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 <email@example.com>
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 »
The Wedding March
from "A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61"
Written by Felix Mendelssohn
Played at the wedding dinner See more »
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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