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Karim, a collector of jewels, is one of the richest men in Bombay, which belies his humble beginnings and being poor as little as ten years ago. His wealth was derived from a diamond he received from his jewel merchant father, who was killed by marauding bandits because of the jewels in his possession. Twice, ten years ago, Karim was saved from people who would kill, steal or lie to get the diamond. His two saviors were an Indian holy man, and an American tourist. When Karim and American tourist Janice Darsey meet, it is mutual love at first sight. Their interracial romance has many obstacles to happiness, including the disapproval by Janice's aunt, with who she is traveling through India. As Karim and Janice begin a courtship against all odds, two people from Karim's past may ultimately factor into whether it will be happily ever after for Karim and Janice together. Written by
Once you get past the first 15 minutes, it's smooth sailing from there. It starts out rather rocky (you might be be tempted to give up), but hang in there. You will be rewarded with an excellent story of love between the "races" and the often mindless sanctity of honor.
Madge Evans is fine. She's quite believable. In the first 15 minutes, I winced while watching Ramon Navarro in the title roll; however, as the minutes wore on, I grew to like his performance and ultimately thought he was quite good.
For 1931, the camera movement is fairly free. During a shot where the camera is following Evans and Navarro walking down a long hallway in Navarro's palace, a chair can be seen lifted out of the advancing camera's way by a grip. This minor error precedes the "rocking hat" mistake witnessed in "Citizen Kane" by 10 years. People often comment how inventive Welles was (he most definitely was), but they mistakenly cite his habit of moving objects in front of and away from mobile cameras as one of his clever tricks. If it's one of "his" tricks, he learned it from Hollywood.
TCM's print and sound quality were generally excellent.
This film is a fine example of one aspect of pre-Code films that is often overlooked, miscegenation. It's well handled by a major Hollywood studio. The strict enforcement of the Hayes Codes prevented this subject matter just three years later.
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