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Lady of the Tropics (1939)

Passed | | Drama, Romance | 11 August 1939 (USA)
Playboy Bill Carey woos a half-caste beauty in French Indochina, but her second-class legal status makes a formidable barrier.

Directors:

Jack Conway, Leslie Fenton (uncredited)

Writer:

Ben Hecht (screen play)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Robert Taylor ... Bill Carey
Hedy Lamarr ... Manon DeVargnes
Joseph Schildkraut ... Pierre Delaroch
Gloria Franklin ... Nina
Ernest Cossart ... Father Antoine
Mary Taylor ... Dolly Harrison
Charles Trowbridge ... Alfred Z. Harrison
Frederick Worlock ... Colonel Demassey
Paul Porcasi ... Lamartine
Marguerita Padula Marguerita Padula ... Madame Kya (as Margaret Padula)
Cecil Cunningham ... Countess Berichi
Natalie Moorhead ... Mrs. Hazlitt
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Storyline

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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The picture you've been waiting for! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

11 August 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Flor del trópico See more »

Filming Locations:

Cambodia See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$913,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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 distance Bill and Manon traveled by boat from Saigon to Angkor Wat in Cambodia was approximately 300 miles. See more »

Quotes

Bill Carey: Go on! You belong with them. Go back to your barefoot sisters with their black teeth!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Mouth 2 (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

The Wedding March
(1843) (uncredited)
from "A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.61"
Written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Played at the wedding dinner
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Lamarr as tragic beauty Manon
1 August 2006 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Certainly two of the most beautiful stars in films were Hedy Lamarr and Robert Taylor, and here they are together in "Lady of the Tropics," a 1939 film directed by Jack Conway. It's the story of a half-caste named Manon who, as a second class citizen, can't get a passport to leave Saigon. Taylor is a playboy who falls for her; the two marry, incurring the wrath of Manon's sometime boyfriend Delaroch (Joseph Schildkraut).

Made under the Hays code, the ending of the film is obvious and inevitable; also, it closely follows the story of Manon Lescaut, told twice in opera, once by Puccini and once by Massenet. There's a scene from the Puccini version in the film.

The film is beautifully photographed. Lamarr has a lovely, tender quality as Manon, and she is stunning in her Adrian gowns and hats. Taylor has a role similar to his Alfred in Camille, and he does it well, resplendent in his white suit and brilliant smile. One of the posts suggested Francis Lederer in the role. Lederer was a handsome and wonderful actor, very romantic, and would have brought a more exotic persona to the part. I admit, however, to liking the rugged, earthy, American quality Taylor brings, as the character should be truly out of his element in Saigon. This makes Manon's inability to get a passport all the sadder and more desperate.

Joseph Schildkraut was a master at portraying the kind of evil manipulator he did as Laroch, so while his Oriental makeup is a little disconcerting, his performance isn't.

A lovely film. Too bad about the code.


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