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During the 1950s an American journalist disappears in China. His wife, Jane Hoyt, arrives in Honk Kong, determined to find him. There are rumors that Louis Hoyt might be held by the Communist Chinese as spy. Jane Hoyt asks shady shipping magnate Hank Lee for his help but Hank tries to dissuade her from venturing into Red China. Desperate, Jane asks another local, Fernand Rocha, for his help and pays him money. When dishonest and sleazy charlatan Rocha spends her money and forcibly confines her Hank Lee finally takes pity on her and decides to go searching for her husband himself. Illegally entering Red China Hank finds plenty of trouble. Written by
Soldier of Fortune is a crowd-pleasing potboiler from the days when Technicolor was glorious (okay, it was shot in De Luxe, but the same principle applies) and CinemaScope really was CINEMA-Scope. There's not much action (the final rescue is laughably easy), but Ernest K. Gann's script is snappy fun, Clark Gable and Susan Hayward play well off each other, Michael Rennie and the colourful supporting cast more than earn their pay, Hong Kong probably never looked better on screen and there's a pleasingly lush romantic score from Hugo Friedhofer. Curious to see director Edward Dmytryk, the one member of the Hollywood Ten to recant (after being appalled at the Party's treatment of his family while he was in prison), turning in such an anti-Communist oater, but he handles it with flair. A deathless classic? Hell, no but grand entertainment.
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