Affair in Trinidad (1952): Vincent Sherman’s Oscar Nominated Melodrama, Starring Rita Hayworth as Club Singer and Glenn Ford

Reteaming Glenn Ford and Rita Hayworth, the romantic-thriller-melodrama Affair in Trinidad represents Vincent Sherman’s effort to recapture the chemistry and tension that prevailed between the two stars in the classic 1946 noir, Gilda.
Produced by Hayworth’s Beckworth Corporation, the film marks the star’s comeback after four years away from Columbia.

The opening number, danced barefoot by Hayworth to calypso music, while wearing a sexy dress, makes promises for an erotically charged thriller to follow, but, alas, it’s all down hill after that.

Set in Trinidad and Tobago while it was still a British colony, the tale centers on Chris Emery, a nightclub singer. One night she receives news from Inspector Smythe (Torin Thatcher) and Anderson (Howard Wendell), a member of the American consulate, that her husband Neil was found dead.  She is comforted by Neil’s friend Max Fabian (Alexander Scourby).

Initially, it seems that Neil committed suicide based on his gunshot wound and a pistol at the crime scene. On further investigation, however, they discover that Neil was murdered. Inspector Smythe and Anderson and inform her that Neil’s boat was seen outside Fabian’s property at the time of his murder.

Chris learns that Fabian is a crook who has built his fortune by trading information and aiding in treason and that Neil had been murdered due to his involvement with Fabian. Chris agrees to exploit Fabian’s love for her in exchange for invaluable information.

Meanwhile, Neil’s brother Steve Emery (Glenn Ford) arrives in Trinidad at the request of his brother who had written to him about a prospective job. Shocked to learn of his brother’s suicide, he sets out to investigate on his own.

After the inquest Chris and Steve spend some time together and she falls in love with him, but is unable to reveal the motive behind her friendship with Fabian.
Steve gathers proof of Fabian’s involvement in Neil’s death, leading to a climactic showdown.

Hayworth’s singing voice is dubbed by Jo Ann Greer, who later also sang for her in Miss Sadie Thompson and Pal Joey.

Ironically, despite bad reviews, the film’s box-office take at the box office exceeded that of Gilda, but it’s the latter film that went on to become a cult movie with some indelible images and songs.

Hayworth looks glamorous in Jean Louis’s Oscar-nominated gowns, and Ford acquits himself honorably, but the plot is convoluted and uninvolving.

Rita Hayworth as Chris Emery
Glenn Ford as Steve Emery
Alexander Scourby as Max Fabian
Valerie Bettis as Veronica Huebling
Torin Thatcher as Inspector Smythe
Howard Wendell as Anderson
Karel Stepanek as Walters
George Voskovec as Doctor Franz Huebling
Steven Geray as Wittol
Walter Kohler as Peter Bronec
Juanita Moore as Dominique
Mort Mills as Martin, Wittol’s Henchman
Ralph Moody as Coroner

Oscar Nominations: 1
Costume Design (b/w): Jean Louis
Oscar Context
The winner was Helen Rose for Minnelli’s Hollywood melodrama, “The Bad and the Beautiful.”