The skeptic hero of Joseph Conrad’s Victory is embodied in John Cromwell’s fascinating 1940 screen adaptation by a typically distinguished yet unusually mustached Fredric March (though he appears clean-shaven in the film’s promotional materials). Forever spewing biting quips about the sorry state of humanity, he finds happiness in seclusion and lives on a Dutch East Indies island with only his Chinese servant. But after a brief departure, he returns with a young woman he rescues from ill treatment (Betty Field, in a role turned down by Ingrid Bergman), which leads to a sweet if age-inappropriate romance. And soon the peace is disrupted even further with the arrival of three scoundrels in search of hidden cash. Conrad’s 1915 novel has been brought to vivid life multiple times since Maurice Tourneur’s 1919 silent film, yet only the most recent, 1996 version, with Willem Dafoe in the lead, is available for public consumption. Apparently Cromwell’s rendition, widely considered the best one, has been abandoned by Paramount due to undisclosed legal issues—or perhaps they’ve come to regret the tacked-on happy ending.