Film Review: The Rains Came

therainscameWay back in 1939, the disaster movie genre was churning out the last of the big power movies of its era. One of the last, and technically most impressive is The Rains Came – a film that carries enough mellow-drama and disaster staples to cement its place as one of earliest e examples of how the genre would be defined.

The Premise

In a bizarre India where there are no Indians, a community is flooded first by rain and then by an earthquake shattered dam! See even then, you could throw as many problems as possible in a film!

The Disasters Faced

Water, earthquakes, floods, waves, buildings falling down, smoke inhalation from “sexy smoking”, plague, famine and camp fainting.

The Execution

The Rains Came clocks in at just over 100 minutes, which is lengthy for a film of its time but actually now days feels quite pacey. We’re introduced to various class levels which house characters that easily pre-date any Titanic story of being trapped in society! Thankfully there’s also some boozy men and some Indian folk, led by Tyrone Power who looks very dashing indeed, but is sadly not Indian – nor is he made up to be. Infact the lack of speaking natives is really the films biggest downfall, along with the I’m-so-sexy-smoking-a-cigarette scenes. Otherwise actually the film holds up remarkably well and there’s no musical numbers (hurrah!) although a song is used at some points. The big disaster happens around 45 minutes in and the film switches pace and tact to more of a plague movie for the final third which keeps the suspense over whom will get picked off until the end.

The Effects

The sets look excellent, especially the lavish temples and the flooded village looks impressive and expensive. The actual dam breaking and the wave works well because of the films black and white nature and the fact they’ve merged a real wave and miniatures all together. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – these effects still beat terrible TV CGI time and time again.

Why It’s Worth Watching

The Rains Came is interesting as it actually gives leading lady’s plenty of power and authority which is quite unusual for its time. Maria Ouspenskaya, who plays the Maharani runs the Indian temple delegates and demands and Myrna Loy actually takes head billing. Tyrone Power is the perfect gent for everyone to schmooze over and the film runs at a firey pace for the first hour. Drinking game can be every time someone smokes in a really over the top manner or whenever you look at Tom and Fern and think the age gap between them really is a bit too awkward.

Favourite Character

Tyrone Power and Maria Ouspenskaya really have presence in their scenes and are the likeable duo but I also have a soft spot for Fern Simon who spends the entire film chasing a man twice her age, then gets in a boat and rows across a flooded village for him only for him to tell her to have a kip on his living room floor whilst he sets off with Myrna the wench! Bless

Best Death

Got to be Lord Esketh being washed away as his house caves in – all whilst being told off by his servant!

Weirdest Moment

It has to be the seduction by cigarette scene. Not going to happen Myrna!


Whilst is hams it up with an overwrought score and dramatic fainting in places, high production values, a likeable cast and a multitude of problems to solve ensure The Rains Came is one of the best examples of an early era disaster movie.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: