Malaya is a pulp-fiction, wartime adventure yarn, based on a factual incident early in the fighting, that takes the customer for a pretty fancy chimerical flight.
Kickoff for the story is tied to a letter from President Roosevelt to Manchester Boddy, LA newspaper publisher, concerning the government’s need to obtain rubber during the war.
James Stewart plays a roaming newspaper reporter who promises to steal rubber for his government, which supplies him with ships for transporting and gold for bribing. He effects the release from prison of Spencer Tracy to aid in the daring adventure.
Tracy and Stewart are at home in their toughie roles. Valentina Cortese appears very well as a jungle torch singer in the Malayan saloon. Sydney Greenstreet’s character of a sharp operator, wise in the ways of man, comes over excellently.