An exotic romantic melodrama based on a popular novel by Louis Bromfield, THE RAINS CAME details the hardships of the people of the fictitious Indian province of Ranchipur. Loy stars as a bored Englishwoman trapped in a loveless marriage with wealthy, middle-aged businessman Bruce. To
keep herself amused, Loy has entered into numerous short-lived love affairs. Accompanying her husband to Ranchipur, Loy finds that one of her former lovers, Brent, an Englishman, now resides in India, where he can live cheaply and drink heavily. Brent, however, has his hands full with Joyce, the
young daughter of socially ambitious missionaries who would like to see her wed to an aristocrat. Brent attempts to renew his romance with Loy, but she is no longer interested because she has met Power, a handsome young Indian doctor who is the court favorite of the maharajah (Warner) and the
maharani (Ouspenskaya) and who may inherit the throne some day. Power is intensely committed to helping his people and works tirelessly to heal the sick. The dedicated young doctor's compassion affects the bored English socialite and Loy begins to notice the difficult lives of those around her.
When a violent earthquake hits Ranchipur, a huge dam breaks, sending a wall of water through the center of the city. Thousands are killed, including Bruce and the maharajah. In the wake of the disaster, malaria sweeps through Ranchipur, attacking those who were lucky enough to survive the
earthquake and flood. Now deeply in love with Power and determined to prove that she is a changed woman, Loy pitches in and helps him care for the thousands of injured and sick. Power finally admits to himself that he is in love with her, but their joy is short-lived, for Loy accidentally drinks
from a glass infected with the deadly virus, falls ill, and dies.
Because screenwriters Philip Dunne and Julien Josephson drained Bromfield's novel of all its social insight and political intrigue, THE RAINS CAME is really nothing more than an epic tearjerker, but the film succeeds due to its casting and production values. Budgeted at an incredible (for 1939)
$2.5 million, the film spared no expense at creating an exotic locale for the soap-opera histrionics. Tyrone Power is surprisingly convincing beneath his dark makeup, and Myrna Loy turns in a solid performance as well. Brenda Joyce, who was an 18-year-old Los Angeles high school student when
discovered by the studio and given the big buildup, brings a likable spunkiness to her role. The true star of the film, though, is the spectacular earthquake and flood footage engineered by special effects technician Fred Sersen. The film earned the first Academy Award ever given special effects.
It was also nominated for Best Cinematography, Best Sound, and Best Original Score. Remade in 1955 as THE RAINS OF RANCHIPUR.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: An exotic romantic melodrama based on a popular novel by Louis Bromfield, THE RAINS CAME details the hardships of the people of the fictitious Indian province of Ranchipur. Loy stars as a bored Englishwoman trapped in a loveless marriage with wealthy, midd… (more)