6.7/10
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23 user 17 critic

Mandalay (1934)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 10 February 1934 (USA)
Abandoned by her lover, a woman becomes the main "hostess" in a decadent nightclub, but tries to put her past behind her on a steamer to Mandalay.

Director:

Michael Curtiz

Writers:

Paul Hervey Fox (story) (as Paul Hervy Fox), Austin Parker (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Kay Francis ... Tanya Borodoff / Spot White / Marjorie Lang
Ricardo Cortez ... Tony Evans
Warner Oland ... Nick
Lyle Talbot ... Dr. Gregory Burton
Ruth Donnelly ... Mrs. George Peters
Lucien Littlefield ... Mr. George Peters
Reginald Owen ... Col. Thomas Dawson - Police Commissioner
Etienne Girardot ... Mr. Abernathie
David Torrence ... Capt. McAndrews of the Sirohi
Rafaela Ottiano ... Madame Lacalles
Halliwell Hobbes ... Col. Dawson Ames
Bodil Rosing ... Mrs. Kleinschmidt
Herman Bing ... Prof. Kleinschmidt
Shirley Temple ... Betty Shaw (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

Russian refugee Tanya Borisoff is suddenly abandoned penniless in Rangoon, Burma, by her lover, Tony Evans, who accepted a gunrunning deal from Nick, the owner of an amoral nightclub. Nick made the deal hoping to get Tanya as his main "hostess," which Tanya accepts after an initial refusal, just to make the best of a bad situation. She becomes notorious using the name "Spot White," but her affairs cause the commissioner of police to deport her. She reminds the commissioner of a previous tryst he had with her and extorts 10,000 rupees from him with which to make a new life. She uses a new name, Marjorie Lang, going to Mandalay, Burma, via the Irrawadi River by steamer, where she meets alcoholic Dr. Gregory Burton, who is on his way to help in an area plagued with a deadly contagious fever. As they slowly fall in love, she learns he's doing that to make amends for once operating on a patient while drunk, causing his death. She decides to go with him so they can put their pasts behind ... Written by Arthur Hausner <genart@volcano.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 February 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Capricho Branco See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The "black fever" that Dr. Burton is on his way beyond Mandalay to treat is medically known as visceral leishmaniasis. It is the second most prevalent disease caused by parasitic protozoa, and it is spread by sand flies - much as malaria (the most prevalent) is spread by mosquitoes. In the pre-antibiotic era of this film, Burton's trip would have been most dangerous indeed. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Tony Evans: You've got me in a tough spot, Nick.
Nick: No. You got yourself in a tough spot. You tried to get along without me and you do what you call, "loose your shirt." It isn't my fault.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits are first shown over a lavish building background (temple ?). We then see the actors' names shown with their photos. See more »

Connections

Featured in Complicated Women (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

The Infantry, the Infantry
(uncredited)
Adapted from "The Son of a Gambolier"
Traditional
Sung by Lyle Talbot and others
See more »

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User Reviews

 
pre-code meller of some historical interest
13 November 2005 | by goblinhairedguySee all my reviews

"Mandalay" starts off as if it's going to be a real pre-code classic along the lines of "Safe in Hell" or "Red Dust". Kay Francis is abandoned by her gunrunning lover in Rangoon, and is doomed to become a courtesan (with the great moniker "Spot White") in Warner Oland's high class cabaret/brothel. Unfortunately, once our heroine escapes these confines and hits the river for Mandalay, the film becomes a turgid melodrama.

Michael Curtiz's baroque direction keeps matters visually interesting, but he can't breathe any life into the dismal characters. Ms Francis's lisp is more prominent than usual and Lyle Talbot shows why he deserved a future in Ed Wood extravaganzas. Plus, they both should have impaled the studio hairdresser. Although Oland plays an Oriental as usual, he's not saddled with the Charlie Chan accent this time, and shows plenty of mettle. Ricardo Cortez comes off the best with much spontaneity as an opportunistic rogue.

Pre-code buffs will definitely want to hang around for the conclusion, wherein the perpetrator of an insidious criminal deed blatantly walks off into the sunset scot-free! The short running time and jumps in the narrative make one wonder how much of the back-story was left on the cutting-room floor.


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