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The rare pairing of James Stewart and Spencer Tracy sparks this tale of an intrigue-filled, true-life wartime operation. Tracy portrays tough, edgy Carnahan. Stewart is sly foreign correspondent and Far East expert John Royer, a man with a plan who tells U.S. officials: "With the right kind of money and the wrong kind of man, I can get that rubber out for you." And with its right kind of stars, this brawny classic gets maximum heroics every moment. Adventure and starpower - Sydney Greenstreet in his final film, Lionel Barrymore and Gilbert Roland - are on the map in Malaya.
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Top Customer Reviews
The objection I had with "Malaya" was the cosy relationship that existed in the Malayan setting between the Japanese, the Dutchman, and the Americans. In case you missed any other clues that the US was already at war with Japan, Stewart's remark about his brother dying at Wake Island ought to have let you know that war was already underway. The Dutchman, played with his usual excellence by Sidney Greenstreet, was just as much a target of the Japanese as the Americans. The quick demise of The Netherlands in the initial days in Europe often obscures the role the Dutch soldiers played in the Pacific Theater of War. So what? Well, I had the feeling that "Malaya" was meant to be a cross between "Casablanca" and "Across the Pacific" with Sidney Greenstreet, rather than Humphrey Bogart, being the connection between the three movies. However, this was not a neutral site to those involved and that kept me distracted throughout the bulk of the movie.
Other than the probably overstated objection, the movie moves along well.Read more ›
...What can I say. This is essentially a two star film that gets four. It is the kind of film that would have been boffo during WW2, but by 1949 its plot line is a bit... well... dated.
...The film had a director known for printing every first take that he could... and always being under budget. Hardly John Ford.
...But when you pack Spencer Tracy into a film with Jimmy Stewart (who took the part to be in film with Tracy) Gilbert Roland, John Hodiak (and even) DeForest Kelly... to say nothing of Sidney Greenstreet... the result is definitely worth a look. While Greenstreet is very good in the film... he and every film aficionado out there knew that his role really written for Humphrey Bogart.
...The plot depends upon the Japanese being a tad lax with "neutrals..." (Irish Republic, Latinos, etc) In fact the Japanese often just swept up neutrals along with everybody else. Spain raised hell about Japanese treatment of its nationals in the Philippines... even though Spain was not only "neutral" but pro German to the point that they had a division fighting in Russia as part of the German Army. Such a thin premise might have floated in WW2 when the audiences did not know better.
...But the film made money not because of the plot or the director... but because of the wonderful chemistry of the actors. You might shake your head from time to time... but you should like it.
But this time, and I love this part, Jimmy plays a less-than-reputable character by the name of John Royer. Officially a newspaperman, unofficially an opportunist willing to do whatever it takes to make a buck. Quite a different dynamic than when he played good egg George Bailey - and I absolutely loved it. Even though he's in a supporting role in this film, this scene alone made it worth the purchase.
It's January 1942, a month after Pearl Harbor, and the war effort is just gearing up.
Interestingly, this is the first time I've screened a film which features the drive to obtain rubber during the war.
All wartime critical materials were given up for our troops and several films discuss/mention sacrifices like metal, medicines, food, gas; families being given weekly ration scripts to survive on the barest necessities. But rubber - that's one that is rarely mentioned, even though it played a huge part of the homefront war effort. Before the advent of mass producible synthetic rubber, the only way to obtain the extremely critical compound was via the rubber tree. And those trees don't grow in North America. In fact, almost the entire industry during the early part of the 20th century was found on the Malaya Peninsula, what we know as Malaysia today. And in 1942, was completely overrun by invading Imperial Japanese forces.
Spencer Tracy applies his usual fireplug energy as Carnahan, a smuggler and former friend to Royer.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Loved it. Stewart, Tracy and Greenstreet work really well together.Published 3 days ago by tom martin
I love this film. It is a powerful story and I am very happy with the supplier.Published 10 months ago by Signe Jacobsen
Very good war time movie starring Spencer Tracy and James Stewart. First seen on TMC and had to buy a DVD copy.Published 14 months ago by arkycatfish
I am biased as Jimmy Stewart is one of my two favorite actors. This is a movie based on real events. If you like intrigue and movies set in WWII, this is a good choice for you.Published 14 months ago by Page Turner, III
The story line was a stretch but seeing two giants ,Spencer Tracy and Jimmy Stewart , makes it worth warching.Published 15 months ago by curmudgeon
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