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Lady of the Tropics (1939)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 11 August 1939 (USA)
Playboy Bill Carey woos a half-caste beauty in French Indochina, but her second-class legal status makes a formidable barrier.


, (uncredited)


(screen play)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Manon DeVargnes
Pierre Delaroch
Gloria Franklin ...
Father Antoine
Dolly Harrison
Alfred Z. Harrison
Frederick Worlock ...
Colonel Demassey
Marguerita Padula ...
Madame Kya (as Margaret Padula)
Countess Berichi


A party of yachting jet-setters visit French Saigon, where they meet lovely Manon deVargnes, a second-class citizen not allowed to leave the country due to her part-Oriental ancestry. When the others leave, playboy Bill Carey stays behind to woo Manon; but all his efforts to get her out of the country with him run into a brick wall. And Pierre Delaroch, her wealthy former admirer, waits for him to give up... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Hedy Lamarr set the world aflame with her beauty in "Algiers" ! Now you see her in the arms of a dashing Bob Taylor !


Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

11 August 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Flor del trópico  »

Box Office


$913,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The distance Bill and Manon traveled by boat from Saigon to Angkor Wat in Cambodia was approximately 300 miles. See more »


Bill Carey: Father... Father, help us.
Father Antoine: My son, she goes where there is no east or west. And she will be judged by one who alone knows how great or how little were her sins.
See more »


Referenced in Hollywood Mouth 2 (2014) See more »


The Wedding March
(1843) (uncredited)
from "A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61"
Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Played at the wedding dinner
See more »

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User Reviews

Lamarr's Night of Nights
4 September 2002 | by (Salisbury,Pennsylvania) – See all my reviews

Hedy Lamarr was not generally as fortunate in her scripts or her directors as most of the great leading ladies of her day.Yet this now almost forgotten film may ,in fact, be her most perfect vehicle. "Samson and Delilah" appears the only alternative possibility ;still the gentler less garish approach here serves to better accentuate Miss Lamarr's exquisite beauty and muted, perfectly timed, performance.

The part of the half-caste Manon seems written for her (an excellent Ben Hecht script); the photography deserved its Oscar nomination and makes us ask for what do we need technicolor? Furthermore,Lamarr is ably seconded by then newcomer Gloria Franklin as another gentle victim of the Saigon love game.And can Miss Franklin handle a heartbreaking rhythm. Why did America fail to take this delicate chanteuse to its heart?

The main flaw in this work,which otherwise would deserve a nine or ten rating, is the casting of an already hardening Robert Taylor as the enraptured playboy.It is patent,considering the obvious parallels with "Camille, why Taylor got the part. He even goes through some almost identical motions a second time in the death scene here. And that is exactly the problem.Taylor has left romanticism behind him by the time this film was shot. His best notes here are quiet desperation. Francis Lederer would have been great for the role(remember him with Louise Brooks?),but, under the Hollywood casting system ,there was no chance he could have gotten the part.

Flawed as it is, it is flawless Lamarr.And as every romantic believes ,there must still be audiences of unknowing lovers out there who will want to see it again-and again.

22 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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