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Josef von Sternberg,
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Joseph L. Mankiewicz
After the war, Matt Gordon returns to Singapore to retrieve a fortune in smuggled pearls. Arrived, he reminisces in flashback about his prewar fiancée, alluring Linda, and her disappearance during the Japanese attack. But now Linda resurfaces...with amnesia and married to rich planter Van Leyden. Meanwhile, sinister fence Mauribus schemes to get Matt's pearls. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Director John Brahm manages to hold this poor-man's "Casablanca" together. The picture moves at a good clip and Brahm makes the studio-set Singapore visually interesting. There's help too from stars Fred MacMurray and Ava Gardner as lovers whose lives are complicated by World War II and Gardner's amnesia when MacMurray, who thought her dead, finds her again in postwar Singapore, married to a wealthy planter. MacMurray and Gardner are really a goofy romantic team, but MacMurray has his appealing casual charm, and Gardner's vague, unfocused acting works well in some of her amnesiac scenes (plus she was at her most beautiful in the late 1940's). Supporting turns by pros like Richard Haydn and Spring Byington are also a plus. Overall, contrived and derivative, but it looks like a classic compared to the depressing Errol Flynn 1957 remake, "Istanbul."
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