“She is not just A woman, some woman, she’s WOMAN! With capital W! “
And so Rita Hayworth is energetically described to Glenn Ford which explains the effect that she has on the men surrounding her. Following a four year absence from movie theaters, Rita, returned to Columbia Studios and reteamed with her most frequent leading man, Ford, in this tale of murder and intrigue set in the Caribbean. Signing on for the project was the sure hand of director, Vincent Sherman who also scored a producer’s credit.
The film opens up with Island Police Chief, Torin Thatcher, investigating an apparent suicide that will eventually be upgraded to a murder investigation, The dead man had a wife who just happens to be Rita Hayworth. She’s the most popular entertainer in town at a local nightclub. Time for our intro with the musical number “chic-a-chic boom-chic-boom” reminding movie going audiences that Rita still had those sexy moves on the dance floor ala Gilda.
It won’t take long for the plot to set it’s course. Radiant Rita turns somber when Thatcher tells her the news of her husband. He’ll seize her passport and practically accuse her of consorting with the man he’s really after in the murder of her hubby. Enter Alexander Scourby as a slick man of wealth living in Trinidad who of course has his eyes firmly set on the prize. Meaning Rita.
Thatcher is going to enlist Rita to aid him in bringing down Scourby. A one time war criminal who has somehow remained unscathed following the end of WW2. Rita’s going to find herself way in over her head nearing the film’s climax at the 98 minute mark.
Time to get Rita’s leading man involved.
Glenn arrives to see his brother only to learn of the tragedy but he’s not being enlisted by Thatcher therefore has no idea as to the truth though he quickly ascertains that Scourby has a dark side to his wealthy islander persona.
Glenn will of course fall for the beautiful Rita and if he was to feel any pangs of guilt about moving in on his dead brother’s wife he’s quickly set at ease when she lets him know they hadn’t shared a bed in over a year. That and it’s been a long time since anyone held her tight. But it will be a love-hate relationship till Glenn is set straight about Rita, her past and her relationship with Scourby.
The plot will pick up steam as does Glenn’s suspicions when at Scourby’s estate a group of suspicious people crash the dinner party. All of them are ex-Nazis though the script doesn’t come right out and say it looking to kick start the 4th Reich. Ford is quickly on to them when he recognizes the name of a military scientist in their ranks. Glenn had himself been a flyer during the second world war.
If this is beginning to have a Notorious feel to it, I tend to agree. Actually the film plays like that Hitchock-Grant-Bergman-Rains title crossed with an RKO special starring Jane Russell and Robert Mitchum. But don’t let that stop you. It’s rapid paced entertainment.
Having a reputation as a man of action by this point in his career, Glenn, won’t disappoint his fans and neither will Rita who towards the end gives us another musical number with plenty of hip movement and a smile that’s worth a million box-office dollars.
Having stepped away from movie making following her third marriage to Prince Aly Khan in 1949, Trinidad was Rita’s first film since 1948’s The Loves of Carmen, the third of five films that she would costar in alongside Glenn. For the record they are as follows, The Lady In Question (1940), Gilda (1946), The Loves of Carmen (1948), Affair In Trinidad and The Money Trap (1966). Following Trinidad Rita would star in one of her most famous titles Miss Sadie Thompson released in 1953.
Vincent Sherman is mostly associated as a house director at Warner Bros having helmed multiple features there throughout the 1940’s. He directed many of that studios top stars like Bette Davis (Mr. Skeffington), Humphrey Bogart ( All Through the Night) and Errol Flynn ( Don Juan). According to the IMDb his career suffered a setback during the communist scare that plagued Hollywood in the late 40’s and early 50’s. He’d rebound and later on move to TV directing episodes of The Waltons, Baretta and Trapper John M.D. among others.
The film’s heavy, Alexander Scourby, was making his feature film debut at the age of 39. He must have impressed the head office and Harry Cohn at how he verbally fenced quite calmly with hot under the collar, Ford. Just one year later he’d play the mob kingpin in one of Ford’s most memorable films, the Fritz Lang classic. The Big Heat. The actor would remain busy on screen up until his death in 1985.
Glenn Ford remains to this day one of my all time favorite actors and that’s thanks to my own father being a big fan of Glenn’s and the many westerns he populated. I frequently go back and watch his films and can proudly say I’ve introduced my own sons to films Glenn headlined like Jubal, 3:10 to Yuma and of course The Big Heat. Oh, and yes when they were youngsters we all sat down to see him play Pa Kent in the 1978 hit, Superman.
Affair In Trinidad has long been a staple of home video. It was released on VHS, DVD and more recently can be found in two sets that I’m aware of and have here on my own shelf. Mill Creek’s Rita Hayworth Collection on blu ray featuring 12 of her titles and the Indicator box set, Columbia Noir Vol. 2. Both sets are easy to recommend for different yet obvious reasons.
Let’s close with a look at that woman with a capital W and some chic-a-chic boom chic boom maneuvers.