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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>
On her way up the Hollywood ladder MGM loaned Ava Gardner out for this potboiler adventure film Singapore. As the area suggests romance and mystery just the title alone would bring in a few customers at the box office. In fact Singapore still is an area of intrigue though now enjoying a prosperity that could not have been imagined when this film was made.
Fred MacMurray and Ava Gardner are a pair of star crossed lovers who marry just before the Japanese invade and occupy the city. MacMurray has a fortune in pearls that he stashes and while trying to retrieve them the bombs are dropped and he thinks Gardner is killed. He barely gets away in his schooner with other refugees without pearls and without Ava who he married just before the attack.
After the war Fred's back to get his pearls, but he sees Ava now married to Roland Culver and with a bad case of amnesia. And he's got other problems as villains Thomas Gomez and George Lloyd want them as well.
Singapore was created on the Universal back lot and didn't have the advantage that its remake Istanbul had with color and location shooting. But they did make a better film though not all that much better. It's been compared to Casablanca by many to the detriment of Singapore. But those letters of transit that will allow two people, which two to escape and join the fight against Nazism are a much bigger prize than Fred's pearls. You care a lot more about Bogey, Bergman, and Henreid than the triangle here. And this film didn't have As Time Goes By either.
MacMurray and Gardner also don't have the chemistry that Bogey and Bergman do. But that's not fair, who else ever did?
Singapore is your routine potboiler another film MacMurray was grabbing for the paycheck after he left Paramount. As for Ava after The Killers and The Hucksters it was not a step down, but just keeping her on the same career plateau as before.
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