6.7/10
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Malaya (1949)

Newspaperman Royer convinces government officials of a plan to obtain rubber by stealing it out from under the Japanese. Carnahan is let out of prison to help.

Director:

Richard Thorpe

Writers:

Frank Fenton (screenplay), Manchester Boddy (story)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Spencer Tracy ... Carnahan
James Stewart ... John Royer
Valentina Cortese ... Luana (as Valentina Cortesa)
Sydney Greenstreet ... The Dutchman
John Hodiak ... Kellar
Lionel Barrymore ... John Manchester
Gilbert Roland ... Romano
Roland Winters ... Bruno Gruber
Richard Loo ... Colonel Genichi Tomura
Ian MacDonald ... Carlos Tassuma
Tom Helmore ... Matisson
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lester Matthews ... Matisson (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

After living abroad for several years, journalist John Royer returns to the United States just after the U.S. enters World War II. His boast that he could easily smuggle rubber, a key wartime natural resource, out of Malaya has him tasked with doing just that. He manages to get someone from his past, Carnaghan, sprung from Alactraz and together they head off to South East Asia posing as Irishmen. Once there, Carnaghan lines up some of his old cronies and with Royer and a few plantation owners plans to smuggle the rubber out from under the Japanese army's watchful eye. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

rubber | ocean | taxi | office | newspaper | See All (109) »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 April 1950 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Operation Malaya See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,396,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

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. See more »

Goofs

Spencer Tracy says to Luana that the Earth is moving toward the Sun at the rate of a half an inch a century. In fact, the Earth is in a stable orbit that over an astronomical time scale will in fact move away from the Sun. As the Sun loses mass fusing hydrogen into helium, the Earth's orbit will increase by a minuscule amount; approximately 150,000 kilometers over approximately the next 5 to 6 billion years. See more »

Quotes

Colonel Genichi Tomura: I'm very sorry to have done this to your acquaintance. You will believe it was necessary.
The Dutchman: I do not doubt it, if you say it was necessary, my friend. It's a stiff price for a bottle of bad whiskey.
Colonel Genichi Tomura: Five of my men have been injured, a system has been disrupted, and you would wish me to do nothing about it?
The Dutchman: A man who does not fight and disrupt a system when he's become drunk has wasted his money. Fighting and drinking is also a part of the system. Not a system I invented. What would have me saying...
Colonel Genichi Tomura: [...]
See more »

Connections

Edited from They Were Expendable (1945) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Great Rubber Shortage
24 May 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Malaya may seem a fantastic tale, but the story actually has quite a bit of truth to it. When World War II broke out the Japanese quickly conquered most of the rubber producing areas of the world. The modern mechanized army does run on rubber and both the USA and Germany developed types of synthetic rubber to be used.

My mother told me during World War II there were all kinds of drives for recyclable material and among the most valuable was rubber. People contributed all kinds of old tires for the war effort.

Lionel Barrymore plays the real life Manchester Boddy who was publisher of the Los Angeles Daily News who was the prime mover in the scheme you see portrayed here in Malaya. Though this story is fictional, the need for rubber in the USA was critical at the time and there was in fact a rubber smuggling operation going on.

Spencer Tracy before he came to MGM played just the kind of two fisted action heroes at Fox which was his original studio. He expressed an interest in doing this kind of film for old time sake and got cast in it. He really isn't poaching on Humphrey Bogart's territory these were the kind of roles he originally did in film while Bogey was playing hoods over at Warner Brothers.

Because the script called for a buddy team of heroes, James Stewart was approached and he even conceded top billing to Tracy. According to the Films of James Stewart, he admired Tracy as an actor so much that he was grateful just for the opportunity to work with him again. In fact Stewart's first film role was in Murder Man, a film that starred Spencer Tracy back in 1935.

With the two of these big stars in the leads, MGM was able to recruit a really outstanding group of players like John Hodiak, Valentina Cortese, Roland Winters, Richard Loo, the aforementioned Lionel Barrymore and my two favorites Gilbert Roland and Sydney Greenstreet.

Roland was shortchanged though. Watching Malaya I could tell his role as Tracy's adventurous friend was left on the cutting room floor. But even a little Gilbert Roland is always a pleasure to watch.

This was Sydney Greenstreet's last film and in it he essentially reprises the part of Ferrari in Casablanca. He's got the best lines in the film and his scenes with his cockatoo are classic. As he says, he's just a saloon keeper with an access to gossip. Which gets put to very good use.

Stewart the idealist, Tracy the cynical realist. Too bad they didn't work together more.


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