Alternate Titles: "The Tiger Of Bengal", "The Indian Tomb"
Review Date: 6/20/16
Director: Fritz Lang
Cast: Debra Paget, Paul Hubschmid (Paul Christian), Walther Reyer (Walter Reyer)
Fritz Lang's final film is an exotic and visually dazzling romantic adventure that takes place in India. Unfortunately, the gorgeous sets and breathtaking scenery can't save the film from its weak script and B-movie trappings. Alan Burton (Paul Hubschmid) is an architect who has been invited to the Indian city of Eschnapur to bring Western medicine and science to its impoverished citizens. Along the way, he meets a dancer named Seetha (stunning Debra Paget) and falls helplessly in love with her. Unfortunately, Prince Chandra (Walther Reyer) has also fallen for her charms, which ignites a bitter love feud between the main players. But the prince has other problems to contend with as well, namely a power-mad brother who is plotting to overthrow his reign.
It's a great looking and beautifully filmed production, but the plot is hokey, the dialog is corny, and the logic is inconsistent. Seemingly random plot elements are introduced and then almost immediately discarded, as if they were part of a much larger story. At one point, Alan concludes that Seetha is not actually Indian at all, which has no bearing on the story whatsoever and is never mentioned again. The film also makes a point of releasing a colony of lepers into the city, but once they escape, we never see them again. Overall, it seems that much of the film exists solely for the sake of sensationalism, which isn't necessarily a bad thing - especially when the lovely Debra Paget is involved. Her radiant beauty is mesmerizing and her dancing is the highlight of the film. It's easy to see how the fate of a kingdom rests on her alluring charms. The action scenes are lethargic and weak, but entertaining nonetheless. Prince Chandra's torture scene is unintentionally hilarious due to its complete lack of energy and enthusiasm. Fans of Lang's earlier work may be disappointed, but fans of Ms. Paget will likely be delighted.