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22 user 5 critic

Lady of the Tropics (1939)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 11 August 1939 (USA)
Playboy Bill Carey woos a half-caste beauty in French Indochina, but her second-class legal status makes a formidable barrier.

Directors:

Jack Conway, Leslie Fenton (uncredited)

Writer:

Ben Hecht (screen play)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Robert Taylor ... Bill Carey
Hedy Lamarr ... Manon DeVargnes
Joseph Schildkraut ... Pierre Delaroch
Gloria Franklin ... Nina
Ernest Cossart ... Father Antoine
Mary Taylor ... Dolly Harrison
Charles Trowbridge ... Alfred Z. Harrison
Frederick Worlock ... Colonel Demassey
Paul Porcasi ... Lamartine
Marguerita Padula Marguerita Padula ... Madame Kya (as Margaret Padula)
Cecil Cunningham ... Countess Berichi
Natalie Moorhead ... Mrs. Hazlitt
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Storyline

A party of yachting jet-setters visit French Saigon, where they meet lovely Manon deVargnes, a second-class citizen not allowed to leave the country due to her part-Oriental ancestry. When the others leave, playboy Bill Carey stays behind to woo Manon; but all his efforts to get her out of the country with him run into a brick wall. And Pierre Delaroch, her wealthy former admirer, waits for him to give up... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Hedy Lamarr set the world aflame with her beauty in "Algiers" ! Now you see her in the arms of a dashing Bob Taylor ! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

11 August 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Flor del trópico See more »

Filming Locations:

Cambodia See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$913,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

The distance Bill and Manon traveled by boat from Saigon to Angkor Wat in Cambodia was approximately 300 miles. See more »

Quotes

Pierre Delaroch: The Orient does not believe in changing life quite so much as enjoying it.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Mouth 2 (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Each Time You Say Goodbye (I Die A Little)
(1939)
Music by Phil Ohman
Lyrics Foster Carling
Sung by Gloria Franklin (uncredited) (dubbed by Harriet Cruise (uncredited))
See more »

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User Reviews

 
You Bed Them, You Don't Wed Them
4 April 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

For those who don't realize it the Lady of the Tropics we're referring to is Hedy Lamarr who falls big time for visiting playboy Robert Taylor in Saigon. Of course one look at Hedy Lamarr and his romantic goose is cooked as well. But there's is a forbidden love and sad to say the message in Ben Hecht's screenplay is stick to your own kind.

Lady of the Tropics was shot while Hedy Lamarr was on hiatus from the ill-fated I Take This Woman. Louis B. Mayer nor any of the other movie moguls believed in letting their players sit idly by. So Lady of the Tropics became Lamarr's second film and her only pairing with that other screen beauty Robert Taylor.

Taylor plays a very honorable character here or at least more honorable than most. He's part of a visiting party of tourists off a yacht that lands in Saigon right before World War II starts. As we well know Vietnam was then under that colonial umbrella known as French Indo-China and Saigon was its capital. Among others Taylor is with is his American fiancé Gloria Franklin.

Of course the romantic sparks start the second that Lamarr and Taylor catch sight of each other in that Saigon café. Taylor does an unheard of thing, he breaks it off with Franklin and weds Lamarr post haste.

Sad to say, but implicit is the message that what you do with exotic beauties not 100% Caucasian is bed them don't wed them. But Taylor and Lamarr don't see it that way. As was said by Queen Latifah in the recent Hairspray, they're in for a whole world of stupid.

This was 1939 not 1967 in America. We still had miscegenation laws in most states at the time so the message of sticking to your own kind was in keeping with 1939 mores. This is the exact opposite message the screen would give in 1967 in Guess Who's Coming To Dinner.

Taylor and Lamarr are stunning, no two ways about that. The sets showing tropical Saigon are great and the film did get an Oscar nomination for cinematography. But the story is both melodramatic and thank God, dated.


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