Sir Philip Ashlow (Granger), his neglected wife, Lady Susan Ashlow (Gardner) and his best friend Henry Brittingham-Brett (Niven) are shipwrecked on a desert island.
Susan feels neglected and has been trying to make Philip jealous by demonstrating a romantic interest in Henry, who begins taking her seriously. Now that they are alone on the island, Philip constructs a large hut for his wife and himself and a little hut for Henry, but before long Henry is suggesting they share not only food and water but Susan as well.
Opposed to this, Susan nevertheless is offended by Philip's indifferent reaction to Henry's indecent proposal. The quarrel escalates until Philip declares that, as captain of their ship, he feels entitled not only to perform marriages but to grant divorces. He awaits Susan's decision on whether the men should change huts or share and share alike.
This potential ménage à trois where the two men are competing for the lady's attention is interrupted by a fourth visitor. The stranger is dressed in native garb and takes Susan captive, but is soon revealed to be Mario, the chef from their yacht, indulging a whim. The laughter from inside the hut between Susan and Mario is misinterpreted by Henry and her husband as being romantic in nature, arousing jealousy from both men.
After their rescue and return to society, Henry comes to visit Susan to propose they be together. But when he finds her and Philip in domestic repose, and Susan knitting baby booties, he knows the battle for her love is lost.Ava Gardner as Lady Susan Ashlow
Stewart Granger as Sir Philip Ashlow
David Niven as Henry Brittingham-Brett
Walter Chiari as Mario
Finlay Currie as The Reverend Bertram Brittingham-Brett
Jean Cadell as Mrs. Hermione Brittingham-Brett
Jack Lambert as Captain MacWalt
Henry Oscar as Mr. Trollope
Viola Lyel as Miss Edwards
Jaron Yaltan as Indian Gentleman
Richard Wattis as Official
The script of The Little Hut was written by the French writer André Roussin, based on his own play La petite hutte (1947). Both play and script are based on another play in Catalan, written by the novelist and playwright Carles Soldevila (1892–1967): Civilitzats tanmateix (Nevertheless civilized) (1921). This play was known in France through a translation by Adolphe de Faigairolle and Francesc Presas, published in 1927 in the magazine Candide.
The play ran for over 1500 performances in Paris, was translated into English by Nancy Mitford and ran for three years in the West End, starting in 1950 with Robert Morley and David Tomlinson (with Roger Moore as their understudy) at the Lyric Theatre before being made into the film.
The play flopped on Broadway in 1953.
In 1955 F Hugh Herbert and Mark Robson announced they had formed a company to purchase the film rights to the play and make a movie from it. The film was shot at the Cinecittà Studios in Rome.
In 2010 the play was revived starring Aden Gillett and Janie Dee.
According to MGM records the film earned $2,085,000 in North America and $1,515,000 elsewhere, making a profit of $340,000.
It did not perform well at the French box office with admissions of only 591,767.