6.7/10
932
25 user 9 critic

Malaya (1949)

Newspaperman Royer convinces government officials of a plan to obtain rubber by stealing it out from under the Japanese. Carnahan is let out of prison to help.

Director:

Richard Thorpe

Writers:

Frank Fenton (screenplay), Manchester Boddy (story)
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Airs Sat. Sep. 29, 6:00 AM on TCM

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Spencer Tracy ... Carnahan
James Stewart ... John Royer
Valentina Cortese ... Luana (as Valentina Cortesa)
Sydney Greenstreet ... The Dutchman
John Hodiak ... Kellar
Lionel Barrymore ... John Manchester
Gilbert Roland ... Romano
Roland Winters ... Bruno Gruber
Richard Loo ... Colonel Genichi Tomura
Ian MacDonald ... Carlos Tassuma
Tom Helmore ... Matisson
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lester Matthews ... Matisson (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

After living abroad for several years, journalist John Royer returns to the United States just after the U.S. enters World War II. His boast that he could easily smuggle rubber, a key wartime natural resource, out of Malaya has him tasked with doing just that. He manages to get someone from his past, Carnaghan, sprung from Alactraz and together they head off to South East Asia posing as Irishmen. Once there, Carnaghan lines up some of his old cronies and with Royer and a few plantation owners plans to smuggle the rubber out from under the Japanese army's watchful eye. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

rubber | ocean | taxi | office | newspaper | See All (105) »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 April 1950 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Operation Malaya See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,396,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,959,000, 31 December 1949

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,087,000, 31 December 1949
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

This was the first time James Stewart worked with Spencer Tracy since his debut feature film, Murder Man, in 1935 in which he had a minor role, as Shorty, and had sixth billing. See more »

Goofs

Spencer Tracy says to Luana that the Earth is moving toward the Sun at the rate of a half an inch a century. In fact, the Earth is in a stable orbit that over an astronomical time scale will in fact move away from the Sun. As the Sun loses mass fusing hydrogen into helium, the Earth's orbit will increase by a minuscule amount; approximately 150,000 kilometers over approximately the next 5 to 6 billion years. See more »

Quotes

Carnaghan: I'm a big broth of a man, buddy, just leave it all to me.
See more »

Connections

Edited from They Were Expendable (1945) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A middling movie a little late in the game...fun, but not intense
24 November 2013 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

Malaya (1949)

It would be nice to love this movie—with a strong theme of wartime ingenuity and bravery, and with three stellar actors—but by the end I was thinking everyone involved was just going through the motions. That's probably enough in many ways with people this naturally gifted on screen, and the movie is enjoyable, no question. With all the borrowings or references to earlier classics (Sydney Greenstreet even has a big bird as a pet, as in "Casablanca"), it makes for a fun time.

The premise starts with some very compact storytelling—a somewhat disreputable man (James Stewart) is overheard saying he could smuggle rubber out of British Malaya (now Malaysia). It's WWII and the Army likes the idea enough to send him off with an ex-con (Spencer Tracy) who knows the area well. (This is all arranged with the help of Lionel Barrymore in a small role.)

Then the adventure begins as they penetrate with surprising ease the rubber plantations and arrange with the generally friendly locals and ex-pats to get their hidden stockpiles. The Japanese do eventually catch on and there is fun there, but not before a couple of torch songs and some humorous excess as usual from the likable Greenstreet.

Frankly, things never get exciting or even suspenseful, though interesting all along. One huge problem (for me) was a complete lack of details. The two men would say, okay, let's go get this rubber here, and they meet the plantation owner and there is some talk and then suddenly they are going down the river with some little barges. The Japanese have no suspicions, and the local smugglers are all these cheerful Resistance Fighter types who really like to help a lot.

It would be fun to know if a young viewer finds this exotic and fun or laughable. It's somewhere between in all. And what honestly holds it together for anyone who likes the actors is just watching familiar faces in new roles. That is one of the endless interests of the movies.

See it? Sure, if you already like older films or WWII films. It's not bad. The director Richard Thorpe is quite unknown these days, but the cinematographer is a standard bearer of he period, George Folsey, and that makes every scenes look terrific. Yeah, it's not at all bad. But it ain't great, either.


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