India, 1938. Dissolute ex-pat Brit George Brent is amused when old flame Myrna Loy, now married to an aging aristocrat, arrives, but is less amused when he sees her set her sights on Indian doctor Tyrone Power (all done up in dark make-up). Power is so decent that Brent doesn’t want him corrupted. But it soon turns out that Loy really loves Power, as she demonstrates by helping selflessly after the city is savaged by torrential rains, flooding and an earthquake.
The politics are ve…y much of another era, and the film is full of colonial twaddle, but the dialogue has a fair bit of zing, and the special effects are nothing short of spectacular, even by current standards. The love story isn’t terribly interesting, but Brent, though billed third, has more screen time than the purported leads, and his reformed cynicism helps make the film as entertaining as it is.
The usual Studio Classics deal is operative here: the original mono and a new 2.0 mix. The latter has the usual issue with surround dialogue, but it isn’t too severe. The sound is generally very clear, but there are scenes with noticeable background hiss and static.
The picture starts off looking just about perfect, but later on there are some very grainy moments. There are also a couple of instances where the picture fluctuates as if the film were wavering in the projector. On the other hand, there is no visible edge enhancement, the black-and-white tones are very fine, and the image is as sharp as one could wish.
The commentary track is handled by film historians Anthony Slide and Robert Birchard, who do a fine job, and branch out from strictly film history to touch on the historico-political contexts as well. There’s also a still gallery and trailers for this and other Studio Classics. The menu is basic.
Plenty of cheesy aspects, but also very fun, and the destruction is spectacular.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Still Gallery