|Page 1 of 3:||  |
|Index||25 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
You know, some movies are great and others tank..... This one
definitely tanked at my house.
My mother and I watched this late one night thinking that it would be interesting because it was a movie starring Richard Burton right when his career was just taking off.
WRONG!!!! Not only did this movie NOT help his career take off, but could have torpedoed it from the bomb that this movie was.
Richard Burton stars in this movie as an Indian doctor who returns to his "roots" by doctoring the sick and needy.
Lana Turner also appears as a wealthy American socialite (very social indeed) married to Michael Rennie who, I am assuming, is of English nobility. They happen to be in India as the guests of the Maharani (female version of the Maharaja, a big person in Indian society)
I really don't need to go into detail about how Lana Turner and Richard Burton's characters get together, but I can assure you that they do. Michael Rennie warns the Doctor about his wife, basically saying, "Ya know, I have an airhead of a wife who likes to sleep with anything that remotely resembles even a coat rack, but you can still sleep with her and we can all be friends in the end"
A few "action" scenes have their cheesy moments. In one scene, Michael Rennie is on a tiger hunt in India when all of a sudden a tiger (an actor wrapped in a tiger rug) flies across the screen and lands on him as he attempts to kill it, thus immobilizing him for a good part of the movie, giving Turner and Burton their chance to frolic with each other in some places.
Another is when "The Rains" (read: killer monsoon) come and knock off the dams and bridges and wash out the poorhouse sections of the town. It goes for the same as the earthquake.
The dialogue just flat lines throughout the movie. Towards the end, Turner and Burton's white, hot passion for each other cools way down with the help of "The Rains". Turner decides to be shallow when Burton tries to explain why he "couldn't come to her in her hour of need" Basically, it's like watching two elementary school kids in a little romance when all of a sudden, the girl gets mad at the boy for not playing with her on the swing set and decides to break up with him just because the boy missed one day of swing set time. Petty romances here, people.
The ending was even bad. The audience expects one thing, and just the total opposite happens. I felt that the director or the scriptwriter needed some major adjustments to their craft in this movie.
However, the movie was appropriately titled. The Rains of Ranchipur washed out my evening. I don't want to be a wet blanket, but I have to give this movie a -2 out of 1-10. It was that bad.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film is one of those movies I sit through ("Elephant Walk" being
another good example) for the special effects laden climaxes. "The
Rains" is one of the greatest examples of Hollywood miscasting and
racial bait and switch ever. First we have Richard Burton as Dr. Safti,
a HINDU doctor. He plays the role like a weak rabbit in costumes that
make his macho form especially wimpy. Eugenie Leontovich plays the
Grand Diva of Ranchipur "The Maharani" who tries valiantly to out-diva
Lana Turner but alas, fails. Both are unconvincing but the camp factor
is worth the experience. Fred MacMurray has a turn as a drunk with a
heart of gold and Michael Rennie is wasted as Lana's husband. Then
there is Ms. Turner. Playing a poor little rich girl to the hilt, she
manages to be uber glamorous even in the midst of a deadly fever. The
romance between Turner and Burton is embarrassing in a "I love you but
I really can't back it up" kind of way, and you start rooting for the
rains to do their thing. When they finally get going, it's a good
old-fashioned disaster movie for a while with heroics all around, then
it's back to the potboiler and a disappointing ending. If you want a
fake Bollywood extravaganza with Lana Turner getting drenched in high
heels, this is your film.
As a postscript to this review, if you want to see the real thing, check out the 1939 classic "The Rains Came", a much more entertaining, higher quality version with a very, very different outcome. It makes this one look like a bad made for TV movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Lana Turnmer is Lady Edwina Esketh, a beautiful, wealthy, and
attractive man-hunting, the sort that finds it expedient to take her
husband along on her wanderings... When the married couple arrive in
Ranchipur as guests of the Maharani, they meet Dr. Safti, a young Hindu
who is the ruler's protégé and in whom the Maharani has recognized the
greatness that will be all-important to her country... Edwina, however,
decides then and there that she must add this young man to her
The Maharani does, of course, try to prevent the doctor from falling in love with Edwina, whose reputation as an amoral woman has preceded her to India... But as he becomes harder to get, Edwina becomes more and more determined to have him and, out of her yearning, there is born to her the first stirrings of genuine emotion... Soon, Dr. Safti admits his love for her and tells the woman he is prepared to go away with her...
But a severe 'Mansoon' intervened, and the rains came to Ranchipur, followed by a devastating earthquake that destroys most of the bridges, schools and buildings, and smashes the structure of a dam promising for another catastrophe...
Interwoven with all this was a secondary love story concerning a hard-drinking, disillusioned American engineer named Tom Ransome (Fred MacMurray), who wins back his self-respect as well as the love of Fern Simon (Joan Caulfield), a missionary's daughter attracted to him with the confident expectation to accomplish something good in her life...
Lady Esketh, whose character is established in the film's first five minutes when her husband (Michael Rennie) calls her 'greedy,' 'selfish,' 'decadent,' and 'corrupt' all in one breath, is probably the most determined, straightforward femme fatale the star has ever essayed on the screen... "I just look at what I want," she tells the Hindu doctor... Her pretty dangerous character basically matches that of Doña Sol (Rita Hayworth) in "Blood and Sand."
Eugenie Leontovich portrays with strong bravura style the 'demanding' Maharani who raised Dr. Safti as an honest man faithful to his duty, to his people, and his country... This truly remarkable woman proves not selfish for herself but a lot for Ranchipur...
The film's final scenea juicy, climactic confrontation between Lady Esketh and the Maharanigives Lana the opportunity to utter that attention-getting line: "I don't give a damn!" We have heard these words in the climax of the all-time movie classic when Rhett Butler used it to tell off Scarlett O'Hara sixteen years earlier...
Based on Louis Bromfield Novel, and with an excellent cast, "Rains of Ranchipur" is a tedious remake of Clarence Brown's "The Rains Came." Milton Krasner's photography in CinemaScope and DeLuxe Color is excessively flattering, and Lana Turner looks gorgeous in her elegant gowns, and Richard Burton specially handsome in the turban...
This wide-screen romance yarn showcases the lovely Lana Turner as a wealthy and restless socialite who becomes smitten with a handsome native doctor during a trip to India. This is the main thread of the film although there are other sub-plots at work here. Richard Burton is good as the object of Turner's affections and Eugenie Leontovich is regal as the Maharani who raised Burton from childhood. This sage queen watches the blossoming romance with cold displeasure, deeply jealous of Turner's hold on him. Fred MacMurray is involved in another clincher with Joan Caulfield that doesn't ring true and adds very little to the main story. Michael Rennie has a thankless role as Turner's husband, whom she keeps at arms's length throughout the movie. The ensuing monsoons, flooding and earthquake in the region are awesome and terrible in their destruction, the special effects of which are very good. Turner is clothed in a first-class wardrobe and the film's sets reflect the lavish production. Milton Krasner's camera and Hugo Friedhofer's exotic music score are first-rate.
If you think watching LANA TURNER's attraction to the first man in a
turban she's ever seen (RICHARD BURTON) is slightly humorous, wait till
you see and hear FRED MacMURRAY and JOAN CAULFIELD reciting some
dreary, sappy dialogue as the second lead love interests in another
re-working of Luis Bromfield's tale about passion among some folk in
It's a tale that doesn't get any better in this more lavish remake of "The Rains Came". The story is the kind that you follow only to wish impatiently that the floods will arrive to make your patience with the acting, direction and script worthwhile.
Lana, of course, is a dream in Technicolored outfits, as a spoiled rich woman who dislikes her husband (MICHAEL RENNIE) because she suspects he only married her for her wealth. She therefore feels compelled to cheat on him with the first handsome man she spots after their arrival in India. It's typical Lana material and she does it so convincingly that you almost forgive her for some of the things she says and does.
The climax is well staged and worth a view, especially as seen on the wide screen in all of its CinemaScope glory. But getting there is a tiresome thing indeed.
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
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.
The original film on which The Rains Of Ranchipur is a remake, The
Rains Came share one thing in common. The Rains Came won the second
Oscar given in the category of Best Special Effects and The Rains Of
Ranchipur was nominated in the same category. But other than that while
the first was a tidal flood of emotions this one barely registers a
Unhappily married Michael Rennie and Lana Turner come on holiday to the Indian province of Ranchipur. He married her money, she married his title and she's had a long string of affairs in both hemispheres that always make the gossip columns. She takes one look at Hindu doctor Richard Burton and decides he will be her latest conquest. She also meets another of her former conquests Fred MacMurray who is living out here on his inheritance and who missionary kid Joan Caulfield decides he's got the makings of a reformation project.
That's about how the original film is laid out. But the changes and softenings of the story and the characters make The Rains Of Ranchipur lose all its punch. The biggest changes are to the characters that Lana Turner and Michael Rennie play who were essayed by Myrna Loy and Nigel Bruce in the original. See the two side by side and you'll know what I mean. In addition Joan Caulfield is way too old to be playing college age girls. Her part in the original is done by Brenda Joyce.
Color has been added and some nice location cinematography of India during its first decade of independence is nice to see as well as the earthquake and flooding sequences. It makes up for a watered down story.
In rainy Ranchipur, India, promiscuous blonde Lana Turner (as Edwina)
seduces inexperienced Hindu doctor Richard Burton (as Rama Safti).
Meanwhile, heavy-drinking Fred MacMurray (as Tom Ransome) tries to fend
off flirty blonde Joan Caulfield (as Fern Simon). As you might expect,
Ms. Turner is decked out in expensive clothing and smokes more than her
usual share of cigarettes. Looking likewise with extra brown make-up,
Mr. Burton is earnest but apt to provoke unintentional laughter. Too
lazy to steal the film by acting even moderately drunk, Mr. MacMurray
is merely coasting until Disney rescues his career. With a teen-aged
pony-tail and lilting voice, Ms. Caulfield found her feature film
career effectively ended. In this crowd, fifth-billed Michael Rennie
(as Albert Esketh) shines by just standing around. There is a special
effects disaster in the last half-hour, and Turner has some good scenes
- but you have to wait over an hour to something to happen.
**** The Rains of Ranchipur (12/14/55) Jean Negulesco ~ Lana Turner, Richard Burton, Fred MacMurray, Joan Caulfield
Lord Esketh, a British aristocrat, and his glamorous American wife,
Edwina, are touring India and staying in the city of Ranchipur, where
they are guests of the local Maharani. (The action is supposed to be
set in India, even though we see a prominently displayed Pakistani flag
in an early scene). Their marriage is an unhappy one and each despises
the other. Edwina despises her husband because she sees him as weak and
cowardly and because he only married her for her money. (She is an
independently wealthy heiress). He despises her because he sees her as
cold and heartless; we learn that she has been unfaithful to him with a
number of different men. While in Ranchipur Edwina meets and has an
affair with a young suntanned Welshman in a turban.
Well, actually Richard Burton's character is supposed to be an Indian, Dr Safti, a physician and the adopted son of the Maharani. Today, the idea of a white actor in "brownface" playing an Indian would strike most people as politically incorrect, but was an accepted practice in the fifties, and at least Burton's performance is a lot less insensitive than that given by Peter Sellers in "The Millionairess" from a few years later. (Sellers was also playing an Indian doctor). Watching the film, I wondered if the use of the Christian name "Edwina" was a veiled reference to Edwina Mountbatten, another independently wealthy heiress, married to a British aristocrat, who visited India and was rumoured to have had an affair with an Indian man, in her case the politician Jawaharlal Nehru. I understand, however, that "The Rains of Ranchipur" is a remake of "The Rains Came" from 1939 (which I have never seen), and that the character had the same name both in this film and in the 1937 novel on which it was based. As the Mountbattens did not come to India until 1947, the coincidence was presumably unintentional.
The Edwina-Safti romance is the mainspring of the plot, but for all Edwina's good looks she is so obviously spoilt, selfish and promiscuous that it is difficult to imagine any man, let alone one as intelligent and idealistic as Dr Safti, falling hopelessly in love with her. There is a subplot involving another romance between Tom Ransome, an alcoholic former lover of Edwina and close friend of Safti, and Fern, the daughter of a local missionary, but this arouses little interest.
The acting is generally undistinguished. Burton, as though embarrassed by having been cast in a role to which he was ill-suited, is horribly stilted and wooden, giving by far his worst performance in any film of his which I have seen. The Russian-born Eugenie Leontovich as the Maharani is no more convincing as an Indian than is Burton. Lana Turner as Edwina and Fred MacMurray as Tom were both capable of much better things than this. Probably the best is Joan Caulfield as Fern. The intention seems to have been to contrast Fern's youth and innocence with the cynicism and corruption of the experienced older woman Edwina, so it is perhaps surprising that Caulfield, who at 33 was only a year younger than Turner, was cast in the role, but she is fresh and youthful-looking enough to succeed in making the contrast an effective one.
The best thing about the film is its special effects. Although "The Rains of Ranchipur" is not a "disaster movie" in the sense that the film-makers of the seventies would have understood the term, an earthquake and the subsequent flood after the earthquake destroys a dam play important roles in the story. These scenes are very well done, are still convincingly impressive even in the era of CGI and the main reason why I have given the film an average mark. Unfortunately, there is little else to make the film worth watching today. Special effects apart, it is the sort of dull, turgid and implausible melodrama which typified Hollywood at its worst during the fifties. 5/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The second retelling of Louis Bromfield's novel was clearly a vehicle
for its star, Lana Turner in a Twentieth Century Fox production after
she had left her glory days at MGM. Directed by Jean Negulesco with a
screen treatment by Merle Miller, the 1955 film showed recently on a
The story combines equal parts of romance and tragedy. In those days the special effects were not exactly the same as what can be achieved with computers and new techniques. The best thing in the film is the sequence of the earthquake after weeks of unending torrential rains. The rest of the story deals with Edwina, a rich woman, who can pick and discard men as she sees fit, which is the case with the man one first sees her with, Lord Esketh.
It does not take long after she arrives in Ranchipur to spot the handsome Indian Dr. Safti, with whom she falls in love, creating a scandal in the local society, ruled with an iron fist by the Maharani, a no nonsense woman who knows Edwina is no good for the hunky doctor. Then there is the drunk expatriate Tom Ransome, who is drinking himself to oblivion among the higher classes and gets the eye of Fern Simon, an impressionable young woman. Everything is shattered by the arrival of the earthquake and the breaking of the dam over the river that wreaks havoc among the poor native population.
The result was a glossy picture that looks sadly dated, The performances are what one expect of this cast. Mr. Negulesco's direction does not bring anything new to the story. Watch it as a curiosity of that era.
|Page 1 of 3:||  |
|External reviews||Plot keywords||Main details|
|Your user reviews||Your vote history|