Malaya (1949) Rated NR

A newspaperman convinces the government to steal rubber from the Japanese. Starring Spencer Tracy, James Stewart, and Valentina Cortese.

This is a compelling story of a disreputable man who says that he can smuggle rubber out of British Malaya. Although it’s a joy to watch Spencer Tracy, James Stewart, and Lionel Barrymore, by the end of the film the performances become stagnant. The film’s plot hinges on the need for rubber – a wartime necessity – which modern viewers may find hilarious. I also thought that the film’s premise of rubber was hilarious. Of course, it all has to do with context. In this day and age, frustration over a lack of rubber is obscure. Although compelling, the film lacks excitement and suspense. While it may have been more engaging to its original audience on the heels of WWII, the film still isn’t worth a watch.

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