Malaya (1950)

94-95 mins | Drama | 6 January 1950

Director:

Richard Thorpe

Writer:

Frank Fenton

Producer:

Edwin H. Knopf

Cinematographer:

George Folsey

Editor:

Ben Lewis

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Malcolm Brown

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Full page view
HISTORY

The working title of this film was Operation Malaya . It opens with the voice-over narration of "John Manchester" reading a letter written by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Manchester Boddy, the basis for the character of Manchester. According to a 1944 article in LADN , of which Boddy was the publisher, in 1941, a disastrous fire and explosion at Fall River, MA destroyed the government's stockpile of rubber, thus necessitating rubber drives to collect scrap. Boddy was on the air every night for more than four months, appealing to the public to collect and turn in their scrap rubber. In a memo to President Roosevelt, Boddy outlined a plan to get rubber out of Malaya. Three weeks after he had written the memo, Boddy received a letter from the President thanking him for the idea and telling him that the operation was under way. According to a Jan 1949 DV news item, Boddy's story was bought by Dore Schary, then head of production of RKO, who took the property with him when he moved over to M-G-M and purchased it from RKO. Although onscreen credits and the Var review list Tom Helmore in the role of "Mattison," the CBCS credits Lester Matthews in that role. Valentina Cortesa was borrowed from Twentieth Century-Fox, and Sydney Greenstreet was borrowed from Warner Bros. to appear in this ... More Less

The working title of this film was Operation Malaya . It opens with the voice-over narration of "John Manchester" reading a letter written by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Manchester Boddy, the basis for the character of Manchester. According to a 1944 article in LADN , of which Boddy was the publisher, in 1941, a disastrous fire and explosion at Fall River, MA destroyed the government's stockpile of rubber, thus necessitating rubber drives to collect scrap. Boddy was on the air every night for more than four months, appealing to the public to collect and turn in their scrap rubber. In a memo to President Roosevelt, Boddy outlined a plan to get rubber out of Malaya. Three weeks after he had written the memo, Boddy received a letter from the President thanking him for the idea and telling him that the operation was under way. According to a Jan 1949 DV news item, Boddy's story was bought by Dore Schary, then head of production of RKO, who took the property with him when he moved over to M-G-M and purchased it from RKO. Although onscreen credits and the Var review list Tom Helmore in the role of "Mattison," the CBCS credits Lester Matthews in that role. Valentina Cortesa was borrowed from Twentieth Century-Fox, and Sydney Greenstreet was borrowed from Warner Bros. to appear in this film. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
10 Dec 1949.
---
Daily Variety
7 Dec 49
p. 3, 8
Daily Variety
27 Dec 49
p. 11.
Film Daily
5 Dec 49
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Feb 49
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Mar 49
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
18 May 49
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Dec 49
pp. 3-4.
Los Angeles Daily News
10 Jan 1949.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
3 Dec 49
p. 105.
New York Times
23 Feb 50
p. 33.
Variety
7 Dec 49
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Based on an orig story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Stills
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Miss Cortesa's cost
Men's cost des by
MUSIC
Mus score
Mus cond
SOUND
Rec supv
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Miss Cortesa's hair styles des by
Makeup created by
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
Tech adv
SOURCES
SONGS
"Blue Moon," words and music by Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers
"A Full Moon and an Empty Heart," words and music by Mort Greene and Harry Revel
"Pagan Lullaby," words and music by Frank Loesser and Jule Styne.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Operation Malaya
Release Date:
6 January 1950
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Greensborough, NC: 28 December 1949
Production Date:
mid February--24 March 1949
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
25 November 1949
Copyright Number:
LP2650
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
94-95
Length(in feet):
8,544
Country:
United States
PCA No:
13788
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In 1942, shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, John Royer, an ex-newspaper correspondent, is summoned home by his publisher, John Manchester, after serving four years in the Far East. When Manchester asks Royer to help in a nation-wide drive to salvage rubber, the reporter scoffs and proposes a daring scheme to smuggle large quantities of rubber out of Japanese-occupied Malaya. After returning to his hotel room, Royer is contacted by a federal agent named Kellar, who reveals that he has thoroughly investigated Royer's past and has learned that Royer's story about smuggling resulted in the imprisonment of his friend Carnahan. Later, Kellar escorts Royer to a railroad car where Manchester is waiting with a panel of men, who intend to question him about his plans. Royer explains that he requires gold to buy the rubber, men needed to steal it and a camouflaged Navy ship to transport it from Malaya. Royer also insists that Carnahan be freed from Alcatraz to work on the mission. Carnahan is still angry at Royer for writing the expose that led to his imprisonment, but agrees to cooperate in return for his freedom. As Royer and Carnahan set sail for Malaya, Royer explains that he is risking his own life because his brother was killed by the Japanese. The cynical adventurer Carnahan responds that his only interest is in the gold. Upon reaching the Malay city of Penang, Carnahan and Royer pose as Irish seamen and visit the saloon owned by the Dutchman, an old friend of Carnahan's. There, Carnahan is warmly embraced by his former lover, the opportunistic singer Luana. The Dutchman also ... +


In 1942, shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, John Royer, an ex-newspaper correspondent, is summoned home by his publisher, John Manchester, after serving four years in the Far East. When Manchester asks Royer to help in a nation-wide drive to salvage rubber, the reporter scoffs and proposes a daring scheme to smuggle large quantities of rubber out of Japanese-occupied Malaya. After returning to his hotel room, Royer is contacted by a federal agent named Kellar, who reveals that he has thoroughly investigated Royer's past and has learned that Royer's story about smuggling resulted in the imprisonment of his friend Carnahan. Later, Kellar escorts Royer to a railroad car where Manchester is waiting with a panel of men, who intend to question him about his plans. Royer explains that he requires gold to buy the rubber, men needed to steal it and a camouflaged Navy ship to transport it from Malaya. Royer also insists that Carnahan be freed from Alcatraz to work on the mission. Carnahan is still angry at Royer for writing the expose that led to his imprisonment, but agrees to cooperate in return for his freedom. As Royer and Carnahan set sail for Malaya, Royer explains that he is risking his own life because his brother was killed by the Japanese. The cynical adventurer Carnahan responds that his only interest is in the gold. Upon reaching the Malay city of Penang, Carnahan and Royer pose as Irish seamen and visit the saloon owned by the Dutchman, an old friend of Carnahan's. There, Carnahan is warmly embraced by his former lover, the opportunistic singer Luana. The Dutchman also introduces them to Col. Genichi Tomura, the corrupt Japanese commandant with a penchant for gambling. After hearing their plans, the Dutchman agrees to recruit twelve men for the operation. While alone with Carnahan later that night, Luana recalls their past relationship and begs him to get her out of Malaya. The next morning, the Dutchman puts Carnahan and Royer in touch with three of the biggest planters in the district. Although all three agree to cooperate, Carnahan and Royer are wary of the third, Bruno Gruber, a German planter. That evening, while Carnahan distracts the Japanese by getting himself arrested, Royer, aided by Romano and the other guerillas, delivers the rubber from the first two plantations to a U.S. ship camouflaged as a small island. Afterward, the Dutchman convinces Tomura to release Carnahan into his custody. Afraid to trust the German, Carnahan refuses to participate in the last shipment but Royer, out of revenge for his brother's death, insists on completing the mission. Carnahan relents and joins Royer, then beats Gruber into revealing that the Japanese are waiting downstream to ambush them. Determined to secure the last of the rubber, Royer continues on alone and is brutally killed by Tomura's men. Hearing the sound of gunfire that signals the death of his friend, Carnahan shoots Gruber, prompting the Dutchman to observe that at least Royer died for his beliefs. The following day, Tomura visits the Dutchman and offers to allow the remaining rubber to be shipped out for a price. Although he suspects a trap, Carnahan resolves to complete Royer's mission. While Romano and his men deliver the rubber, Carnahan decoys Tomura with his boat. When Luana insists upon joining him, he pushes her overboard to safety. As Carnahan nears the U.S. ship, Tomura stops his boat, takes him captive, then signals the Japanese flotilla to attack the ship. Just then, two American PT boats suddenly appear and sink the flotilla with torpedoes. In the fracas, Carnahan is wounded but manages to kill Tomura. Some time after the end of the war, Kellar comes to Malaya to award a medal to Carnahan, who is now living on an island with Luana. Refusing the medal, the cynical Carnahan tells Kellar to pin it on the Dutchman instead. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.