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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?


This film received its USA television premiere in Los Angeles Friday 9 November 1956 on KTTV (Channel 11); in Philadelphia it was first aired Sunday 30 June 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6); its San Francisco television premiere took place 5 February 1958 on KGO (Channel 7) and in New York City it was first telecast 29 March 1958 on WCBS (Channel 2). 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 »


Featured in From the Ends of the Earth (1939) See more »


Each Time You Say Goodbye (I Die A Little)
Music by Phil Ohman
Lyrics Foster Carling
Sung by Gloria Franklin (uncredited) (dubbed by Harriet Cruise (uncredited))
See more »

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User Reviews

Lamarr as tragic beauty Manon
1 August 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Certainly two of the most beautiful stars in films were Hedy Lamarr and Robert Taylor, and here they are together in "Lady of the Tropics," a 1939 film directed by Jack Conway. It's the story of a half-caste named Manon who, as a second class citizen, can't get a passport to leave Saigon. Taylor is a playboy who falls for her; the two marry, incurring the wrath of Manon's sometime boyfriend Delaroch (Joseph Schildkraut).

Made under the Hays code, the ending of the film is obvious and inevitable; also, it closely follows the story of Manon Lescaut, told twice in opera, once by Puccini and once by Massenet. There's a scene from the Puccini version in the film.

The film is beautifully photographed. Lamarr has a lovely, tender quality as Manon, and she is stunning in her Adrian gowns and hats. Taylor has a role similar to his Alfred in Camille, and he does it well, resplendent in his white suit and brilliant smile. One of the posts suggested Francis Lederer in the role. Lederer was a handsome and wonderful actor, very romantic, and would have brought a more exotic persona to the part. I admit, however, to liking the rugged, earthy, American quality Taylor brings, as the character should be truly out of his element in Saigon. This makes Manon's inability to get a passport all the sadder and more desperate.

Joseph Schildkraut was a master at portraying the kind of evil manipulator he did as Laroch, so while his Oriental makeup is a little disconcerting, his performance isn't.

A lovely film. Too bad about the code.

25 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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