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Film / The Little Hut

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The Little Hut is a 1957 British romantic comedy film directed by Mark Robson, adapted by Nancy Mitford from the French play La petite hutte by André Roussin.

Lady Susan Ashlow (Ava Gardner) is being neglected by her super-rich businessman husband Sir Philip Ashlow (Stewart Granger). Susan has been left to spend most of her time with her old boyfriend, Henry Brittingham-Brett (David Niven), who seems to be hoping that Susan and Philip get divorced. Susan deliberately tries to make Philip jealous by showing home movies of her and Henry having what look like pretty romantic getaways.

Filthy rich Philip takes his wife, Henry, and a bunch of other people out on a cruise on his yacht. Naturally, the yacht sinks. Our three stars wind up in a lifeboat, which they row to a deserted island. The industrious Philip crafts a very Gilligan's Island-style little place for the three of them, with a larger hut for himself and Susan and a "little hut" for Henry. However, Henry's love for Susan is combined with increasing horniness as they're stuck on the island for weeks while Susan walks around in slips, teddies, and grass bikini tops. Finally he suggests to Philip the only logical thing, namely that they share Susan.


  • Beach Kiss: The home movie that Susan plays for her guests shows her tackling Henry on the beach and kissing him in a very From Here to Eternity way. It's eventually revealed that a neglected Susan is doing stuff like that deliberately in the hopes of making her husband jealous.
  • Blowing Smoke Rings: Philip sits in the camp and blows smoke rings after his "divorce" from Susan, indicating that he knows he's really got the upper hand.
  • Deserted Island: Susan, Philip, and Henry get stuck on one.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Henry is obviously hanging around Susan, despite the fact that she's been married for six years to another man, because he's still besotted with her.
  • Door-Closes Ending: An annoyed Henry leaves Philip's house muttering to himself, shutting the door behind him.
  • Footsie Under the Table: Henry catches Susan and Philip doing this after their "divorce".
  • Hollywood Natives: Subverted. Originally it seems like a super-racist 1950s-style caricature, what with the native on the island who wears a silly feathered headdress, shoots arrows at the protagonist, and yells "Boola boola!" (Did he go to Yale?) But it turns out to be the chef from the yacht, in a disguise.
  • Jump Cut: An obvious jump cut from the stuntman that falls out of the tree to David Niven getting up.
  • Knitting Pregnancy Announcement: Henry realizes that he has lost Susan for sure when not only does he find Susan and Philip still cohabitating, he sees that she is knitting a baby's sweater.
  • Lighter and Softer: In the French play that this film was adapted from, the wife really is having an affair with the other man, and she really does have sex with both of them on the island. Hollywood censorship changed the story so that there was no affair and Henry and Susan never have sex on the island.
  • Love Triangle: A married couple, the other man who's desperately in love with the wife, and the wife who sort of toys with the other man in the hopes of making her husband jealous.
  • Lying Finger Cross: Henry does this when insisting to Philip that yes, he and Susan were having an affair.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Susan in tight dresses. Susan in a slip. Susan in the black teddy that she somehow managed to take off a sinking ship onto a lifeboat. Susan in the grass-skirt-and-bra ensemble that Philip weaved together.
  • No Endor Holocaust: As they bob about on the waves Philip says that he saw all the other lifeboats get away too.
  • Plot Hole: Philip lives in England! Just how far did he take his friends on that yacht of his, to arrive on an island with coconut trees?
  • Polyamory: Discussed Trope as Henry specifically asks to share Susan. Eventually averted, as Susan isn't really interested, and Philip's dog keeps guarding his master's wife.
  • Rube Goldberg Device: Philip builds a very complicated device with ropes, pulleys, and coconut weights, all so one can play Susan's record player on the other side of the clearing.
    Henry: Wouldn't it be simpler to just get up and turn it on?
  • Sexless Marriage: Philip has been neglecting his insanely sexy wife, as shown in the early scene where she puts on a yellow nightie and tries to seduce him, and fails utterly.
  • Sleeping Single: Philip and Susan are shown in separate beds, which is 1950s censorship, but also kind of fits this movie as Philip is shown to be interested only in his work and barely notices his hot wife.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: After Henry falls out of a coconut tree, and is whining in pain.
    Philip: Don't make such a fuss. Stiff upper lip!
    Henry: I didn't fall on my upper lip!
  • Tempting Fate: Philip reassures his guests about the rough waves and storm, saying "There's no cause for alarm." The boat is thrown up into the air by a wave, and then sinks, right after.
  • Tin-Can Telephone: Philip rigs up conch shells on string so that the two huts can call each other.
  • Title Drop: There's the big hut that Philip and Susan live in, and the little hut for Henry.