Saturday, June 15, 2002


Clark Gable and Rosalind Russell are both actors who I'm rather picky about. I'll watch almost any Gable film from the early 30's to WWII, but I don't much like him in his post-war movies. I dearly love Russell in AUNTIE MAME, HIS GIRL FRIDAY, and THE WOMEN, but other times, she gets on my nerves. They star together here and I was approaching this with some trepidation. I ended up enjoying it, for the most part, although Maltin and the IMDb reviewers don't care for it. It breaks down quite neatly into thirds. The first part, set in a Bombay hotel, is the best and feels like a cross between TROUBLE IN PARADISE and CASABLANCA. Russell and Gable are jewel thieves, both out to steal a duchess's million dollar necklace. They tangle, then decide it would be best to join forces. Of course, they also fall in love. The middle section takes place as they flee Bombay on a cargo ship bound for Hong Kong. Peter Lorre is the greedy captain who betrays them to the authorities, but they escape and the last part of the film is set in Hong Kong where Gable poses as an army officer to pull a scam (delightfully brought off), but then is mistaken for a real officer and is pressed into duty against the invading Japanese. The code forces a "moral" ending that spoils the frothy atmosphere just a bit, but surprisingly, the censors didn't seem to catch the fact that the two live together for several weeks in a small basement apartment in Hong Kong. Russell and Gable have a nice chemistry, and as usual, Reginald Owen is good in a supporting part, as is Lorre, in full Oriental make-up. Jessie Ralph is fun in her few scenes as the duchess. The Bombay hotel set is quite nice, and the movie would have been better off if Gable and Russell had stayed where they met, in Bombay.

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