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Rich American socialite Lady Edwina Esketh, who obtained her title by marrying English Lord Albert Esketh, travels to Ranchipur where Albert hopes to buy a prize stallion from the Maharani. Theirs is not a happy marriage and after she meets a prominent local doctor, Rama Safti, falls madly in love with him. He too is in love with her much to the Maharani's disapproval as she has great plans for the good doctor. Also living in Ranchipur is Tom Ransome an old friend of Edwina's who perhaps knows too much about her past. When a natural disaster destroys much of Ranchipur, disease follows forcing Safti to choose between treating the sick or being with Edwina, who is also deathly ill. Written by
Oh, dear! One of my favorite mid-Fifties Twentieth-Century Fox CinemaScopuses was nearly ruined for me a few years back when Bette Midler released her comedy album, "Mud WILL Be Flung, Tonight!" in which she does an elaborate routine in her character as "Soph" in bed with her boyfriend, "Ernie" who excuses himself to use the loo. When she hears certain sounds emanating from the bathroom, upon his return to the boudoir she demands: "Ernie, what the hell was that?!?" and he advises: "Soph, those were the Rains of Raunch-I-Poor!!" The routine goes on to appropriate a few other famous movie titles like "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," "The Winds of Krakatoa" (i.e., "Krakatoa, East of Java")...well, you get the idea, I would guess!
Anyway, Ms. Midler, no respecter of popular culture when it comes to her usually successful attempts at camp humor in her standup comedy routines, probably enjoyed this elaborate remake as much as I did, if she's ever seen it. 20th-Century Fox assembled a nicely balanced cast and assigned some top-flight professionals to give the whole thing the kind of gloss that's pretty much a thing of the past now. Of special note are the Academy Award-nominated special effects, rather convincing when I saw this on a big CinemaScope screen; some very nice use of DeLuxe Color (everyone looks handsome indeed, especially Miss Turner); and Hugo Friedhofer's tasteful score. (He was a composer who always successfully resisted producers' attempts to add music to an excessively gloppy extent and he was often astute in adding an exotic touch, where appropriate, with just a few bars of orchestration.) By the way I don't think, contrary to another comment here, that the production sent a second unit to Pakistan or anywhere outside of California. I might be wrong, since the opening sequence with Lord and Lady Esketh arriving by train into a bustling Indian metropolis is a terrific example of Hollywood fakery if it's not the real thing. There's one brief shot, however, where a limousine is seen turning into the supposed gates of the Maharani's compound and it is unmistakably the West Gate of Bel-Air, one of West Los Angeles' poshest subdivisions.
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