Sunday, June 8, 2014


I started watching AFFAIR IN TRINIDAD (1952) yesterday afternoon and just a few minutes into the film it struck me that I had already seen it. Don't remember when or where and I certainly didn't remember the particulars of the plot. Should I keep watching or turn it off? Hey, it's got Rita Hayworth in it. Of course I kept watching.

As the title states, the action is set in Trinidad where Hayworth is a dancer in a nightclub. And what a dancer! Her estranged husband is found dead at the beginning of the film. The officials, including the great Torin Thatcher as the police chief, list the official cause of death as suicide. But he suspects murder and thinks wealthy businessman Max Fabian (Alexander Scourby) may be involved. Fabian was a friend and patron of Hayworth's late husband so Thatcher asks Hayworth to get close to Fabian and see what she can dig up in the way of evidence against him.

But along comes brother-in-law Glenn Ford to mess things up. Turns out his now dead brother wrote to Ford shortly before his death, requesting him to come to Trinidad with the hint that there was work to be had. Before you know it, Ford is in love with Hayworth (who can blame him?) but he's miffed when she gives him the brush off and takes up with Fabian.

Turns out Fabian and some sinister foreigners with strange accents are up to no good. The exact details of their nefarious plot are never quite fully explained but it has something to do with launching American missiles from the Caribbean against key target cities in the United States. Fabian is selling this information to the highest bidder, an unnamed foreign government. Given that this film was made in 1952, it's easy to guess who the real bad guys are.

Hayworth gets to strut her spectacular stuff in another dance number at Fabian's house before the suspense ratchets into higher gear in the third act. Ford discovers the error of his ways and comes to the rescue just in the nick of time and Hayworth and Ford return to the U.S. at the end of the film

AFFAIR IN TRINIDAD was Hayworth's comeback film for Columbia after being away from the studio for four years. Hayworth and Ford had co-starred in the film noir classic GILDA in 1946 and the studio was obviously hoping to recapture some of that box-office magic. The plan worked. AFFAIR IN TRINIDAD made one million dollars more than GILDA.

In addition to echoing GILDA, AFFAIR IN TRINIDAD as elements similar to Alfred Hitchcock's NOTORIOUS (1946). AFFAIR IN TRINIDAD is fast paced, pulpy fun. The supporting cast is solid and Ford makes a good leading man. But the real appeal here is the magnificent Rita Hayworth. What a comeback! Thumbs up.

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