Calcutta (1947)

calcutta 1947

Good performance from Alan Ladd as a pilot who is trying to find out who killed his friend and fellow pilot.

Neale Gordon (Alan Ladd), Pedro Blake (William Bendix) and Bill Cunningham (John Whitney) are American pilots who fly a route between Chunking,China and Calcutta,India. On one flight Neale and Pedro’s plane blows an engine and they have to dump their cargo and land in the mountains. Bill rescues them and they all head to Calcutta.

At a bar Bill tells them he’s getting married. They can’t understand it. As usual Bill gets into a brawl with some customers. When that’s over he makes sure his pals will show up at a party the next night for his fiancee, Virginia Moore (Gail Russell).

The next day their boss Jack Collins (Don Beddoe) calls Neale to his office. Bill has been found strangled by a thuggee cord. Neale and Pedro go to a nightclub where singer Marina tells them the party was called off by nightclub owner Eric Lasser.

Neale goes to Virginia’s hotel room and she admits she wasn’t in love with Bill. She’s wearing an expensive diamond she says Bill bought for. Neale doesn’t believe Bill had the money to buy it. He grabs it from around her neck and says he’ll return it when he finds out if she’s telling the truth.

Pedro has to pilot a flight. At the last minute a local importer, Malik, hops on board. Pedro is suspicious of him.

Neale goes to the diamond merchant Mrs.Smith (Edith King) and she confirms that Bill bought it and she shows Neale the check. Neale calls the bank and it’s true, there’s enough in Bill’s account to cover it. Turns out he won it gambling. He gives the diamond back to Virginia and they have a drink. You know what that starts.

Pedro’s back and says he has a date. Neale goes to the airfield and searches a plane. He finds a bag full of jewels hidden in a floor compartment. Someone throws a knife at him and misses. Then he gets a noose around his neck but manages to fight off his attacker who runs away. Neale gives the jewels to Pedro and tells him to stash them in a safety deposit box.

Neale goes back to his room and Malik walks in with a gun demanding the jewels. The airline has been used to smuggle the merchandise to China for a huge profit. Malik realizes Neale doesn’t have them and leaves only to be murdered in the hall.

Neale shows a brooch to Marina. She says Bill found out about the shipment and was gotten away from Virginia by an informant. Neale goes back to Virginia’s room. She’s gone and the place is a wreck. Neale shows the brooch to Mrs.Smith. She says Malik was her partner in the smuggling racket.

Neale is arrested for Malik’s murder but Pedro makes up a confession and he’s jailed instead. This leaves Neale free to continue his investigation. The resolution seems flat but the movie is still worth a look. Edith King is a great character as Mrs.Smith.

Edith King as Mrs.Smith

Edith King as Mrs.Smith


About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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