After World War II Larry learns that his flying buddy Mike will only live a short time despite the efforts of the doctors. He takes on a profitable flying job for profiteers Maris to finance a good time for his buddy. As the plane takes off he shoves Maris' secretary Susan on board. When Mike falls for her, Larry tells her to play along for Mike's sake. She, of course, falls for Larry.Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake co-starred for Paramount in three classic films, This Gun For Hire, The Glass Key, and The Blue Dahlia. Their fourth and final film was Saigon and it doesn't rate in the category of the other three.
Saigon has Ladd as a recently discharged Army Air Corps pilot who has not headed back to the USA, but hung around the Orient watching out for a buddy Douglas Dick who has had multiple surgeries due to head wounds. Dick has a platinum cranium courtesy of the war and the Army Medical Corps, but he's dying, he has maybe a month or two left.
Ladd and another of his crew Wally Cassell are hanging around to make Dick's life or what's left of it, happy. For that reason they accept a flying job to Saigon, no questions asked from Morris Carnovsky who is carrying a lot of cash from shady wartime dealings and Veronica Lake. They're getting $10,000.00 for the flight.
Lake and the cash get away all right, but Carnovsky is detained by the police who are firing at Ladd's plane as it is taking off. With them thinking Carnovsky is dead, the four are at liberty. Dick falls hard for the sexy Lake and Ladd wants to keep her around to make him happy in his last days. What a pal.
All these elements come together in a bloody climax that I will not reveal. The idea of a story about a dying soldier was handled far better the following year by Warner Brothers in The Hasty Heart.
This was also the second Alan Ladd film with a far east city title, the other being Calcutta from the year before. Although this film is better than Calcutta, it's still cut from the same routine action/adventure mold that Calcutta was taken from. And like Calcutta you would never know the problems that were happening in French IndoChina as the Viet Minh were starting their guerrilla war for independence against the French Colonial occupying power. Said power here is represented by Luther Adler who as always is giving a great performance.
Veronica Lake left Paramount the following year and Alan Ladd would follow a few years after that. Too bad their screen partnership ended on a mediocre note.
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