THUNDER IN THE EAST —-Alan Ladd tries to run guns into India after Independence– and he doesn’t even work for the State Department! Prime Minister Charles Boyer (about as Hindu as Maurice Chevalier) advocates nay, and Deborah Kerr is calm, cultured and blind. Released in 1953, one of Ladd’s weaker efforts, and it doesn’t do a lot for international diplomacy either.
Based on the Alan Moorehead novel “The Rage Of The Vulture” (isn’t that already kind of stretching things for a title?), Charles Vidor directed 97 slapped-together minutes that also fiddle with Corinne Calvet, Cecil Kellaway, John Abbott, John Williams and an 11-year-old kid named Jill Oppenheim, better known as Jill St. John. It returned a respectable $2,000,000. Some chatter. Some gunshots. Alan charms Deb (softly playing the piano blind-kindly-English-lady style) with “I’ve got a gun and a half a million rupees. Whaddaya say?” I need to use that one some day.
Movie geographers note that Ladd had thrown fists, lead and attitude around China in 1943, Calcutta in 1947, Saigon in 1948 and Botany Bay in 1952 so thundering into the East was basically part of what a man’s gotta do. Eventually, by 1956, he’d make it to Santiago, also bearing guns for a revolution. It’s a living, and after all we desire a free Cuba.