Presenting a series of feature films made before independence, this series explores the image of Malaya in Hollywood and beyond. Mutinies, murders and relationship mishaps are some of the common tropes which framed colonial Malaya as an exotic and exciting place in the popular imagination of Euro-American audiences.
This page is managed by Fiona Tan.
Across to Singapore (1928)
Across to Singapore is a 1928 American silent romantic drama directed by William Nigh, and starring Ramon Novarro and Joan Crawford. The plot involves a love triangle between a woman and two brothers, set on board a ship and in Singapore.
Out of Singapore (1932)
Singapore is once again a backdrop for a sea-faring thriller, starring Noah Beery, Dorothy Burgess and Miriam Seegar this time round. Whilst trying to stop an impending mutiny and murder of a captain, the secret of the captain’s daughter’s crush on the villainous sailor is revealed.
China Seas (1935)
Featuring Hollywood stars such as Clark Gable (“Gone With the Wind”) Jean Harlow (“Dinner at Eight”), Oscar-winner Rosalind Russell (“Auntie Mame”) and Oscar-winner Wallace Beery (“The Champ”), this film, titled La malle de Singapour in French, takes place largely on a steamer chugging between Singapore and Singapore. While fighting off pirates, Captain Alan Gaskell (Gable) is also entangled in a romantic triangle between a pesky ex-girlfriend and an attractive refined English lady.
Night Cargo (1936)
Singapore is the setting for an exciting tale of divided lovers, loan sharks and murder. A heartbroken, all-American man (Lloyd Hughes) goes to work for Shark Moran (Walter Miller), unaware that they are in love with the same woman (Julie Bishop).
Road to Singapore (1940)
The first in seven films starring the comedic trio Bing Crosby, Dorothy Lamour and Bob Hope, Road to Singapore features Josh Mallon (Crosby) and Ace Lannigan (Hope) as best friends who attempt to flee to Singapore from impending engagements in America. However, they are stranded on the island of Kaigoon and rescue Mima (Lamour), a local dancer, from her tyrannical owner (Anthony Quinn), leading to a series of hilarious turn of events.