While the Nazi regime subjugates European Nations, in the Belgian Congo, Doctor Rachel Cade tries to cure those troubled people. Colonel Derode falls in love with her, but a young American injured pilot upsets his plans.
In 1939, earnest missionary nurse Rachel Cade travels to the Belgian Congo but she no sooner arrives than Dr. Bikel, who runs the local hospital where she is to work, dies of heart failure. She also soon learns that the hospital has been a failure and has yet to treat a single patient. Slowly, Rachel gains the trust of the villagers, not only providing medical care, but preaching the gospel. The local government official, middle-aged Colonel Henri Derode, doesn't quite hit it off with Rachel at first, but soon begins to develop deep affections for her. The sexually repressed Rachel however has fallen madly in love with the dashing Captain Paul Winton, a American serving in the R.A.F., who is shot down and is also a medical doctor. Her moralizing comes back to haunt her when she learns after his departure that she is pregnant.Written by
painful stereotypes, preposterous story lines, still worth watching
Painfully dated, unrealistic story of a nun/nurse, Rachel Cade, who goes to the Belgian Congo to bring health care and Christian salvation to an African village. The African representations are stereotypical and, at times, painful, especially if you have ever been to sub-Sahara Africa. A preachy film with sexualized, seducing, tribal Africans and a righteous and sexually conflicted white savior nurse trying to bring the "true" religion to the primitives. The script is laughable at times, especially the assertions of how superior Christianity - specifically, Catholicism - is to the local beliefs. And the music is, at times, laugh out loud funny, unintentionally - like when Paul Wilton (Roger Moore) says, "I'm a doctor."
Other reviewers have called the character of Rachel Cade "frigid." That word actually doesn't fit at all. Poor Angie looks absolutely lovely on the camera as she sweats and even writhes at one point over the sexual desires her character is supposedly experiencing - but the preposterous situation make you want to laugh rather than feel sympathy.
Altogether, it actually makes the film worth watching, to see just how distorted Europeans (and USA movie audiences) have seen Africans. Another thing that makes the film worthwhile to watch is a young Scatman Crothers, and it's always great to see Woody Strode on the screen, even in a substandard film. And Roger Moore pulls off the American accent, through a less nasally voice would have been nice.
The movie is produced by Henry Blanke, also responsible for the far less offensive, less preachy, much more nuanced and realistic film, THE NUN'S STORY. Unlike that film, this seems mostly filmed on a soundstage.
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