WARNING! Spoiler Alert.
George Cukor's 1956 picture Bhowani Junction takes place during the time where India no longer wanted to be ruled under the British after the Second World War. It follows the work of the British army trying to keep order (and not in the most humane ways) against the rebelling Indians who protest against the British rule.
Cukor tries desperately to make this a true telling of the plight of the Indian people's fight for independence, and in many ways he achieves this. There are some fantastic scenes which show hundreds of Indians protesting and being forced back by the British either by threat of violence, or, as in one scene involving a train protest, by throwing sewage water on the protestors. The scenes which highlighted the mistreatment of Indians were done well and being a Brit myself, I did feel embarrassed if this was actually true. However, like so many of Hollywood's films where they try to show a strong political or moral message, it slowly falls into the background of the film, whilst the focus centres on the two leading characters, and their romance.
There are a few more of Ava's films from the late 1950s I want to see as I have heard that they are more demanding of her talents. She also looks lovely here but noticeably older. I know Ava loved to dance and drink all night around the clubs of LA, and I don't blame her for loving that lifestyle. But I do wonder if it's already beginning to show in her face in Bhowani Junction. She still looks strikingly beautiful, and we know that although Colonel Rodney Savage (Stewart Granger) is rude and dismissive with her at the beginning, that he will fall in love with her by the end of the picture.
All in all, a decent film - I'd give it 3.5/5 - between worth a watch and very good. Many critics will disagree with me, but I enjoyed it more than I expected too (perhaps Granger's handsome face had something to do with that!). A lovely and believable romance until the finale, with two solid leads, and a good telling of the fight for independence by the people of India during that time. If it's on television one afternoon and you have nothing else to do, give it a go, I'm sure you will enjoy it.