Liberties have been taken with [Louis Bromfield’s] original novel, resulting in switching some of the original characterizations or intent, but under production code restrictions, and to conform with the mass market of film entertainment, it merges as a competent job.
True, Myrna Loy’s Lady Esketh isn’t the trollop of the original. True, the romantic Major (Dr.) Rama Safti (Tyrone Power) was more of a symbol of the new India in the book, than triangular link as in this film. True, also, that the romantic antics by the stellar trio and Brenda Joyce (opposite George Brent), and the tropical earthquake that well nigh wrecks the mythical domain of Ranchipur, are more Zanuck than Bromfield. But it is good cinematurgy.
Newcomer Joyce, 18-year-old Los Angeles high school ‘find’ cast as the daughter of social-climbing missionaries, rings the bell throughout with a consistent performance as a forthright romantic adolescent, stuck on Brent. Latter is the wastrel, of good British family, who has been dawdling in Ranchipur for years on an art assignment.
His best friend is the enlightened young Safti, who is blind to any romantic deviations, in his intensive medical duties, until Loy comes on the scene.
The simple heroics following the quake are more effective than the earth-rending sequences themselves. On montage, Fred Sersen rates a bow for his special effects.
1939: Best Special Effects.
Nominations: Best Art Direction, Editing, Sound, Original Score