Search This Blog

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Lady Of The Tropics (1939)

A penniless American playboy (Robert Taylor) living off the kindness of his wealthy friends is vacationing in French Indochina on their yacht where he falls in love with Eurasian beauty (Hedy Lamarr). Directed by Jack Conway via a script by Ben Hecht (NOTORIOUS) which is very loosely based on the Puccini opera MANON LESCAUT. This romantic melodrama seems schizophrenic in its attitude toward its bi-racial characters. On one hand, the film acknowledges the unfair treatment and racist attitudes toward those of mixed race. Yet the trailer screams, "The half caste who plotted for her!" and the screenplay portrays its bi-racial characters as having a moral laxity both sexually and ethically. Lamarr's half French, half Asian beauty longs of going to Paris where she can be "white" but the film allows Taylor's hero, when the chips are down, to be as racist toward his wife as anyone else. The MGM art department does an admirable job of recreating 1930s Indochina on a sound stage and Franz Waxman provides a suitable score. With Joseph Schildkraut as the Eurasian villain (and giving the best performance in the film) who provides more genuine emotion than either Taylor or Lamarr. With Gloria Franklin, Ernest Cossart and Cecil Cunningham.   

No comments:

Post a Comment