The 6th Annual Barrymore Blogathon – Malaya (1949)


This is the first of three posts dedicated to The Sixth Annual Barrymore Blogathon being held over at In The Good Old Days of Hollywood. Tnx Crystal for letting me take part!

“Time is just a clock that some sucker winds.” – Carnaghan

Number of Times Seen – 1 (15 Nov 2020)

Brief Synopsis – During World War II, a reporter hatches a scheme to smuggle rubber out of Japanese territory in order to help the allies.

My Take on it – This is a film that I had never heard of before finding it during my research into films of the Barrymores for this blogathon.

The fact that the rest of the cast list also featured some very talented actors also drew me to it.

This is a great war film that is able to work on numerous levels because of the way things play out.

The cast is superb with Jimmy Stewart, Spenser Tracy, Lionel Barrymore and Sidney Greenstreet all creating some very memorable characters.

The scenes between Barrymore and Stewart are especially powerful given the way that these actors reacted towards one another just three years earlier in It’s A Wonderful Life (1946).

The plot is filled with some great twists and turns along the way that help enhance the story because we get to see the various lengths that each side is willing to go to in order to try and outsmart their enemy.

They develop these characters really well and still leave room for us to keep guessing what they will each do when confronted with some very difficult decisions during tense situations which adds so much to the suspense of it all.

The film also does a wonderful job taking away any ind of immunity from all of the characters which helps raise the tension level since anything can happen to anyone as things play out which adds so much to the realism of it all.

This was Grenstreet’s final film role and is a truly fitting swansong for him especially since his final scene perfectly fits the end of his Hollywood career.

Bottom Line – Great War thriller that works on numerous levels. Tracy, Stewart, Barrymore and Greenstreet are all superb here. The story has some great twists and turns along the way that help show the lengths both sides will be willing to go during wartime. The characters are all developed very well yet they still leave room for some really thrilling surprises as things unfold which adds to the suspense of it all. Love the way that the film treats all of the characters equally which helps make things more realistic since no one is immune to the dangers that this kind of tale enacts on its characters. A very fitting swansong for Greenstreet especially his final scene in the movie and in his career. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – The destroyer that Tracy and Stewart start their adventure on is a Fletcher Class Destroyer. The first was laid down in 1941 and the last in 1944; 175 were built. It was the first of the U.S. Navy’s large destroyers during World War II; it was also was the class with the largest number of units built. Most served in the Pacific theater. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10)

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