Cast & Crew
Julia, her fiancé Burton and his mother Katie, all Americans, leave their home in Bombay to visit Julia's family in a small village in India. When no one meets them at the bus stop, they walk to the family's empty, dilapidated home in the countryside. Julia sends Burton's mother to town for food, accompanied by an Indian servant she calls "Boy." While Katie is gone, Julia feels anger and shame because of her unconventional family. Burton comforts her and they are soon joined by Julia's slovenly brother Rault, who considers his sister to be nice but dull. Katie, meanwhile, is frustrated in her attempts to communicate with the local grocer until Julia's father Putsi, a self-indulgent artist and widower, assists her and secretly signals the grocer to include cigars for him. Putsi accompanies Julia's mother back to the house, where he argues that his need for freedom supercedes mundane matters such as the upkeep of the house. The conventional Katie busies herself with cleaning and cooking while fending off Julia's lecherous father. Later, Rault and Putsi reveal that the small income Julia has been sending home from her job is being supplemented by her younger sister, Jeanette, who is having an affair with local industrialist Molac. Julia is offended that Jeanette's affair is supporting the family, and she admits to Burton that she yearns for a cleanliness, order and discipline that her family finds intolerable. Jeanette arrives for dinner and becomes furious when she learns that Katie has unwittingly killed their pet chicken for the meal. Putsi and Rault console her by philosophizing about the inevitability of death, while Burton is clearly smitten by the tempestuous younger sister. That afternoon, Burton and Jeanette fall in love but Burton vows to remain faithful to Julia. Nevertheless, Burton seeks Jeanette out after dinner near a ruined temple that she uses as her private retreat. They return to the house together and inform Julia that Burton is breaking his engagement with her to be with Jeanette. While Jeanette taunts Julia to undermine her stoicism, Rault warns the lovers that the gods hate happiness and will destroy their love. Burton and Jeanette leave in the midst of a monsoon and struggle through wind and rain to reach her retreat. Jeanette dons an elegant white gown to impress her lover, but she then rejects Burton's touch and refutes his accusation that she is wearing a wedding dress. In time, Jeanette admits that the wedding gown was given to her by a former lover. Burton is angry that she would wear it on their first night together, but their ensuing argument is interrupted by the arrival of Rault, who again suggests that their relationship will never succeed. After Rault cites a Roman legend about the wife of a condemned man who cuts herself with the executioner's sword to allay her husband's fears, Jeanette proclaims that her love for Burton is so strong that she would forego having children so that she could devote herself to him. Jeanette then cuts her wrist to prove her love, but her passionate act is interrupted by the arrival of Boy, who informs them that Julia has attempted to kill herself. After a brief hesitation, Burton and Rault leave to help Julia. Molac then comes in out of the rain and brutally forces a kiss on Jeanette. Three days later, Julia has recovered and her father reflects that he is relieved the group will be leaving. After Jeanette unhappily marries Molac in a local ceremony, she finds Burton and tells him that she wed Molac because she knew that Burton was destined to marry Julia. When Burton voices surprise that she abandoned him so readily, she insists that she saw the truth the moment he left her to tend to Julia. As Burton, Julia and Katie drive off in a car, Jeanette, still wearing her wedding dress, walks barefoot up the steps of the great temple of Gomateswara. As Rault and their father watch her, Rault comments that she will never return. Putsi calls out to his daughter in fear, however Rault morosely attests that she is "done for."
Stafford B. Harrison
A. L. Khan
Louis H. Lavelly
M. N. Malhotra
Marjorie L. Round
M. A. Partha Sarathy
R. J. Unruh
Opening credits noted that Monsoon was "Filmed in its entirety in the actual locale of the story, India, and at Minerva Movietone Studios, Bombay." Opening cast credits differ in order from the end credits.
Information in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library reveals the following about the production: A script titled Wild Girl was first submitted to the MPAA by Allied Artists Productions in 1948. The correspondence indicates that it was to be produced by French writer/producer/director Jean Renoir. Joseph I. Breen rejected the script as being in violation of the Production Code due to its "glorification of an immoral woman" as well as to the script's inherent sexuality and irreligious tone. By 1950 the script had been rewritten and the production company was listed as The Film Group Inc. The extent of Renoir's participation in the final project has not been determined.
Despite major script revisions through 1951, by which time the film had been retitled Monsoon, the MPAA continued to protest the "glorified `love suicide' of your two principal leads" and the film's general immorality. Further correspondence in September 1952 indicates that, in addition to other minor changes, Breen was withholding certification pending reviewing the new footage, and suggested that two shots of the "naked" statue of Gomateswara should also be cut.
The film's press book contains the following written conclusion to the film: "Jeanette, instead of going back to her wedding guests, climbs the thousand stone steps to the feet of Gomateswara and leaps to her death. The car in which Burton, Julia and Katie are riding skids on the muddy road and smashes against a stone wall, Burton being killed instantly, the lovers thus being united in death as they could not be in life." Although "Jeanette's" suicide was implied, these scenes were not included in the viewed print. A February 25, 1953 Hollywood Reporter review noted the following: "Ultimately Ursula ends the triangle by diving from 1,000 feet before the huge statue of an Indian god." The statue of Gomateswara is located in Sravanabelagola, India, and has five hundred steps leading to the temple. Monsoon marked the American film debut of German-born actress Ursula Thiess.