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Malaya Reviews

The unlikely team of Spencer Tracy and James Stewart embarks on a secret mission during WW II. Their job is to smuggle a huge shipment of rubber out of Malaya without the Japanese detecting the operation. Stewart, a onetime reporter who knows the territory, and Tracy, a professional smuggler who is serving time in Alcatraz and is paroled for the mission, contact shifty Greenstreet, who pinpoints the location of a rubber stockpile. More than 150,000 tons of rubber are smuggled through the Japanese lines to waiting US ships but, on the last trip, patriot Stewart is killed; criminal Tracy proves his American mettle, however, and gets the shipment through while disposing of an insidious Japanese officer, Loo. It's all pretty hokey stuff and the script is soggy in the middle, but the story is based on fact. Newsman Manchester Boddy suggested smuggling rubber out of Malaya to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942 and his comments were taken seriously, with 300,000 tons of rubber taken out of that country. Boddy later wrote the screenplay for this film, citing what he knew about the operation. Greenstreet is good as the conniving plotter and so too is Hodiak as an FBI agent. Stewart and Tracy, however, seem to plod along under the weight of the unimaginative dialog.