They Met in Bombay

MGM

They Met in Bombay

Release Date: July 27,1941
Directed by: Clarence Brown

Costarring:
Rosalind Russell
Peter Lorre

Available on DVD through The Warner Brothers Archive Collection

Nutshell Review, March 2014

Gable is Gerald Meldrick, a jewel thief who has trailed a British duchess to India to steal her antique diamond necklace. He encounters Anya Von Duren (Russell), a rival thief out for the same score. She succeeds in stealing the necklace, but he fools her into believing he is a detective and gets the necklace from her. She figures him out and he proposes they be partners. They hop on a Chinese ship headed for Hong Kong but the crooked captain (Lorre) tries to turn them in for ransom. Paddling their way to shore, they hide out in Hong Kong. Gerald disguises himself as a British officer in hopes of getting them out of there, but he is soon sent to the front to fight against the Japanese.

Theme song:

 

Reviews:

Newspaper, September 1941

***The most original thing about They Met in Bombay is the exotic headgear worn by Rosalind Russell. The plot is rather familair–the two jewel theives who are out to get the same diamond. They try desperately to outwit each other, then find they must combine forces to outwit the police. They flee to China, where things happen fast, and in short order Clark performs some heroic acts and wins the Victoria Cross for bravery. The incomparable talents of Gable and Miss Russell make even the mediocre vehicle entertainment, however.

Screenland magazine, October 1941

It’s good to see Clark Gable again and, better still, to see him teamed with Rosalind Russell. Together they hold your interest when the dialogue and improbable story get slightly incredible. Gable and Russell are a pair of rascally jewl thieves, each trying to outwit the other until the love bug attacks them.  Becoming a soldier-hero was farthest from Gerald Meldrick’s  (Gable) mind but he does, and reforms. Bad man Peter Lorre, as usual, is effective.

Quote-able Gable:

“Beautiful. As perfect a fake as I’ve ever seen.” first line

“Tell me once more that this job is too dangerous to pull off alone.”

“Would you have asked Michelangelo not to have painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel
because he might have fallen off the ladder? No, of course you wouldn’t. The job is worth
the risk. Don’t you worry about me. You do your job right, I’ll do mine right.”

“When a man’s a dreamer, a woman wants him to be practical. When he’s practical, she wants him to be a dreamer. That’s the story of my whole life.”

“Whenever I look at you I get the strangest feeling that I’m suddenly shooting up towards heaven.”

“Every time I glance at you I feel as if I’ve seen you for the first time. That’s a wonderful gift. And very rare.”

“Most detectives do look like detectives and the result is they are perpetually arresting each other.”

“That shoreline looks peaceful, doesn’t it? It’s funny how night softens everything, lights on the shore, lights in the sky. I wonder what it is about lights in the darkness that is so comforting to all of us.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever been accused of that before. I apologize for stepping out of character.”

“And you! Let me leave this thought with you: crime doesn’t pay! Honesty is the best policy!”

“What do you want to do, go to jail for a silly piece of copper?”

“Thanks for the double cross.”

“Yeah, that’s what we think too.” last line

Behind the Scenes:

Gable, tired of being cast with the same leading ladies over and over again, was pleased with the casting of Rosalind Russell. She had had supporting roles in two other films with him a  few years prior, but this was her first (and only) as his leading lady.

Working titles for the film were “Unholy Partners” and “The Uniform”.

During filming, Gable and his wife Carole Lombard celebrated their second wedding anniversary. Lombard arranged a surprise lunch on the set catered by the Brown Derby restaurant. Spencer Tracy visited in full fright makeup–he was next door filming Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.