A smuggler (Fred MacMurray) returns to Singapore after WWII to retrieve the valuable pearls he hid before the Japanese invasion. Upon his return, he's astonished to find that the fiancee (Ava Gardner) that he thought killed during the Japanese attack on Singapore is not only alive but married to a plantation owner (Roland Culver). This tale of romance and intrigue is too close to CASABLANCA for comfort with the MacMurray/Gardner/Culver triangle mirroring the Bogart/Bergman/Henreid trio. It's modestly entertaining but even at a brief 79 minute running time, it's in danger of wearing out its welcome. The film's narrative is too familiar to offer any surprises and perhaps more importantly, there's no heat between MacMurray and Gardner. Gardner is breathtakingly lovely but in addition to being miscast, she hadn't quite found her acting legs yet and even such an inconsequential roles as this seems to tax her. Still, the Universal back lot does a wonderful job of standing in for Singapore and there's a colorful Daniele Amfitheatrof underscore. Directed by John Brahm (HANGOVER SQUARE). With Richard Haydn (THE SOUND OF MUSIC) in a nice change of pace from his fuss budget roles as a suspicious police commissioner, Spring Byington, Thomas Gomez, Philip Ahn, Edith Evanson and George Lloyd in a nice turn as a prissy villain.
The Universal DVD via France is a nice looking B&W transfer with both English and French soundtracks and optional French subtitles.
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