OUTPOST IN MALAYA (aka: PLANTER’S WIFE)(aka: WHITE BLOOD)
(director: Ken Annakin; screenwriters: Peter Proud/Guy Elmes/story by Peter Proud & Guy Elmes/based on the novel Planter’s Wife by S.C. George; cinematographer: Geoffrey Unsworth; editor: Alfred Roome; music: Allan Gray; cast: Peter Asher (Mike Frazer), Jack Hawkins (Jim Frazer), Claudette Colbert (Liz Frazer), Anthony Steel (Inspector Hugh Dobson), Jeremy Spenser (Mat), Ram Gopal (Nair),Tom Macaulay (Jack Bushell), Helen Goss (Eleanor Bushell), Sonya Hana (Ah Mov), Yah Ming (Ah Siong, Bandit Leader); Runtime: 88; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: John Stafford; MGM/UA; 1952-UK)
“Uneven adventure melodrama.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Ken Annakin(“Hotel Sahara”/”Swiss Family Robinson”/”Miranda”) directs this uneven adventure melodrama set on a remote rubber plantation in Malaya during a native uprising and at a time of marital strife for wealthy Brit planter Jim Frazer (Jack Hawkins) and his wife Liz (Claudette Colbert). This Brit film was the popular American star of the 1930s and 1940s but now a fading star, the French born Colbert’s, first non-Hollywood film. It’s based on a story by Peter Proud & Guy Elmes, who also write the weak screenplay-the pic’s main fault. The film is based on the novel Planter’s Wife by S.C. George.
When terrorist bandits kill the farmer neighbors of the Frazers, hubby orders his socialite wife to seek safety in London with their young son Mike (Peter Asher). Liz is bored with life in the sweltering jungle and plans on leaving her inattentive hubby and not returning. But when things suddenly become violent, she stays to protect her property. It ends in a cowboy styled shoot-out between the good planters and the bad terrorists, without ever trying to answer questions about why the country is under siege by the Communist terrorists (who go unidentified in the film).
The studio-bound overheated drama pays superficial attention to a marriage on the rocks and a country undergoing a political siege, and gets by only because of the solid performances by the stars. Also Anthony Steel gives a pleasing performance as the police inspector who is friends with both the hubby and wife, while Yah Ming ably plays Ah Siong, the bandit leader.
The film was shot in bw in Ceylon (now called Sri Lanka).
REVIEWED ON 8/21/2014 GRADE: C+