Monday, September 24, 2012

Caravan (1946)

A writer!  Amnesia!  Quick sand!  Love triangles!  Revenge!  Gypsies!  Marrying people you don't love because you think the person you do love is dead! 

This movie is ridiculously full of movie cliches, but instead of driving me crazy, I actually found myself enjoying the convoluted combination.  I'm not entirely sure why either.  This isn't a good movie, by any means, but it is amusing.  Maybe it just tickled me that Stewart Granger was playing a writer? Maybe it's because the people making this film seem to be enjoying themselves?  Maybe I was just in an accepting and non-judgmental mood?

Stewart Granger plays Richard Darnell, an aspiring writer desperate to sell his novel so he can earn enough money to marry his childhood sweetheart.  He saves an older gentleman from thieves, returns him and his nearly-stolen jewelry home, and disappears into the night, not expecting any thank yous.   Richard is one of those rare Honest Men.  I loved that!  The older gentleman, (who is from Spain) however, tracks him down anyway.  Not only does he love Richard's book and offers to help him get it published, but he offers Richard a job transporting those jewels to Spain.  That's just the opening few minutes. Okay, there's a flashback in there to Richard's youth, showing how the lower class boy meets and falls in love with upper class Oriana, and how her wimpy but scheming and slimy upper class friend, Francis, resents Richard and covets Oriana for himself.  This rivalry, of course, carries into adulthood.

Sir Francis (Dennis Price) grows into a vile, loathsome creature who calls himself a man.  There doesn't seem to be any depths he won't stoop to to get what he wants, and he wants Oriana (Anne Crawford), though why, I'm not quite sure.  He certainly doesn't love her.  She loses all her wealth when her father dies, so she doesn't bring him any wealth.  I think he wants her simply to spite Richard, who has bested him at every turn his entire life.

Richard takes the job transporting the jewels, but being the honest sort, he puts his trust into a fellow "traveler" named Wycroft that Sir Francis sends along to sabotage and murder Richard.  The ratfink very nearly succeeds, and so Richard ends up severely wounded and with amnesia.  He's rescued by a lovely gypsy dancer named Rosal (Jean Kent), who falls in love with him (and therefore starts a second love triangle).

And then things get even more complicated and more cliche, and yet, it all ultimately worked for me.  It may get complicated, but it's also predictable, not necessarily in a bad way.  I found the conclusion satisfactory.

I really liked Stewart Granger in this one.  He's nice, sweet, and honest, but then he gets to show off his bitter and broody side later in the movie.  I'm quite fond of angry Stewart Granger.  He glowers and internalizes so well.  Dennis Price was appropriately slimy and nasty.  The two ladies were adequate, beautiful and fiesty and fought for what they want.  And I really love the name "Rosal."

All in all, I found this movie pretty entertaining.


  1. When I popped by to check out your newly-posted actor list, I saw that you had a new post up.

    I think the main reason you enjoyed this movie is because you were in need of a SG fix!! He is definitely looking mighty fine...especially in that bottom shot!

    1. hahaha! You could be right! :-D Yes, he got the memo about keeping his shirt unbuttoned in this one. :-D