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A struggling young actress with a six year-old daughter sets up housekeeping with a homeless black widow and her light-skinned eight year-old daughter who rejects her mother by trying to pass for white.
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
Not terribly profound but in many ways an improvement on the original
From the time when Fox, as with Avatar's 3D, were looking for big subjects for their new CinemaScope format (the miracle you see without glasses!), The Rains of Ranchipur manages to improve somewhat on the studio's disappointing 1939 version The Rains Came. The plot has been streamlined and updated to post-colonial India, the number of characters reduced and the earthquake and floods been moved from the middle of the picture to its grand finale, while this time around the film doesn't dodge the issue of the interracial romance between Richard Burton's Indian doctor and Lana Turner's bored American socialite (for some strange reason doing what seems like a Marilyn Monroe impersonation) the way it oh so coyly did when Tyrone Power and Myrna Loy played the parts even if it doesn't go so far as to actually cast an Indian actor. The results are generally more satisfying even if the film is ultimately nothing more than lavishly mounted romantic hokum of forbidden love, bad weather and Welsh Indians, though Ray Kellog's Oscar-nominated special effects are disappointing compared to the original the physical effects and model shots are impressive enough, but there's some very poor optical work with all too visible lines and elements that clearly don't match. It doesn't help that Fred McMurray's big redemptive act of heroism happens offscreen either. It's not terribly profound stuff, but any film with dialogue like "The destruction of midgets does not interest me" isn't without merit.
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