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Macao (1952)

Passed  |   |  Adventure, Crime, Drama  |  30 April 1952 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 1,731 users  
Reviews: 36 user | 26 critic

Nick Cochran, an American in exile in Macao, has a chance to restore his name by helping capture an international crime lord. Undercover, can he mislead the bad guys and still woo the handsome singer/petty crook, Julie Benson?

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay), 6 more credits »
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Airs Tue. Apr. 07, 1:45 AM on TCM

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Title: Macao (1952)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Police Lt. Sebastian
...
...
Edward Ashley ...
Philip Ahn ...
Vladimir Sokoloff ...
Don Zelaya ...
Gimpy - Piano Player
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Storyline

A sultry night club singer, a man who has also traveled to many exotic ports and a salesman meet aboard ship on the 45-mile trip from Hong Kong to Macao. The singer is quickly hired by an American expatriate who runs the biggest casino in Macao and has a thriving business in converting hot jewels into cash. Her new boss thinks one of her traveling companions is a cop. One is -- but not the one the boss suspects. Written by Dale O'Connor <daleoc@interaccess.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

On the spot...in the toughest spot on earth. (Lobby card). See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

30 April 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Den laglösa ön  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

William Talman originally tested for the role eventually played by Brad Dexter. See more »

Goofs

Whenever Julie Benson (Jane Russell) sings in the gambling den, The piano and bass guitar accompaniment don't match the sound of the full orchestra backing her up. See more »

Quotes

Nick Cochran: My fatal charm. Never misses - except with women.
See more »


Soundtracks

One for My Baby
Music by Harold Arlen
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Sung by Jane Russell
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Jane Russell gets rare good role in utterly shallow but playful and stylish adventure
5 August 2002 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

Josef von Sternberg began Macao (and copped the directorial credit), but Nicholas Ray finished it. Nonetheless, it abounds with Sternberg's branded flounces and fetishes. As in Shanghai Express and The Shanghai Gesture, he trowels on the Orientalism in thick impasto (Sternberg could have made the best Charlie Chan movie of them all).

A nighttime chase through the Macao docks opens the movie (to be rhymed near its conclusion): A white-suited European is pursued by knife-throwing Chinese thugs; he falls in the water when one blade finds its mark. A badge filched from him pocket shows him to be a police detective.

Into this world of Asian intrigue sails a boat from Hong Kong, just 35 miles up the coast. On it is the motley crew of salesman William Bendix, drifter Robert Mitchum and mysterious woman Jane Russell, who lifts Mitchum's wallet. Sans passport, Mitchum comes to the attention of the Macao police chief (Thomas Gomez), who reports the suspicious stranger to gambling kingpin Brad Dexter. Dexter assumes Mitchum is a cop he knows to be on his way to extradite him back to Hong Kong....

It's a playfully plotted adventure story. Russell gets a gig singing at Dexter's club in eye-popping gowns which actually aren't any more provocative than the black-and-white daytime outfits she traipses around in, wielding a parasol. She fares better than Gloria Grahame, as Dexter's moll, looking washed out and largely wasted (though she puts her distinctive spin on a couple of lines). Mitchum by this time has done this role – the lippy but laconic reluctant hero – so often he could do it in his sleep, which, given his hooded eyes, may be the truth of the matter.

Macao is an utterly shallow film done with energy and style. The plotting remains perfunctory, but the play of shadows throughout remains transfixing – especially in the set-piece near the end, again on the dark waterfront, with ropes and nets casting their creepy spell. And the movie provides Russell with one of her few opportunities to flaunt her real, if narrow, talents: in addition to the statuesque figure that caught Howard Hughes' eye, she had spunk and sass. That's what Sternberg saw, and he fell for it. We do, too.


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