV. You may remember him in the role of Charles Grigg, the vaudevillian who tried to blackmail Mr. Carson in Season 1 of Downton Abbey.
  • Another thing this movie has going for it is some excellent underwater photography. 
  • Two of the deaths listed above occur off-screen. One before the movie starts and one between the prologue and the main action of the movie.
 What the Hell Am I Watching?

The police are absolutely no help in Barbara's investigation. All the Inspector (Fabrizio Jovine) does, in fact is order someone to bring him a file and then eat a late-night soft-boiled egg. Because this particular police precinct has table service. Attended by white-aproned waiters.

Later on, Barbara is attacked by seagulls because... well, why not? The place is called "Seagull Island," after all, so you can't have her not get attacked by seagulls.

Fashion Moment

We're talking TV movie budgets here, so fabulous costumes weren't a high priority. But at least the costumer knew that blonde-haired Prunella Ransome looks fantastic in bright blues and it sort of becomes her signature color.

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