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You know, some films are nice and others tank..... This one definitely tanked at my house.My mother and I watched this late one night thinking that it would be interesting because it was a film starring Richard Burton right when his career was just taking off.WRONG!!!! Not only did this film NOT support his career take off, but should have torpedoed it from the bomb that this film was.Richard Burton stars in this film as an Indian doctor who returns to his "roots" by doctoring the sick and needy.Lana Turner also appears as a wealthy American socialite (very social indeed) married to Michael Rennie who, I am assuming, is of English nobility. They happen to be in India as the guests of the Maharani (female ver of the Maharaja, a large person in Indian society)I really don't need to go into feature about how Lana Turner and Richard Burton's characters receive together, but I can assure you that they do. Michael Rennie warns the Doctor about his wife, basically saying, "Ya know, I have an airhead of a wife who likes to sleep with anything that remotely resembles even a coat rack, but you can still sleep with her and we can all be mates in the end"A several "action" scenes have their cheesy moments. In one scene, Michael Rennie is on a tiger hunt in India when all of a sudden a tiger (an actor wrapped in a tiger rug) flies across the screen and lands on him as he attempts to slay it, thus immobilizing him for a nice part of the movie, giving Turner and Burton their possibility to frolic with every another in some places.Another is when "The Rains" (read: assassin monsoon) come and knock off the dams and bridges and wash out the poorhouse sections of the town. It goes for the same as the earthquake.The dialogue just flat lines throughout the movie. Towards the end, Turner and Burton's white, hot passion for every another cools method down with the support of "The Rains". Turner decides to be shallow when Burton tries to explain why he "couldn't come to her in her hour of need" Basically, it's like watching two elementary school children in a tiny romance when all of a sudden, the woman gets angry at the man for not testing with her on the swing set and decides to break up with him just because the man missed one day of swing set time. Petty romances here, people.The ending was even bad. The audience expects one thing, and just the total opposite happens. I felt that the director or the scriptwriter required some major adjustments to their craft in this movie.However, the film was appropriately titled. The Rains of Ranchipur washed out my evening. I don't wish to be a wet blanket, but I have to give this film a -2 out of 1-10. It was that bad.
King Esketh, a British aristocrat, and his glamorous American wife, Edwina, are touring India and staying in the town of Ranchipur, where they are guests of the local Maharani. (The action is supposed to be set in India, even though we see a prominently displayed Pakistani flag in an early scene). Their marriage is an unhappy one and every despises the other. Edwina despises her husband because she sees him as low and cowardly and because he only married her for her money. (She is an independently wealthy heiress). He despises her because he sees her as cold and heartless; we learn that she has been unfaithful to him with a number of various men. While in Ranchipur Edwina meets and has an affair with a young suntanned Welshman in a turban. Well, now Richard Burton's hero is supposed to be an Indian, Dr Safti, a physician and the adopted son of the Maharani. Today, the concept of a white actor in "brownface" testing an Indian would strike most folks as politically incorrect, but was an agreed practice in the fifties, and at least Burton's performance is a lot less insensitive than that given by Peter Sellers in "The Millionairess" from a several years later. (Sellers was also testing an Indian doctor). Watching the film, I wondered if the test of the Christian name "Edwina" was a veiled reference to Edwina Mountbatten, other independently wealthy heiress, married to a British aristocrat, who visited India and was rumoured to have had an affair with an Indian man, in her situation the politician Jawaharlal Nehru. I understand, however, that "The Rains of Ranchipur" is a makeover of "The Rains Came" from 1939 (which I have never seen), and that the hero had the same name both in this movie and in the 1937 novel on which it was based. As the Mountbattens did not come to India until 1947, the coincidence was presumably unintentional. The Edwina-Safti romance is the mainspring of the plot, but for all Edwina's nice looks she is so obviously spoilt, selfish and promiscuous that it is hard to imagine any man, allow alone one as clever and idealistic as Dr Safti, falling hopelessly in love with her. There is a subplot involving other romance between Tom Ransome, an alcoholic former lover of Edwina and close mate of Safti, and Fern, the daughter of a local missionary, but this arouses tiny interest. The acting is generally undistinguished. Burton, as though embarrassed by having been cast in a role to which he was ill-suited, is horribly stilted and wooden, giving by far his worst performance in any movie of his which I have seen. The Russian-born Eugenie Leontovich as the Maharani is no more convincing as an Indian than is Burton. Lana Turner as Edwina and Fred MacMurray as Tom were both capable of much better things than this. Probably the greatest is Joan Caulfield as Fern. The intention seems to have been to contrast Fern's youth and innocence with the cynicism and corruption of the experienced older girl Edwina, so it is perhaps surprising that Caulfield, who at 33 was only a year younger than Turner, was cast in the role, but she is new and youthful-looking enough to succeed in making the contrast an effective one. The greatest thing about the movie is its unique effects. Although "The Rains of Ranchipur" is not a "disaster movie" in the sense that the film-makers of the seventies would have understood the term, an earthquake and the subsequent flood after the earthquake destroys a dam enjoy necessary roles in the story. These scenes are very well done, are still convincingly impressive even in the era of CGI and the main reason why I have given the movie an average mark. Unfortunately, there is tiny else to create the movie worth watching today. Unique results apart, it is the sort of dull, turgid and implausible melodrama which typified Hollywood at its worst during the fifties. 5/10
This movie is one of those films I sit through ("Elephant Walk" being other nice example) for the unique results laden climaxes. "The Rains" is one of the best examples of Hollywood miscasting and racial bait and switch ever. First we have Richard Burton as Dr. Safti, a HINDU doctor. He plays the role like a low rabbit in costumes that create his macho form especially wimpy. Eugenie Leontovich plays the Grand Diva of Ranchipur "The Maharani" who tries valiantly to out-diva Lana Turner but alas, fails. Both are unconvincing but the camp factor is worth the experience. Fred MacMurray has a turn as a drunk with a heart of gold and Michael Rennie is wasted as Lana's husband. Then there is Ms. Turner. Testing a terrible tiny rich woman to the hilt, she manages to be uber glamorous even in the midst of a deadly fever. The romance between Turner and Burton is embarrassing in a "I love you but I really can't back it up" type of way, and you begin rooting for the rains to do their thing. When they finally receive going, it's a nice old-fashioned disaster film for a while with heroics all around, then it's back to the potboiler and a disappointing ending. If you wish a fake Bollywood extravaganza with Lana Turner getting drenched in high heels, this is your film.As a postscript to this review, if you wish to see the true thing, check out the 1939 classic "The Rains Came", a much more entertaining, higher quality ver with a very, very various outcome. It makes this one look like a terrible made for TV movie.
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