Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


WHITE CARGO (1942). Director: Richard Thorpe.

"I am -- Tondelayo."

1942 audiences must have gotten awfully impatient waiting for the lusty new Hedy Lamarr to show up as the sexy Tondelayo because she doesn't make her entrance for a full thirty minutes (over a third of the running time.) But after that she certainly causes a lot of mischief. Tondelayo is an Arabian-Egyptian beauty (she was Black in the original story) who does her best to ensorcel the men supervising the tending of rubber plants on a lonely outpost in Africa. Her latest target is Langford (Richard Carlson), who's continuously hoping to get "acclimatized" to the environment. Tondelayo also has a hankering for Larry Witzel (Walter Pidgeon), Carlson's belligerent co-worker. Frank Morgan is the tippling doctor who seems more interested in getting stewed than in fraternizing with Tondelayo. Lamarr isn't bad as the temptress, and the others offer vivid performances as well, with Morgan the cast stand-out. Amusing, entertaining picture takes a while to get started but once it does it's fun.

Verdict: Let Tondelayo make you "tiffin." **1/2.

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