6.7/10
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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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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 (109) »


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

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,087,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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

The PT Boat attack on the cruiser was lifted from the film They Were Expendable (1945) See more »

Goofs

One scene features wild chimpanzees. Chimps are natives of Africa, not Malaya. See more »

Quotes

Carnaghan: A man can't belong to the world, it's too big, and every night it dies.
See more »

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User Reviews

WW II adventure with, er, action heroes James Stewart and Spencer Tracy
5 July 2001 | by frank_olthoffSee all my reviews

(Version reviewed is the 90-minute German-language showing on ARD on July 5, 2001.)

There are two rather unbecoming aspects about this movie, one being its blunt nationalism, the other one its odd casting. Where you would have expected, say, William Holden as the daring journalist and, well, Humphrey Bogart as the cynical hotshot, you get Jimmy and Spence. It's not that they don't act well, but the rôles just don't seem to fit. What a difference with handsome Mexican Gilbert Roland who is chosen perfectly (as Romano).

Journalist Royer (Stewart) gets his rival/friend Carnaghan (Tracy) out of prison with help from official sides (fine thesping by John Hodiak) for the good of the nation, that is, to haul all possible rubber out of British, but Jap-occupied, Malaya for the United States. Of course, the European land-owners give all assistance possible to support the sacred case, including a voluntary beating that Ian MacDonald gets from Tracy. America's raw nationalism was curiously carried right into the German translation: dubious Bruno Gruber (played by "Charlie Chan" Roland Winters) is named Marty Robber (or so) in German dubbing version of 1955, because a badman just couldn't have a German name to German audiences... This should be worth a correction, although the forgery effect is not as high as in the original 1952 dubbing of "Casablanca", that was corrected in a new version as late as in 1968. (Stewart, by the way, is synchronized well by Eckart Dux this time, not by regular Siegmar Schneider.)

Although film's humour is well-measured, it cannot conceal, but rather contributes to, the dare-devil chauvinism, four years after the war ended. Tracy played something of a contrary rôle in "Bad Day at Black Rock", as regards the U.S. relationship to the Japanese.

There's a lot of epigonism of "Casablanca", though not as much as in its immediate successors, in "Malaya". We have Richard Loo's Col. Tomura marching into the bar like Maj. Strasser; Italy's Cortese in the European female part (the story might have done without her, were there not some nice dialogues with Tracy); and the wonderful Sydney Greenstreet, who somewhat resumes his Senor Ferrari rôle (that parrot of his is a blue one, I suppose).

Despite this emulation, Frank Fenton's screenplay has something interesting about it that makes this movie agreeable after all. But it wouldn't have taken the famous leading players, close to miscasts, for something that appears like an MGM "B" production to me. - Worst thing is, I couldn't spot DeForest "Bones" Kelley anywhere around, although he is said to be there.


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