As a young cadet in the colonial services Arthur Grimble (Denholm Elliott) is nervous but enthusiastic when he arrives on a Pacific island with his wife Olivia (Susan Stephen). Trouble is that the current commissioner on the island (Michael Hordern) expected someone older and more experienced to be sent to him. Despite the obvious disappointment the old commissioner shows towards him Arthur throws himself in to learning the ways of life on the island and soon starts to win people over.
For those who are not up on their history of the colonies there really was an Arthur Grimble, in fact make that Sir Arthur Grimble, and he became the resident commissioner of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands in 1926 then going on to serve as Governor of the Seychelles and then the Windward Islands. It was Grimble's memoir "A Pattern of Islands" which provides the basis of "Pacific Destiny" and basically is all about the life of this inexperienced cadet on the island as he wins people over with his honesty.
What does that really mean when it comes to "Pacific Destiny"; well we get some drama as he tries to make a life for himself and his wife on the island and we have some comedy as his inexperience means he makes mistakes. What you also have to remember back in 1956 when "Pacific Destiny" was released people didn't travel the globe like they do now and so what we also get is a glimpse of the beauty and the life of a far off place that some people could only dream about. The thing is that whilst this inoffensive it isn't the most entertaining of movies with it short on drama and kind of meandering along taking in various sights and customs.
What this all boils down to is that "Pacific Destiny" is a pleasant little travelogue movie from the 1950s which along with showing a tropical paradise tosses in a bit of drama and comedy into the mix. But it does feel like it lacks a purpose and so kind of meanders along till it eventually ends.