Cast & Crew
In Port of Spain, Trinidad, Inspector Smythe investigates the apparent suicide of American artist Neal Emery. At the Cari-b club, where Neal's wife Chris works as a singer and dancer, Smythe informs her about her husband's death and asks about the Emerys' connections with wealthy Max Fabian, who had recently paid Neal a large sum of money. When Smythe suggests that a romantic tie exists between Fabian and Chris, she grows angry. The next day, Smythe summons Chris to headquarters, where he lifts her passport and informs her that the medical examination on Neal indicates that he was murdered. A local fisherman witnessed Neal's small boat at Fabian's landing and Smythe has enough evidence to arrest him. Smythe then reveals that the police are aware that Fabian is the center of a political group that buys and sells sensitive information, but lack hard evidence to convict him. Smythe suggests to Chris that she spy on Fabian for the police and provide the crucial proof needed to halt his secret organization as a way to avoid an ugly trial.
Later that afternoon, Neal's older brother Steve, a pilot, arrives from America and upon learning of his brother's murder, hastens to the courthouse where the inquest is in progress. When Chris testifies, she admits Neal spoke often of suicide, a lie that indicates her willingness to help Smythe. Steve follows Chris home, then angrily confronts her with the sordid newspaper accounts of a possible love triangle between Neal, Chris and Fabian. Smythe telephones Chris and warns her not to confide in Steve until his connections can be checked out. That evening, Steve apologizes to Chris and shows her a letter he had received from Neal asking him to come to Trinidad for a job. Chris is startled by the distinctive crest on Neal's letter and invites Steve to stay in Neal's room. Steve asks her if she will return to America with him, but she avoids answering.
The next day Steve goes to the Cari-b and pays Mr. Wittol, the owner and a cohort of Fabian, the money that Neal owed. Steve then informs Chris that he has decided to stay longer and asks her to show him the island. A few days later, Chris and Steve arrive at the house to find Fabian waiting to remind Chris of a dinner date, to which he also invites Steve. That evening at Fabian's, Steve notices the cocktail glasses carry the same crest found on Neal's letter. Fabian is startled by the unexpected early return of his house guests, Dr. Franz Huebling, his wife Veronica, Peter Bronec and Mr. Walters. After Steve recalls having read an article by Huebling on Germany's V-2 rockets, Fabian steers Chris to the patio, where he asks her to go away with him, but she demurs. Upon returning to Chris's house, Steve accuses Chris of being bought by Fabian.
Later, however, Chris tells Steve about her relationship with Neal and that there is nothing between her and Fabian. Steve admits he has fallen in love with her and asks her to return to the States with him, but when she refuses without explanation, he storms away. The next day, Steve takes Neal's letter to Smythe, insisting that it implicates Fabian, and becomes angered by Smythe's apparent disinterest. When Chris tells Smythe about Fabian's guests, he insists that she find out more information. Smythe learns Bronec is flying out that afternoon and arrives at the airport in time to see Bronec run over by a car. In his effects, Smythe discovers a key, which he passes on to Chris as means to get into Fabian's guesthouse. Steve, meanwhile, stays away from Chris's and after questioning a number of the local fishermen, is attacked by Walters.
Chris attends a party at Fabian's, which Steve crashes and makes accusations against Fabian. Chris hastily covers for Steve, then performs one of her club dance numbers, which infuriates Steve, who departs. Chris promises Fabian she will remain the night, then sneaks into the guesthouse and finds blueprints and figures. When the others return, Chris is forced to hide, accidentally leaving behind a handkerchief gift from Fabian on the desk. Before sneaking away, she overhears the group discussing plans to create a secret rocket launch site on the island, which will bring a large enemy country within striking distance of the entire United States. Meanwhile, Smythe grills Wittol about his involvement in Bronec's murder and Wittol confesses. Recalling the handkerchief, Chris slips back into the guesthouse, but it has vanished.
At the main house, Veronica presents Fabian with the handkerchief, which Huebling had discovered. Realizing Chris's involvement, Fabian and the group begin packing, intending to flee and force Chris along. Now aware of Chris's danger, Steve returns, and in the ensuing shootout, wounds Fabian. When Smythe and his men arrive, Fabian makes a final effort to escape but Steve kills him. With the ring smashed, Chris is allowed to depart for Chicago with Steve.
Virginia Van Upp
Best Costume Design
Affair in Trinidad
Director Vincent Sherman, freelancing after an extended stint at Warner Brothers on projects with such top female stars of the studio as Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Ann Sheridan and Ida Lupino, basically felt tricked into doing Affair in Trinidad. Cohn had given him the first pages of a treatment and secured his services before Sherman found out that nothing really existed of the rest of the story. Columbia contract writer Virginia Van Upp, who had written Hayworth's hit musical Cover Girl (1944) and produced her most iconographic film, Gilda (1946), was having personal problems herself and could not pull together the threads of a number of vague storylines she had created. After producer Bert Granet walked off the project and Sherman confronted Cohn with the lack of anything to work with, the Columbia head admitted to being backed into a corner by Hayworth's sudden unexpected return. According to her contract, he said, he had to use her or lose her. Under pressure from the studio's financial offices in New York, annoyed at having to pay the star $3500 a week for nothing, Cohn pressured Van Upp into concocting a story. Hayworth wasn't happy about the lack of a script either and threatened to walk out again, but Cohn reverted to his old strong-arm tactics, forcing her either to capitulate or risk another suspension. Nearly broke after her marriage to the profligate playboy and with two children to support, she relented.
This didn't make for a very productive shoot at first. In his autobiography, Sherman commented on Rita's mood - sad, lonely, lacking confidence and direction. He and Valerie Bettis, the noted dancer who choreographed Hayworth's routines and also played a role in the film, noticed that their star was out of shape after years away from dancing and needing serious toning and training. But Sherman also remarked that Hayworth hung in there, getting her body back in shape, working hard at the picture, and eventually the atmosphere on the set improved.
What finally came out of all this chaos was a brooding melodrama in which Hayworth, once again playing a woman who was not the wicked character she seemed to be, is a performer in a nightclub in Trinidad whose estranged husband is murdered. A love/hate relationship develops between her and her brother-in-law, who has come to the country at the urgent last request of his brother. He finds himself both attracted to the sultry woman and repulsed by what appears to be her collusion with the apparent killer.
If the set-up sounds vaguely familiar, that was intentional. Columbia deliberately planned to fashion the film along the lines of Hayworth's greatest success, Gilda, even to pairing her for the fourth (and penultimate) time with Glenn Ford, her co-star from the earlier film and her last picture before her marriage to Khan, The Loves of Carmen (1948). Sherman also admits to having borrowed liberally from Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious (1946), with its plot about a woman romancing a villain on behalf of a law enforcement official. But if Affair in Trinidad seemed to be a pale rehash of previous successes, audiences certainly didn't mind. With all the delays and problems, the budget had ballooned to $1.2 million. But upon its release, despite tepid reviews, fans lined up to see the most famous sex symbol of the 40s on screen again, and the picture raked in $7 million in domestic receipts alone.
Here's one other odd little tidbit about this film: the name of the villain, Max Fabian, is the same as the flustered producer character in the film All About Eve (1950). There is, however, no apparent connection between the two.
Director: Vincent Sherman
Producer: Vincent Sherman
Screenplay: James Gunn, Oscar Saul, Virginia Van Upp, Berne Giler
Cinematography: Joseph Walker
Editing: Viola Lawrence
Art Direction: Walter Holscher
Original Music: George Duning, Morris Stoloff
Cast: Rita Hayworth (Chris Emery), Glenn Ford (Steve Emery), Alexander Scourby (Max Fabian), Valerie Bettis (Veronica Huebling), Torin Thatcher (Inspector Smythe).
by Rob Nixon
Affair in Trinidad
Affair in Trinidad marked the return to the screen of Rita Hayworth after a three-year absence. Hayworth had been on suspension from Columbia for breaking her seven-year commitment to them upon her marriage to Iraqi prince Aly Kahn and subsequent relocation to Europe in May 1949. According to various news items in Hollywood Reporter, in September 1950, Hayworth resumed discussions with Columbia to reactivate her company, Beckworth Productions, in which the actress held a 25% interest. In July 1951, studio head Harry Cohn assigned Hayworth's "comeback" script to Virginia Van Upp, who had produced and developed the story for Hayworth's biggest dramatic success, Columbia's 1946 release Gilda (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50). By October 1950, however, Van Upp was released from the project by mutual agreement. According to his autobiography, producer-director Vincent Sherman assigned a complete rewrite of Van Upp's material to James Gunn. Oscar Saul was brought in later by Cohn to polish Gunn's script.
Sherman indicated that Bert Granet was originally slated to produce Affair in Trinidad, but that he withdrew due to script problems. Sherman noted that he was awarded a 2% interest in the film and a $10,000 bonus by Cohn for his contributions to the script and for providing a supportive atmosphere for Hayworth. In his autobiography, Sherman admitted that Affair in Trinidad borrowed heavily from the plot of RKO's 1946 film Notorious, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and Gilda. Hollywood Reporter news items indicate that in December 1951, Hayworth was again placed on suspension by Columbia for refusing to report to work. Hayworth issued a statement claiming she had never received a completed script, only a 60-page rough draft, and that she did not intend to return to work until she received a completed script. Hayworth was set to return to Columbia in mid-Dec, but discussions broke down again when the actress accused the studio of backing out of an agreement to release her from her contract upon the completion of Affair in Trinidad. Hayworth remained on suspension until early January 1952, when filming began, apparently without further incident.
Information from the CBCS indicates that Ross Elliott was cast in the role of "Neal Emory," but was later cut from the film. Costume designer Jean Louis received an Academy Award nomination for the film. Modern sources indicate that Hayworth's singing was dubbed by Jo Ann Greer.