The Monsoon (original title: The Rains of Ranchipur ) is an American film directed by Jean Negulesco , released in 1955 .
The film is inspired by Louis Bromfield’s novel , published in 1937 .
This novel is set in India in the 1930s in Ranchipur , a rich state ruled by already elderly princes: the Maharajah who wanted to make his Principality a modern state, and the impressive and still beautiful Maharani.
He describes the life of Ranchipur’s foreign colony, with its gossip, gossip, and pettiness. The monsoon is expected, and with it, the revival of agriculture after a very difficult dry season. Tom Ransome, a wealthy English aristocrat, a cynical and disillusioned drinker, and dragging his ill-being, will serve as a guiding thread for the story that presents this disparate society. This quiet life is disturbed by the announcement of the arrival of great English characters, Lord and Lady Esqueth. This news puts the European community of the Principality in turmoil because of the personality of the newcomers.
The couple is badly matched: Lord Albert Esqueth, a fifty-something new rich man who has made a fortune in business, is brutal and rude. Immensely rich, he hopes to buy horses from the Maharajah. His wife Edwina, also from the aristocracy, married him out of interest. Younger than him, beautiful and racy, collecting love affairs, it is preceded by a sulphurous reputation.
At a reception given in honor of the Esqueths by the Maharajah, she sees Tom Hansome, whom she once knew in England and of whom she was quite close. She also meets Major Rama Safti, a Hindu surgeon at Ranchipur Hospital. This handsome, fair-skinned, blue-eyed man, who studied in England and practiced in London, is the protégé of the Maharani who is destined for a young woman of his religion to be his wife. He does not leave Lady Edwina indifferent, but is not attracted by this superficial and fickle woman whom he rejects. The monsoon, of a rare intensity, bursts shortly after and the dam built by a crook, yields under the heavy rains. Floods ravage the Principality, destroying buildings and roads, cutting bridges. Typhus andcholera arise. And some parts of the city must be burned to fight the epidemic.
During the disaster, the characters are revealed in the small colony. In adversity, Edwina whose husband is dead becomes aware of the emptiness of his existence and the immorality of his past life. Having become one of the richest women in the world, she refuses to take refuge in England as the authorities suggest. Touched by the distress and misery that surrounds her, she joins as a nurse in Major Safti’s hospital, where she is in love without daring to tell him. He then discovers his profound qualities, and no longer fights against the love he now feels for her. He knows, however, that their differences will make any lasting connection between them impossible, whether in India or England.
Overwhelmed and weakened by her work, Lady Edwina is touched by typhoid fevers and succumbs to the Major’s arms, after bequeathing part of her fortune to help rebuild the city and the colony to rise up.
As the rains cease, everyone returns to his destiny, different from the one he was before the disaster. Tom Ransome takes a fresh look at life through the young Fern, and the Major will bow to the Hindu wedding arranged for him by the Maharani.
The scenario of Negulesco’s film is very different from what is written above, not only in the details but also in the psychological nuances. It is easy to follow and does not need to be meticulously described: Lady Edwina is a rich American to the dissolute life who has “offered” a lord. Arrived at Ranchipur to buy thoroughbreds, the couple is brought to stay Lord Esqueth being wounded during a tiger hunt. Edwina has set her sights on the integrated Dr. Safti, adopted son of the Maharani. They fall deeply in love and are ready to flee together. But an earthquake followed by the collapse of a dam falls on Ranchipur. Dr. Safti devotes himself to the wounded, plans to rebuild everything. Edwina understands that she is too much and leaves with her husband.
The technical sheet
- Title: The Monsoon
- Original title: The Rains of Ranchipur
- Director: Jean Negulesco
- Production: Frank Ross
- Production Company: 20th Century Fox
- Scenario: Merle Miller from a book by Louis Bromfield
- Music: Hugo Friedhofer
- Image: Milton R. Krasner and Charles G. Clarke (second team, uncredited)
- Editing: Dorothy Spencer
- Artistic direction: Addison Hehr and Lyle R. Wheeler
- Set decorators: Paul S. Fox and Walter M. Scott
- Costumes: Travilla and (for Lana Turner) Helen Rose
- Country: United States
- Language: English
- Duration: 104 minutes
- Genre: Drama and adventure film
- Format: Original Cinemascope 2.55: 1
- DeLuxe Color – Sound: 4-Track Stereo (Western Electric Recording)
- Date of the American release:
- United States
- la France Paris
- Lana Turner (VF: Jacqueline Porel ) : Lady Edwina Esketh
- Richard Burton (VF: Jean-Claude Michel ) : Dr. Major Rama Safti
- Fred MacMurray (VF: Jean-Henri Chambois ) : Thomas Ransome
- Joan Caulfield (VF: Joelle Janin) : Fern Simon
- Michael Rennie (VF: André Valmy ) : Lord Albert Esketh
- Eugenie Leontovich (VF: Lita Recio ) : Maharani
- Gladys Hurlbut (VF: Henriette Marion) : M me Simon
- Madge Kennedy : M me Smiley
- Carlo Rizzo : Mr Adoani
- Beatrice Kraft : Belly dancer
- Argentina Brunetti : M me Adoani
Around the film
- In the French version, the voices of the actors are (Source: Fedan): Jacqueline Porel (Lana Turner), Jean-Claude Michel (Richard Burton), Jean-Henri Chambois (Fred Macmurray), Joelle Janin (Joan Caulfield), André Valmy(Michael Rennie), Lita Recio (Eugenie Leontovich), Henriette Marion (Gladys Hurlbut)
- This film is the remake of La Mousson ( The Rains Came ) in 1939 and directed by Clarence Brown