Calcutta Film Details
Overview: Neale and Pedro fly cargo between Chungking and Calcutta. When their buddy Bill is murdered they investigate. Neale meets Bill’s fiancée Virginia and becomes suspicious of a deeper plot while also falling for her charms.
Tagline: Adventure In The Far East ! Battling Buddies Gunning For Trouble !
Review: Here we have Alan Ladd investigating the death of a close friend in Calcutta when India was still part of the British Em-Pah. Assisting him are his close pal, fellow pilot William Bendix. The two men fly cargo and passengers over the hump from India to China. That close friend used to be a pilot as well but he discovered some smuggling was going on and was strangled — in Thugee fashion, with the garrote. The deceased may also have been particeps criminis but it’s not clear. The explanation of this twisted tale, when it comes, comes in a torrent and is a little hard to follow. What’s not hard to follow is two of the most beautiful women of the movies of 1940, the exotic June Duprez and the girlish and vulnerable Gail Russell. Neither gets the treatment they deserve. Duprez, in love with Ladd, is “a good guy,” except when he’s casually boffing her. Russell, miscast as a liar and manipulator, acts and sounds as if she’d recently been snatched out of Santa Monica High School, given a few acting lessons, and thrust before the cameras, which she was. There is a scene at the end, when Ladd confronts Russell with evidence of her guilt in the smuggling scheme. They’ve been more or less attracted to one another and have spent at least one night together. It’s a blanched echo of the similar but far more intensely moving scene at the climax of “The Maltese Falcon.” Alan Ladd is not Humphrey Bogart and Gail Russell is not treacherous. And in “Falcon,” the dialog consists mostly of excerpts from Dashiel Hammet’s novel, while here the screenwriter, Seton I. Miller, and the director, John Farrow, have turned it leaden. Ladd slaps Russell around to get her to talk. It’s unpleasant. I don’t want to make the film sound like a total failure because it’s not. A lot depends on individual taste. The Calcutta in which the tale takes place is Hollywood’s idea of a foreign city. The “white men” wear uniforms or white suits. A few pith helmets are in evidence. We see one — count ’em, one — woman dressed in a sari but there are a plenitude of turbans. The streets are crowded but not full of garbage. The “white people” visit night clubs of a sophistication and decor that would be hard to find in New York City. They wear evening clothes. There are no cockroaches or mosquitoes, though there are one or two mosquito nets. I didn’t see any beaded curtains and missed them terribly. The movie is a bit sluggish. As is usual in these dramas, Ladd visits (or is visited by) one colorful character after another, all of their values ambiguous. One stand-out is the fat lady dressed like Mae West who smokes cigars and evidently runs some kind of whorehouse. It’s Hollywood craftsmanship. Not at its best, but at its most typical for the period. I rather enjoyed it.
Country: United States
Duration: 83 min
Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Also known as: Moord te Calcutta,O dolofonos tis Calcutta,Calcutta,Meurtres à Calcutta,Calcuta,Calcutá,Kostaja saapuu,密輸空路,Kalkutta