Rains Came [1939]

A trio of great performances and Academy Award-winning special effects recommend this saga of sin, scandal, and redemption based on Louis Bromfield's novel. George Brent stars as Tom Ransome, the reputation-tarnished son of an English earl who has found refuge from the world's ills in Ranchupur, India. Myrna Loy, cast against type, costars as his former lover, now the Lady Edwina Esketh, whose elderly husband (Nigel "Dr. Watson" Bruce) is more interested in the Maharaja's horses and money than her. "Dying of galloping boredom," she sets her sights on Major Rama Safti (Tyrone Power), a dedicated and selfless doctor, but nature calls with a devastating earthquake and flood that will open her jaded eyes. Drenched with atmosphere, The Rains Came further benefits from such venerable character actors as Maria Ouspenskaya (The Wolf Man) as the Maharani, Jane Darwell (The Grapes of Wrath) as Tom's missionary aunt, and Henry Travers (Clarence in It's a Wonderful Life) as his uncle. The Rains Came was released in 1939, considered by some to be the movies' best-ever year. While it is not in the same class as Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, or Stagecoach, this is a stellar example of old-school Hollywood. --Donald Liebenson

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