Cast & Crew
While the Duchess of Beltravers travels to Bombay, India, jewel thief Gerald Meldrick has a perfect fake made of her famed "Star of Asia" pendant. Gerald then goes to India, posing as a Lloyd's of London detective looking after clients' jewels. Registering at the same hotel is Baroness von Duren, to whom Gerald is immediately attracted. Unknown to Gerald, the baroness is actually Anya von Duren, a thief who also has designs on the pendant.. Gerald soon becomes suspicious of the well-rehearsed Anya, especially when she playfully asks him how someone might steal the pendant. That evening, Anya arranges to dine next to the duchess and, pretending to be a friend of her relatives, Anya accompanies her to her suite. After the inebriated duchess falls asleep, Anya steals the necklace, after which Gerald sneaks into the duchess' room and replaces the real pendant with his fake. He then goes to Anya, takes the pendant from her and convinces her that he is letting her off to rehabilitate her. Anya's gratefulness soon ends when she discovers that he has switched the necklaces, and the next day she confronts him. Gerald suggests that they become partners and they narrowly escape arrest when police Inspector Cressney discovers the theft.
Forced to flee on a tramp steamer, they encounter the greedy Captain Chang, who soon receives a wireless offering a £10,000 reward for them. Gerald and Anya soon fall in love, then jump ship together after discovering that Chang plans to turn them in. In Hong Kong, Gerald and Anya are happy, despite their enforced poverty, and Anya dreams of a normal life. Gerald, however, insists that they would hate settling down. One day, Gerald, who was once a British officer, poses as "Captain Huston" in a scheme to confiscate money from a Chinese merchant accused of stealing from the army. Gerald commandeers some unsuspecting soldiers to help him and is so convincing that he is ordered to report to the Hong Kong Garrison for emergency duty. Because the Japanese army is advancing, all Europeans and friendly Chinese must leave nearby Chang-lin, and Gerald is ordered to lead a regiment there. He cannot leave the barracks, but arranges for Anya to meet him at Chang-lin. She is there when he arrives and the evacuation proceeds until Japanese troops march in and refuse to allow any Chinese to leave. Gerald confronts the Japanese colonel, then leads his men and the civilians through their ranks. Additional Japanese forces confront them on the road and a battle ensues. Gerald heroically risks his own life to destroy Japanese machine guns and is seriously wounded before the battle is won.
Several weeks later, as Gerald is released from the army hospital, he plans his and Anya's escape, unaware that he is to be awarded the Victoria Cross. Realizing that the army must now know that he is a fake, he wants to leave before the ceremony but cannot get away. After Gerald receives the medal, Inspector Cressney arrives from Bombay to arrest him, and Anya admits that she sent for Cressney after the army uncovered Gerald's subterfuge, but begged them to delay arresting him until after the ceremony. Gerald arranges for some soldiers to arrest Cressney and escapes. Cressney is furious until Gerald returns, admitting that he just wanted to talk with Anya before returning the pendant. He then asks his colonel to keep the medal until he can come back and enlist.
James B. Leong
Major G. O. T. Bagley
Edwin Justus Mayer
Edwin B. Willis
They Met in Bombay
Despite the fact that They Met in Bombay is set in India and China, it was actually filmed in California, specifically in Calabasas, Malibu Hills and at the Alhambra airport. However, parts of the story do reflect the contemporary struggles of Hong Kong in the 1940s. For example, Gable dresses like a British soldier in one episode in the film and then, forced to continue the charade, must help evacuate British and Chinese citizens from a village invaded by the Japanese. During WWII, many Chinese mainlanders took refuge in Hong Kong as the Japanese advanced. And eventually, the Japanese attacked Hong Kong in 1941, forcing the British to surrender the island on Christmas Day.
They Met in Bombay was the third film Rosalind Russell and Clark Gable made together. In the first two, Forsaking All Others (1934) and China Seas (1935), Russell wasn't Gable's leading lady. Joan Crawford stole his heart in Forsaking All Others and in China Seas, Russell played Gable's former girlfriend, who faced some tough competition in Jean Harlow. But given the opportunity, Russell genuinely enjoyed working with Gable and unlike some of his co-stars, was at ease playing love scenes opposite him. Legend has it that Vivien Leigh, for example, in Gone With the Wind (1939), begged producer David O. Selznick for fewer kissing scenes, because Gable's dentures had an unpleasant smell. Russell encountered no such problems and praised her co-star's romantic abilities. "No director ever had to give him directions in a love scene. He was a very graceful person...much like a ballet dancer. He was beautiful to play a love scene with," Russell commented. She also recalled how much difficulty she normally had filming romantic scenes. "Love scenes...(were) murder for me," said Russell. "The only man who could make a love scene comfortable was Clark Gable."
Off screen, Gable's love affair with wife Carole Lombard continued throughout They Met in Bombay. Their second wedding anniversary coincided with the film's shooting schedule, and Lombard arranged a surprise party for Gable on the set - catered by the famed Brown Derby restaurant. Another interesting bit of trivia is the unbilled appearance of Alan Ladd in a tiny part as a British solder in They Met in Bombay. Blink and you'll miss him.
Producer: Hunt Stromberg
Director: Clarence Brown
Screenplay: John H. Kafka (story), Edwin Justus Mayer, Anita Loos, Leon Gordon
Cinematography: William H. Daniels
Editing: Blanche Sewell
Art Direction: Randall Duell, Cedric Gibbons
Music: Herbert Stothart
Cast: Clark Gable (Gerald Meldrick), Rosalind Russell (Anya Von Duren), Peter Lorre (Captain Chang), Jessie Ralph (Duchess of Beltravers), Reginald Owen (General Allen), Eduardo Ciannelli (Giovanni Riccio).
BW-92m. Closed captioning.
by Stephanie Thames
They Met in Bombay
Working titles of the film were The Uniform and Unholy Partners. According to news items in Hollywood Reporter, Charles Ruggles was wanted for a role in the picture and Hedy Lamarr was to have played the role that was taken over by Rosalind Russell. Although under contract to M-G-M, Russell had not made a film at her "home" studio since The Women, produced in 1939. Portions of the film were shot on location at the Alhambra airport, Calabasas and the Malibu Hills. This was the third and last time that Clark Gable co-starred with Russell. They had previously appeared together in M-G-M's 1935 film China Seas, and Russell had a small part in the 1934 Gable-Joan Crawford picture Forsaking All Others (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.0708 and F3.1442).