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The Rains Came (1939)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, Romance | 15 September 1939 (USA)
The adventurous Lady Edwina Esketh travels to the princely state of Ranchipur in India with her husband, Lord Albert Esketh, who is there to purchase some of the Maharajah's horses. She's ... See full summary »

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(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
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Mr. Bannerjee
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Miss Mac Daid
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Aunt Phoebe - Mrs. Smiley
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Mrs. Simon
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Rev. Homer Smiley
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Maharajah
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Lily Hoggett-Egburry
...
Raschid Ali Khan
...
General Keith (as Montague Shaw)
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Storyline

The adventurous Lady Edwina Esketh travels to the princely state of Ranchipur in India with her husband, Lord Albert Esketh, who is there to purchase some of the Maharajah's horses. She's surprised to meet an old friend, Tom Ransome who came to Ranchipur seven years before to paint the Maharajah's portrait and just stayed on. Ransome has developed something of a reputation - for womanizing and drinking too much - but that's OK with Edwina who is bored and looking for fun. She soon meets the local doctor, the hard working and serious Major Rama Safti. He doesn't immediately respond to her advances but when the seasonal rains come, disaster strikes when a dam fails, flooding much of the countryside. Disease soon sets in and everyone, including Ransome and Edwina, work at a non-stop pace to save as many as possible. Safti deeply admires Edwina's sacrifice but fate intervenes. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

15 September 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nacht über Indien  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,600,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first movie to win an Oscar for Best Visual Effects. The category was called Best Effects, Special Effects and included both sound and photographic winners for Edmund H. Hansen and Fred Sersen respectively. See more »

Goofs

In the hospital scene toward the end, Fern is in Lady Esketh's room when Tom arrives. He enters and stands next to Fern, clearly empty-handed. Lady Esketh asks Fern to leave and then we see a close-up of her in her bed as she talks to Tom. When the film cuts to a shot of Tom he's standing with a large envelope or file folder in his hand, tapping on it with a finger. He then leaves the room with the folder in his hands. See more »

Quotes

Thomas 'Tom' Ransome: I hope I'm not keeping you from your guests.
Fern Simon: Oh, they're not *my* guests. That's mother's idea of "high society." They're all excited because YOU'RE here.
Thomas 'Tom' Ransome: Really? Should I be flattered?
Fern Simon: They say dreadful things about you...
Thomas 'Tom' Ransome: [playfully whispers] What sort of things?
Fern Simon: That you're a drunkard, and a bounder, and a remittance man... They'll hang around you just the same, because your father was an earl.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Each set of credits (except for the 20th Century-Fox logo) disintegrates after it appears, as if it were washed away by the rain falling in the background. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Patient Porky (1940) See more »

Soundtracks

The Rains Came
(1939) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Mack Gordon
Written for the movie and possibly played instrumentally
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Old-Fashioned Exotic Melodrama with a Smoldering Loy and Special Effects That Still Impress
31 July 2009 | by (San Francisco, CA, USA) – See all my reviews

In the same high-watermark year that saw the burning of Atlanta in "Gone With the Wind" and Dorothy's house spinning perilously in a tornado in "The Wizard of Oz", this little-seen 1939 romantic melodrama won the first Oscar ever awarded to a film for Best Special Effects. Seventy years later, the earthquake-to-flood sequence still holds up impressively, even in the age of CGI programming with a surprisingly seamless combination of models, mattes and huge dump tanks. The artistry of Fox effects whiz Fred Sersen's work is worth slogging through the first fifty minutes of archaic set-up. Directed by MGM veteran Clarence Brown ("The Yearling"), the story would appear to have the makings of a romantic triangle given the three leads, but it actually consists of two contrasting love stories.

Set in colonial India at its most exotic (although filmed entirely on the studio back lot), one thread centers on Tom Ransome, an aging, alcoholic British playboy pursued by Fern Simon, the love-struck daughter of local missionaries. The other is the forbidden romance that develops between Lady Edwina Esketh, the adulterous British wife of a pompous horse breeder and Major Rama Safti, a Hindu doctor devoted to his homeland. The calamitous disaster obviously veers all four off course as they find themselves re-evaluating their feelings for one another until fate steps in and decides for them. The second love story is obviously a metaphor for the diminishing hold Britain had on India in the years prior to Mahatma Gandhi's rise as the leader of the burgeoning republic. However, the May-December romance between Ransome and Fern initially follows a "Lolita"-esque course that offsets the balance of the film. Course correction comes with the unusually well-cast principals.

Usually playing warm-hearted wives both scrappy ("The Thin Man") and noble ("The Best Years of Our Lives"), Myrna Loy surprises with a sexy, assured performance as Lady Edwina. She cuts a diaphanous figure as a voracious temptress and transitions convincingly to a woman desperate for moral redemption. It's a shame Loy had so few opportunities to show this uncensored side of her talent. Ridiculously handsome, Tyrone Power doesn't look remotely Indian even with a turban and constant tan. During the matinée idol phase of his career, he lacked depth and nuance, for example, take note of his embarrassing bad breakdown scene late in the film. However, he is obviously here for eye candy, and Loy's lustful glances are well justified in this regard.

Perhaps because he is not playing opposite the vivid fieriness of constant co-star Bette Davis ("Dark Victory"), the usually bland George Brent is terrifically engaging as Ransome. I have to admit his witty banter with Loy held my interest far more than the concealed passion between her and Power. For better or worse, Brenda Joyce brings a strangely off-kilter dimension to Fran. Several great recognizable character actors fill the supporting parts, a few playing purely Hollywood versions of exotics - Jane Darwell, Henry Travers, H.B. Warner, Marjorie Rambeau, Joseph Schildkraut – though none makes a more vivid impression than Maria Ouspenskaya ("Dodsworth", "Love Affair") as the worldly wise Maharani with her dangling cigarette holder. The print transfer on the 2005 Fox Studios Classic DVD is impressively pristine. There is a chatty commentary track from film aficionados Anthony Slide and Robert S. Birchard, a gallery of stills, and the original theatrical trailer.


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