24 user 6 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.


Jack Conway, Leslie Fenton (uncredited)


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




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


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


The picture you've been waiting for! See more »


Drama | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The American Film Institute Catalog of Feature Films 1931-1940 tells us that this was Hedy Lamarr's last film under her MGM contract; actually, it was her first. AFI also informs us that Mary Taylor was signed to a long term MGM contract as a result of her work in this picture; actually, she would be seen in a total of only four feature films in her entire career, and only one more of them, Blossoms in the Dust (1941) would be made at MGM. See more »


Bill Carey: Let's get going.
Dolly Harrison: Oh, dear, more site seeing.
Bill Carey: Well, Baedeker here calls Saigon the Paris of the Indo-China.
Dolly Harrison: Well, everyone of these places is always the Paris of something or other.
See more »


Referenced in Hollywood Mouth 2 (2014) See more »


The Wedding March
(1843) (uncredited)
from "A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61"
Written by Felix Mendelssohn
Played at the wedding dinner
See more »

User Reviews

Vastly Underrated
10 December 2018 | by umbraco-42719See all my reviews

Truly I don't understand the poor reviews of this film.

It's a melodramatic romance in the vein of "Camille" or "Waterloo Bridge." (Both of which also starred Robert Taylor). It is certainly no worse than those, and the overall theme is not that much different.

Hedy Lamarr's role here is very subtly played. She lies and deceives because she doesn't want anyone to be hurt. That is key to understanding her character. Placed in an impossible situation, Manon tries her best to rise above it the only way she knows how. Lamarr captures this struggle magnificently. It's written on her face in so many scenes.

Sometimes I've heard she is "wooden" in this role. Are you kidding? In her scenes with evil Delaroch, she masks her agony with a Mona Lisa smile, trying to reveal nothing. That is acting, folks. Sorry you don't recognize it. Perhaps it is because so many stars of the era regularly chewed the scenery, and in comparison, Lamarr's portrayal is too realistic. It's the only thing I can fathom.

As for Robert Taylor, also a favorite of mine...I think he plays the American playboy perfectly. One of my favorite scenes is where he's trying to buy a "hat" for his heiress girlfriend early in the film. He supplies humor in just the right amounts, and his eventual adoration of Manon is well done, hauntingly.

I have seen this movie probably more than any others of hers, and I never get tired of it.

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English | French

Release Date:

11 August 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Flor del trópico See more »

Filming Locations:

Cambodia See more »


Box Office


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

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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