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The Rains Came
dir. Clarence Brown
Compelling story with an interesting mix of humor and melodrama, but what really blew me away about The Rains Came were the special effects... mind-boggling for 1939, the flood and earthquake effects are just as real as the CG effects I saw yesterday in the sound reel of The Day After Tomorrow at the "bake off" for the Sound Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
My only problem with The Rains Came is that almost all of the Indians (dot, not feather) were played by white actors in dark makeup. The best acting in the film came from Maria Ouspenskaya, a Russian who played the Maharani, and from Tyrone Power, an American in the role of Major Rama Safti. Granted their acting was great, but no amount of acting and makeup can detract from the fact that they look very very caucasian.
(watched as a class for FTV 298A: Phenomenology of Sound)