Jean Renoir's adaptation of the Rumer Godden story is a profound coming-of-age tale of three adolescent age girls (two white, one half-Indian) living near the Bengal River in India. Into the lives of Harriet (Walters), Valerie (Corri), and Melanie (Radha) comes wounded war veteran Captain John (Breen), who has yet to recover from his war experience. How the girls perceive and interact with the handsome but disabled young man in this mystical place juxtaposes the temporal with the eternal. What emerges is both a keenly felt human story and an homage to the raw beauty and spiritual richness of India.
Director Renoir's lyrical, impressionistic ode to India's mystery and wonder belies the spell which the country cast on the director from the moment he touched Indian soil. The first Technicolor film shot there, it is impossibly beautiful visually, and also immensely touching, as the turbulence of growing up is set against the eternal flow of the Bengal River. Like nothing you've seen, and among the director's most impressive works — which is saying a lot!