Thursday, June 20, 2013

South of Suez (1940)


I had a feeling I would be bored watching South of Suez as soon as I saw the title. I was bored not as bored as I thought but the film became a bit of a chore to watch after a while and I hate when that happens.
            John Gamble (George Brent) works on a diamond mine as foreman in South Africa for a man named Eli Snedeker. Snedeker is a greedy nasty man who is cruel to the natives that work the mine. John hates the way his boss treats the workers. He tries to talk to Snedeker about his treatment but Snedeker just brushes him and yells at him. John leaves his boss to run everything himself. Meanwhile, Snedeker does not trust his wife Delia especially around John. Delia and John used to see each other before she married Snedeker. He leaves his wife alone pretending as if he was going out. He waits in the bushes and watches as John comes to the house. Snedeker tells John to leave his house, John does not put up a fight.
            A man named Smythe wants to sell his diamond mine. Smythe wants the land since he is not having very much success on his own. Smythe’s daughter Kit comes to see him. She has not seen her father in five years. Smythe wants Kit to go back to England but she refuses they are together for the first time in so long. John buys Smythe’s land. Together they find a large diamond. Snedeker hears the news and comes by to have a look. Snedeker thinks he has been cheated out of the land and the diamond. Out of jealousy he goes to Smythe’s house at night planning to steal the diamond. Smythe walks in the room and Snedeker shoots him. Snedeker runs to the bar and shouts that John Gamble has shot Smythe. He also claims that the diamond was his (Snedeker’s) and John stole it from him.
            Delia saw everything happen. She told John she wanted to go away with him and he would not go. To get even with him she tells John she can tell everyone he committed the murder.
            John stows away on a ship heading for England. Five years later John is a wealthy man using a new last name. He is still a wanted man in South Africa and England. In all his time with Smythe in South Africa he never met Kit. Now in London he is determined to meet her. Feeling guilty and sad about what happened to her father John leaves Kit a lot of money in his will. John goes down to Kit at her family’s home in the country. While there he falls for her. He wants to tell her the truth of who he is and what really happened. Kit tells him one night how much she hates John Gamble and what he has done to her. After seeing her rage and anger there is no way he can tell her the truth now.
            While walking home John sees a man get mugged then thrown in the river. The man is dead by the time John drags him out of the Thames. In this moment John decides to plant his John Gamble items on the man. Kit has had a private eye hired for years to find John Gamble. He calls her with the news that Gamble is dead. The private eye says that John can ID the body. An officer working on the bridge that night saw John walk away from the body. The officer is in the PI’s office and thinks it is odd that John is the only man in London who can ID the dead man.
            John goes to sell his diamond to a jeweler. The dealer calls Snedeker (who is now back in London) to cut the diamond. He immediately knows the diamond and still thinks the diamond is his and once again tries to steal it. John as John Bradley is arrested for killing the man he left the papers on. He refuses to talk about anything he does not want to hurt Kit. Snedeker and Delia are at the trial. John’s friend Limey knows how to prove John is not guilty. He goes to get John’s will. Snedeker calls out John Bradley as John Gamble when he sees a bunch of insurance papers. John says he is Gamble and tells the truth about what happened. He is acquitted of the London murder but he now must face trial for the murder in South Africa. Delia becomes nervous and tells the real truth of what happened that night. Snedeker shoots her as Delia is on the stand.
            South of Suez was an alright story. I hate the fact that I did this but I kept thinking with a modern time the whole film thinking how if this story took place now the police and CSIs would be all over the place! Mac Taylor and his team could prove John Gamble innocent! (what a weirdo I am! Haha). I knew John would be proven innocent in the end and that something would happened Snedeker. I guess that is why I found the film boring. I only suggest to watch South of Suez if you are a fan of George Brent.