A nightclub singer marries the rich owner of a rubber plantation. When she returns with him to his estate in Malaysia, she finds out that he is cruel, vicious and insanely jealous. She and the plantation's overseer develop a mutual attraction, but are terrified at what will happen if her husband finds out.
Uploaded by: FREEMAN November 16, 2023 at 04:09 AM
Carole Lombard is singing Cole Porter-style songs in a native bar. She's an outcast because she went off with a man and her husband killed himself. In comes "King of the River" Charles Laughton. He marries her and takes her upriver, where all the White men have something in their background that would get them jailed -- at best.
The movie looks like a badly aged mash-up of other, better remembered stories from the era: RAIN, of course, and RED RIVER with Charles Bickford as the he-man, and SANDERS OF THE RIVER. Although Lombard is the protagonist for the most of the movie, and Bickford looks like he's going to take it over when he enters for the third act, it's Laughton, playing one of his grotesques who dominates the film, from his entrance until the very end, when he is the only White standing, shouting defiance. Just like in other movies of the era, he's so good at playing a fascinating villain who despises everyone else... until he throws it all away in an act of mad bravado, to impress Lombard.
Reviewed by goblinhairedguy7 / 10
Heads really roll in this steamy potboiler
Although it's seldom discussed, one of the staple genres that classic Hollywood tackled best was the jungle-set melodrama. It gave studio technicians an opportunity to experiment with oppressive artificial sets, eerie sounds effects and expressionist lighting. Those Venetian-blind shadow patterns so characteristic of film noir were preceded by just as many painterly images lit through louvered windows and bamboo curtains. And the exotic backgrounds allowed jaded screenwriters to attain a delirious level of moral turpitude, betrayal, sadistic violence and erotic obsessiveness, not to mention downright racism. White Woman may not quite rank with the finest wallows in the white man's grave (Red Dust, Tropic Zone, the absolutely jaw-dropping Kongo), but it certainly concocts a heady stew of cruelty, masochism and lasciviousness. This is thanks to a dense script by some old reliables, and by another ingenious portrayal by Laughton (much more subdued than in the similarly-set masterpieces, the Beachcomber and Island of Lost Souls, but wilier and more self-deluding.) Lombard was still stuck in her earnest, victimized stage before she hit her stride as a comedienne, but her brittle blonde presence and flustered pretensions are a fine fit here. Charles Bickford kicks the plot into overdrive as a Gable-like he-man who won't brook Laughton's guff. They're a perfect match for each other playing a doomed hand of poker while their gruesome fate awaits them at the hands of the natives they've crossed. Thankfully, the filmmakers avoid the moralising and let the viewer stoically sink into the morass along with them.
Reviewed by shark-438 / 10
They don't make them like this anymore. A lurid jungle picture with a fallen woman (the gorgeous LOMBARD)forced to sing in an interracial cafe after her husband commits suicide. No one in the African jungle British community wants anything to do with her. The British are there tearing up the jungle for the rubber plants and building huge rubber plantations. Rumor is her husband killed himself over her cheating ways. She's miserable and salvation comes along in the guise of Charles Laughton playing Horace Prin, the "King Of The River" - he's the richest rubber plantation owner in the jungle and he likes what he sees in Lombard. They marry, she's now rich but she's nothing more than one thing he owns and she begins to realize that he is obsessively jealous and insane and cruel. Laughton is amazing. A brilliant actor (from Witness For The Prosecution, Advise & Consent, Mutiny On The Bounty) who is capable of hamming it up for the sake of ham (Island Of Lost Souls, un-released Caligula)this is the hammiest performance I've ever seen but it is also so entertaining. He has a field day destroying any worker who dares to look at his new bride. What a hoot!!!