Sony // 1952 // 98 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge James A. Stewart // September 18th, 2008
"It's too bad I got here a few days too late."
"A few days? You got here three years too late."
You'll find the island of Trinidad off the Venezuelan coast. There's a map at the beginning of Affair in Trinidad. Who said a night of watching movies in front of the TV couldn't be educational?
It's a place where someone might drink a tropical martini, so the movie and the recipe are part of Sony's "Martini Movies" series (DVDs can be educational, too). It's also a place where a nice girl like Rita Hayworth could find herself involved in a dangerous spy mission, at least in the movies.
The authorities have just told nightclub singer Chris Emery (Rita Hayworth) that her artist husband has died. Although suicide's the official verdict, they suspect he died at the hands of Max Fabian, a wealthy art patron who's believed to be involved in espionage.
Chris is asked to get close to Fabian, who has a crush on her (like just about every man on the island), to find out what he's up to. That would be easy, if it weren't for the arrival of Steve Emery (Glenn Ford), who received a letter from his brother about a possible job. Since the letter was dated just before the "suicide," Steve's suspicious, and he's looking into the mystery.
A strange group of characters at a dinner party hosted by Fabian is the cherry on top. Shake well.
When Affair in Trinidad was made, Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford had already proven a combustible combination in Gilda and The Loves of Carmen. Of course, Rita Hayworth and Jerry Lewis could've been a combustible combination; she brought that many sparks to an onscreen relationship.
Affair in Trinidad pours on the gasoline to make sure, giving Hayworth steamy song-and-dance numbers, telling us that men fall at her feet, shaping a romantic triangle, and even bathing her in that special movie glow. While Hayworth may be as radiant as Greta Garbo, she doesn't come across as aloof. Instead, her Chris Emery comes across as a sweet kid who loved her husband and is caught up in something heavy. Still, she's got a way of finding things out without drawing attention, even when she's drawing attention.
As Steve, Glenn Ford comes across as the bull in a china shop, starting his own inquiry by throwing the money to pay his brother's tab in the face of a shady bar owner, knocking the man's glasses off. When Steve becomes suspicious of Fabian, the man knows it at once. It's also clear to everyone that Steve likes Chris, even though he's wary of her relationship with Fabian. His hotheaded Steve contrasts cool Chris nicely as they pursue their separate inquiries; he also raises the stakes by threatening Chris' mission.
Alexander Scourby (Because of You) rounds out the romantic triangle as Max Fabian. He plays Fabian as suave but too obviously shady. The most interesting of his houseguests is Valerie Bettis as Veronica, a drunken woman who flirts too much with Steve but proves smarter than Fabian gives her credit for.
There's the occasional faded scene, but the picture holds up reasonably well. With all the dinner parties and interiors, it feels like the movie was shot on a backlot, so you won't see that much tropical paradise. A tropical beat and those hot Hayworth numbers sound good on this disc.
Except for the trailer, the extras steer toward the promotional (although you'll find a couple of martini recipes in there and on the disc itself). The trailer's good at playing up Hayworth's sex appeal, but also gives away too much about the plot.
Nothing wrong with martini recipes, but this "Martini Movies" series needs to provide some better extras. Tell us about the actors, the shooting of the movie -- anything! Considering this lack, I'd wait for a sale to pick up Affair in Trinidad.
Rita Hayworth's combination of sizzle and sweetness and Glenn Ford's toughness mix well for a light movie cocktail. I can easily see why they're considered a classic screen couple. You ought to catch this movie sometime.
Hayworth and Ford are free to go, but Sony needs to stir a little more into the extras on its "Martini Movies" to beat the rap.
Review content copyright © 2008 James A. Stewart; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (French)
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Release Year: 1952
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* "Martini Minute: How to Play the Leading Lady"
* "Martini Minute: How to Play the Leading Man"
* Theatrical Trailer