The Rains of Ranchipur (1955) Poster

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WHAT a SNAIL! (may contain spoilers)
angelinastarr9 April 2004
Warning: 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.
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Quirk factor high, worth seeing
eyecandyforu2 May 2005
Warning: 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.
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Lana Turner, Richard Burton and great special effects
NewEnglandPat1 August 2003
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.
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Lana Turner looks gorgeous and Richard Burton specially handsome in the turban...
Nazi_Fighter_David17 October 1999
Warning: 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 'collection.'

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 scene—a juicy, climactic confrontation between Lady Esketh and the Maharani—gives 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...
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It Pours in Ranchipur
wes-connors13 June 2013
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
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Welshman in a Turban
James Hitchcock12 October 2012
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
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This One's Just A Drizzle
bkoganbing20 September 2011
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 drizzle.

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.
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"Soph! Those are the Rains of Raunch-I-Poor!!"
Greg Couture26 May 2003
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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Tiresome story rehashed again...only worthwhile for the spectacular "rains"...
Neil Doyle26 August 2006
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 India.

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.
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jotix1003 September 2012
Warning: 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 classic channel.

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.
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Glamorous remake with all-star cast
sabby27 March 1999
This glamorous remake of the '30s film "And The Rains Came", casts Lana Turner, Richard Burton, and Fred McMurray. Turner is a woman who travels with her husband to India to purchase some horses. While there, the unsatisfied Lana embarks on an affair with Hindu doctor Burton, breaking taboos and causing a ruckus among the elite set. All the drama is compounded by a series of earthquakes and one big flood that threatens the lives of everyone. It's hard to tell what's more beautiful to look at - the Indian scenery(really filmed in Pakistan) or the always elegant Lana. Storyline-wise there's not a lot of substance, but it's truly a visual feast regardless.
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When it rains, it bores...
JasparLamarCrabb18 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
With the exception of a mid-film earthquake and flood, there is really nothing to recommend here. Directed by Jean Negulesco in the blandest way imaginable. Lana Turner is an amoral "lady" married to "lord" Michael Rennie. Visting Ranchipur, she falls in love with Hindu doctor Richard Burton(!). Turner & Rennie have a lot of nasty arguments and Burton spouts a lot of corny philosophy. They're all terrible. Turner, who smokes in EVERY scene, looks stunning, and gives a very bad performance. Burton is dreadful with turban and tan. Surely he was contractually obligated to 20th Century Fox to appear in this potboiler. Fred MacMurray is wasted as Turner's old friend and de facto Greek chorus. Rennie is shuffled off during the film's first half. Eugenie Leontovich adds some color as the local Maharani but beyond that, this movie is a dog. Director Negulesco, who made some really good movies in the 1940s (ROAD HOUSE, JOHNNY BELINDA) put out some of the most ridiculous soap operas of the 1950s (THE BEST OF EVERYTHING, WOMAN'S WORLD), and this is surely his worst.
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route602er10 January 2004
Warning: Spoilers
NOTE---POSSIBLE SPOILER FOR ONE OF THE FILM'S IMPORTANT SCENES---The whole movie was good, but the great earthquake scene was spectacular! Then the dam breaking! No music was used during the entire sequence to attempt to build drama or enhance what was happening on the screen, it wasn't necessary. The minimal use of sound effects in that scene also added to the sense of impending, ominous doom. Great directing! Great special effects, especially considering the era when it was made!---Bolt.
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Seen anyone interesting among the Supporting Players
Hans C. Frederick15 December 2003
For those among us who grew up watching a lot of television in the 1960s,it's always a lot of fun seeing stars doing supporting roles earlier in their careers.And who's doing the bluff,hearty,amiable Sikh police captain?None other than John Banner,who went on to do the comic heavy Schultz,on"Hogan's Heroes."And,for all of his teutonic ponderousness,he does manage to carry it off.
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The Rain Coudn't Come Soon Enough
Hitchcoc14 December 2016
As a youngster, if we wanted to see a movie (about the only entertainment in town) we were forced to go to a local theater that showed movies that were long past their original runs. If it were 2016, a group of teenagers wouldn't have considered seeing this movie. It was dramatic and about people tearing each other apart. There were no guns or secret agents or comedic pratfalls. But it was Friday night and..... I have always been a fairly accepting person when it comes to the arts. As it turns out, this movie was a challenge to the adult population. It is an array of the most unlikable characters who have the most condescending attitudes toward the people they were living with. That is imperial India. It meanders and meanders and never gets to the point. Burton looks good as does Lana Turner. Unfortunately, Turner's character is utterly despicable. This is one that can fade into the past.
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Talky superficial remake of...
calvinnme29 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
1939's "The Rains Came". Turner plays the predatory Lady Esketh, Burton the saintly Dr. Safti, Michael Rennie is Lord Esketh, while Fred MacMurray seems to have wandered away from the set of "My Three Sons" years before it began. He's not convincing as an alcoholic, and seems entirely too nice for this bunch of people.

While I was waiting for/watching the Oscar nominated Special Effects sequence(s), I noticed that- Turner gives one of her better late performances; Eugenie Leontovich's Maharani combines a Russian and British accent and sounds remarkably weird; when a character is told not to do something, they go ahead and ignore the advice (applies to five characters). Burton is very brown when his character is introduced; when the rains start, his makeup starts to come off, and after he's been submerged in a flooding river, he's almost as white as Lana Turner. In the films' last twenty minutes, the brown makeup doesn't reappear. Instead Burton just wears more mascara than Turner. Things were already falling apart a bit at Fox and mogul Darryl F. Zanuck hadn't even left for Europe yet.

The earthquake/flood/fire sequence is worth waiting for in spite of all of this. The Special Effects by Ray Kellogg were worth the Oscar nomination. To have seen the sequence in Cinerama must have been an experience.
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Much worse than the 1939 original
HotToastyRag21 July 2017
I was halfway through this movie before realizing I'd seen it before. Only, I remembered it filmed in black and white, with Myrna Loy as the star, instead of Lana Turner in Technicolor. The Rains of Ranchipur is a remake of the 1939 disaster drama The Rains Came. In both movies, a married hussy seduces an Indian doctor while living in Ranchipur. Her attentions become a blot on his impeccable reputation, and she has nothing more than her own interests at heart.

At first, I thought the remake would be an improvement. Myrna Loy was never known for her seductive prowess, but that type of behavior was second nature to Lana Turner, so I thought the steamy scenes would be steamier. Also, Tyrone Power played the Indian doctor in the original, rather than an ethnically appropriate actor, so I hoped the remake would make a better casting choice. No and no. Even though Myrna isn't the sexiest actress out there, her chemistry with Tyrone was infinitely more sizzling than Lana's was with Richard Burton. Wait, Richard Burton played the Indian doctor? I'm sorry to have to tell you that yes, he did, and with nothing more than a plain turban wrapped around his head as indication that he's racially different than his love interest. The two stars, who are very capable of creating sexual tension on the screen, must have hated each other during the filming. The chemistry was nonexistent.

I'll try not to spoil anything, but this plot point is in the title: a monsoon rains down on Ranchipur. Believe it or not, the big disaster scene is scarier, more effective, and had better special effects in 1939 than in 1955! The costumes were also quite elegant and regal in the original version. Myrna was dressed in beautiful ball gowns, and Tyrone had resplendent outfits. Richard Burton was very plainly clad, and Lana Turner's dresses actually made her look like she had a bad figure.

All in all, the remake was a big disappointment. Watch The Rains Came instead. It's dramatic, sexy, and exciting—I don't know how the monsoon scene was filmed in 1939!
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Lana Turner Finds Richard Burton and the Rains
JLRMovieReviews14 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Lana Turner and husband Michael Rennie love to travel, especially when it's her idea. It seems their marriage was one of convenience from the beginning, and when there's conflict, they do what she wants. Case in point, their latest trip to Ranchipur. They go to see the sights, but they arrive in Ranchipur during the rainy season. But, the rains are not the problem. Not yet, anyway. Richard Burton is an Indian doctor, of whom Lana instantly takes a liking to and vice versa. But his mother obviously does not approve. There's a subplot of an old friend of Lana's, Fred MacMurray, who just happens to be there, hiding from life. He has a love interest in Joan Caulfield. Their likable personalities make them a well-suited couple and supplies the movie with some much needed fresh air, as the others seem a little bogged down in talking too much. There's love, duty, adventure and mistakes abound. The film gets better, once the rains come, as the characters relate to each other in a very realistic and honest way, and we are brought to the inevitable conclusion, which at least does make you empathize more for its lead characters. All in all, this is one of Lana's better films in her later years, besides her melodramas. Discover The Rains of Ranchipur, the remake (which is far better than the original with Mryna Loy and Tyrone Power!!) and you'll be blown away!
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India is ravaged by flood and famine, while Lana feels slighted in matters of the heart
moonspinner554 December 2016
This 1955 20th Century-Fox remake of their 1939 melodrama "The Rains Came" is possibly even more corny and ridiculous. While touring India, the unhappily-married wife of an English Lord falls in love with a Hindu physician; after the city of Ranchipur is nearly destroyed by an earthquake and flood, the woman falls ill, forcing the doctor to make a choice between saving the lives of his people or rushing to his lover's bedside. Film garnered an Academy Award nomination for its special effects (which are ultimately disappointing, with sped-up action causing the running natives to look like they've been dropped in from a silent movie), yet the screenplay is the cataclysm, with a hopelessly soapy story more wet than the rising waters. Lana Turner does her usual thing (she relies on the searching-eyed hysteria she normally falls back on), but Fred MacMurray is rather amusing as a hard-drinking ex-paramour. As the Hindu doctor, Richard Burton tries to hide his casting embarrassment underneath his turban, but perhaps it was on too tight--his pain is evident. *1/2 from ****
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Lana at her best
tday-15 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Lana Turner fumed that MGM made her year's salary with just one loan out to Fox for this film. It stands as the last flowering of the studio system at its peak. Sets,costumes,special effects. Although the India sequences were done by doubles,it still conveyed the sense of a foreign country. Darryl Zanuck liked his features on the back lot so he could keep eye on them and watch the costs. Apparently,this lesson was lost on Cleopatra. Anyway,the photography is great,the cast capable,the special effects very good. One complaint is that Joan Caulfield is a little mature to be playing lovestruck young girl. She was around Lana's age,but,hey,she was married to the producer. Lana used her costume designer from Mgm,Helen Rose,for her Lady Edwina clothes. Very Nice. Did anyone notice Lana's character seemed to be based on Barbara Hutton? The jaded rich woman eternally seeking love,buying and discarding men. Obviously,she bought Michael Rennie for his title. He's disgusted,I suppose,but not above being bought. The 50's mores had a turnabout for Lana's character that satisfied the censors. (in the original,Lady Edwina dies of fever.)Eugenie Leontovitch makes a compelling Majarani. Richard Burton is appropriately wooden as the Indian Doctor Lana fools around with. Fred MacMurrary is capable as the alcoholic doc. The wicked woman renouncing her past apparently was a popular out for the movies. Susan Hayward used it in Demitrious and the Gladiators,.
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Unnatural disaster
jarrodmcdonald-124 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Last night I came across a disc I had called 'Natural Disasters.' One film was THE RAINS CAME, and another one was THE RAINS OF RANCHIPUR.

As I watched these films, I read user reviews on the IMDb and various message board comments about both the original, starring Tyrone Power, Myrna Loy and George Brent, plus the remake with Richard Burton, Lana Turner and Fred MacMurray. The Power version currently has an overall user rating of 7.0, whereas the Burton version has a 5.9. I disagree with those scores. I personally rated the Power showcase a 6, and the Burton effort a 9. In the following paragraphs, I will explain my reasons.

First, it is more than the casting, though the casting and quality of acting does matter quite a bit. I have never been a fan of Tyrone Power's acting, and while I don't entirely dislike his work, it certainly pales by comparison with the level of excellence Richard Burton brings to the screen in any role. Probably a real Indian actor should have been cast, and in my view, this property is ripe for another remake so they can get that part right. In the 1955 offering, which is in Technicolor, we see that Burton is more like a Welshman with a tan-- almost implying the character is a half-breed, not a full-blooded Indian. If Fox was going to 'go there' with the interracial storyline more than in the first production, they couldn't make him too dark, I suppose.

Continuing with the acting, I think Lana Turner is much better (though slightly miscast) as Lady Edwina. Why do I say this? Well, Myrna Loy definitely comes across as a lady, and Lana does seem by comparison to have the morals of gutter trash in this story-- but Lana oozes a lot more passion. We get the feeling she is rather desperate for real and lasting love, believing Dr. Safti can give it to her. Myrna just seems too put together emotionally and a little too brittle to be affected this way. Also, when the conflicts come to the surface between Edwina and the Maharani, we can see the Indian woman's points more clearly in the remake that maybe Edwina is poison for Dr. Softi.

Also, I tend to like the secondary love story performers better in the remake. Fred MacMurray does a convincing job as a self-loathing drunk, and when he reaches redemption later in the story, his tenderness towards Joan Caulfield seems a lot more realistic. Like they are equals despite the age difference. I felt like MacMurray was probably tapping into his own redeeming relationship with his younger wife June Haver when he played those scenes. In the other picture, George Brent just comes across smarmy and he still treats Brenda Joyce like a kid at the end, who can't get over her schoolgirl crush on him-- not at all signifying any type of equality or character growth.

As for the Maharani, I love Madame Ouspenskaya in the original despite her obvious Russian ethnicity. She seems very authoritative during the flood sequence. But Eugenie Leontovich is better I think in the remake. Leontovich is not afraid to tap into the more shrewish aspects of the character and fight Edwina no matter how ruthlessly. Ironically, I think Leontovich seems to be channeling Ouspenskaya's shrew in DODSWORTH.

Now that I've addressed casting and performances, I want to talk about dialogue and special effects. The dialogue in the original is a little too stiff. A lot of it seems interchangeable, like it doesn't matter who is speaking it, because it is all coming from a third-person screen writing point of view. But in the remake the dialogue is much more personalized. The lines the characters utter seem more idiosyncratic and less archetypical.

Meanwhile, the use of Cinemascope helps aid the special effects extravaganza in the remake in ways that make the action in the first one seem cropped or chopped off. I do agree that the splitting of the earth and the bursting of the dam in the first film were done very well and deserved at least an Oscar nomination (not a win over GONE WITH THE WIND's burning of Atlanta sequence). But the collapse of the bridge is better in the remake, because even though they may be using models in some shots, we see people losing their lives and the danger is much more apparent.

There are many other things I could cite as examples regarding why I feel the second film is better than the original. But I will end for now with a comment about the overall sweeping nature of the film. The remake seems more epic to me, and much more ambiguous. When Lana rides off with Michael Rennie at the end, we know that this is not a real happy ending. She will wind up like Vivien Leigh in THE ROMAN SPRING OF MRS. STONE. There will be other men behind her husband's back, young gigolos and hangers on that she will spoil to keep her company. She will always love Dr. Softi but continue to be punished for her immoral ways by being stuck in a loveless marriage with Rennie and forever denied her true Indian soul mate.

As they drive off, and the words 'The End' flash over the screen, you know that it truly is the end of her happiness. MacMurray and Caulfield have the happy ending here, but not any of the other main characters. And back inside the palace, the Maharani, who is a twisted psychological mess of feminine success, takes comfort in having driven the so-called lady back to the gutter. It's a drama, a tragedy of epic proportions-- a wholly unnatural disaster.
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Not good, not bad!
JohnHowardReid23 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Copyright 1955 by 20th Century-Fox Film Corp. New York opening at the Roxy: 15 December 1955. U.S. release: December 1955. U.K. release: February 1956. Australian release: 16 February 1956. Sydney opening at the Regent. 9,360 feet. 104 minutes.

SYNOPSIS: Lord Alan Esketh (Michael Rennie) and his American wife (Lana Turner) come to Ranchipur to buy an Arabian horse from the Maharani.

NOTES: Although Fox released publicity headed "India Bows in CinemaScope", 2nd unit locations were filmed in Lahore, Pakistan. The palace gardens were photographed in the remote Kingdom of Swat. Using doubles to impersonate the film's principals, photographer Charles G. Clarke shot over 10,000 feet of background footage. This movie is actually a re-make of Bromfield's 1937 novel "The Rains Came" which was filmed under that title in 1939. This 1955 version was nominated for an Academy Award for Special Effects, losing to "The Bridges at Toko- Ri". Reported negative cost: $4.8 million. Initial domestic rental gross: approx. $4.3 million. This shortfall was more than made up by overseas rentals. Disregarding some exaggerated and purely book-keeping items, I think it fair to estimate the studio made at least a $2 million dollar profit on this film.

COMMENT: Although it suffers in all departments by comparison with the previous movie version, including the much-vaunted climactic special effects (some of which have obviously been boldly lifted from 1939), this steamy melodrama still offers a fair amount of entertainment, thanks both to lavish production values and its stellar cast. Negulesco has even directed some sequences with a fair amount of style.

Merle Miller has obviously tried to avoid duplicating any of "The Rains Came" script. It is almost a different film. Unfortunately his script is wordy and dialogue-bound and he has obviously fallen in love with his own words. Every scene is over-written and constructed like a TV play. Negulesco's bland direction does not help, but the players oddly enough often overcome the unbelievable nature of the characters and the often tedious wordiness of the dialogue. Burton makes a late entrance but is more convincing than Power WAS, while Joan Caulfield does rather charmingly by this version's smaller role for Fern. Fred MacMurray also does yeoman service (despite a ridiculous off-camera plot turnaround at the climax). Miss Turner's obvious dramatic inadequacies are something of a liability, though her (doubtless unintentional) overblown, faded blonde presence is admirably suited to the revamped role. Eugenie Leontovich in a rare film appearance does a Maria Ouspenskaya impersonation, while as Mrs Smiley, Madge Kennedy attempts somewhat less successfully Jane Darwell.

The climax is not as impressive as "The Rains Came" with some material obviously printed up from that film inter-cut with new but rather obvious effects. Technically, this film does not over- impress. There's a bit of 2nd unit location material, but even this is dull. The sets don't hold a patch on the old film and Turner's fans will be upset by their idol's frowzy look and somewhat unflattering costumes. Michael Rennie is surprisingly wet, the film editing lacks sharpness and pace, and the photography is inhibited by the demands of early CinemaScope. Negulesco has not taken advantage of the wide screen to any great extent. All told, though, the film is not as tedious or time and talent wasting as MY memory led ME to believe.
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A Man-eating Tiger Chews Her Prey
dglink5 September 2016
Manicured and coiffed for battle, man-eater Lana Turner arrives in Ranchipur and spots her prey in the guise of a turbaned bottle-tanned Richard Burton. Turner as the notorious Lady Edwina Esketh takes no prisoners and leaves a trail of broken men wherever she hunts. The noble Dr. Safti played by Burton seems too intelligent to succumb to the obvious wiles of La Turner, but surrender he does. Although both Turner and Burton are warned against the affair by the local Maharani, Eugenie Leontovich, Turner feels that Burton needs instruction in matters of the heart, and love or hormones conquer all. The turgid melodrama, "The Rains of Ranchipur," is played out against the color of a provincial Indian city, where the rain beats incessantly, and the earth occasionally moves. Meanwhile, an alcoholic Fred MacMurray and an irritating ingenue, Joan Caulfield, go through the motions of a secondary, but unconvincing love coupling. A stoic Michael Rennie as the patient Lord Esketh stands by and tolerates his wife's promiscuous behavior; he traded a title for her money in their loveless marriage of convenience.

Fans of Lana Turner will not be disappointed. The Grande Dame plays her part with gusto; hair, makeup, and nails immaculate, except during the requisite dramatic scenes, when she either pursues her man into a raging downpour or lays pale and wan, but definitely gorgeous on a sick bed. Richard Burton is too good an actor to be less than professional, although his role as an Indian doctor raised from the untouchable class is a stretch of credibility; Burton's dark make-up seems to lighten as the romance blooms, perhaps to soften any backlash from foes of inter-racial dating. Although filmed in Pakistan, evidently few local thespians were available, because, besides Burton, casting the Russian actress Leontovich as a Maharani is another amusing stretch. Unfortunately, the usually dependable MacMurray seems to be sleepwalking and never convinces as the drunk that other characters seem to think he is. Perhaps working with Caulfield kept him sober; her character, Fern Simon, is annoying at best and as grating as fingernails on a blackboard at worst.

Based on a 1937 novel by Louis Bromfield, The Rains Came, which was previously filmed in 1939 with Tyrone Power and Myrna Loy, "The Rains of Ranchipur" shows signs of a thick 500-page novel having been condensed into a 104-minute film. The motivation for the secondary MacMurray-Caulfield romance is particularly sketchy, and scenes at times jump without explanatory bridges. However, the climactic earthquake and floods are quite good for a 1955 film, and the special effects received a well deserved Oscar nomination that year. Directed by Jean Negulesco, "The Rains of Ranchipur" is a trashy soap opera that may elicit a few giggles from time to time and will definitely entertain those who enjoy 1950's melodrama. However, for fans of Lana Turner, the film is a must; Turner bites into a showy role and chews the scenery with the best. The old adage that "they don't make movies like this anymore" applies here; some may consider that a blessing, while others will see it as a loss.
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Rains of Ranchipur A Storm Warning **1/2
edwagreen24 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Lana Turner is at it again; this time as still another selfish woman, who while married to Michael Rennie in this 1955 film, throws men off by merely writing out a check to them.

In a loveless marriage to Rennie, she goes with him to Ranchipur for him to buy a stallion. There she meets old flame Fred MacMurray, an alcoholic engineer, but the love of her life appears-an Indian doctor played by Richard Burton.

Easily, the best part of the picture was the earthquake scenes. They rivaled, if not better than those of the film "San Francisco." (1936)

The film becomes one of devotion and duty and hopefully this will set the Turner character straight. Nothing as an emergency to make you realize life's values and commitments.
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A well-done drama with noted actors
gelalema1 August 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The Rains of Ranchipur is a well-acted, well-cast drama which is especially notable because of the scenes of the flooding and the desolation that followed. Richard Burton is excellent as always, pacing the film and enhancing it with his superb command of the English language. Supporting him ably are Eugenie Leontovich as the Maharani, with strong performances by Fred McMurry, the beautiful Ava Gardner and the dignified Michael Rennie. The fact that the main characters are supposed to be based on actual, world-famous members of the British nobility makes the story even more interesting. The central theme, that of Edwinna and her headlong pursuit of fleeting love for selfish reasons, does not overpower the side plot wherein the redemption of Fred McMurray's character is achieved because of the improbable love of a young girl and his desire to become the man he sees reflected in her eyes. These human dramas play out against the background of a horrendous natural disaster, untold misery and catastrophic loss of life. I watch this film every time I see it on television, and I never tire of it.
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