They Met in Bombay (1941): Clarence Brown’s Adventure, Starring Clark Gable, Rosalind Russell, Peter Lorre

Clarence Brown directed They Met in Bombay, an adventure film, starring Clark Gable, in one of his last films before going to service in WWII, and Rosalind Russell early on in her career.

They Met in Bombay

Original poster

Gerald Meldrick (Clark Gable) and “Baroness” Anya von Duren (Rosalind Russell) are jewel thieves working separately in Mumbai (Bombay) in British-ruled India.

He’s posing as a Lloyd’s of London detective, while she’s pretending to be an aristocrat. Both are after a priceless diamond, the Star of Asia, owned by aging Duchess of Beltravers (Jessie Ralph).

When Gerald and Anya meet, neither sees through the other’s fake identity, but his amorous curiosity leads him to figure things out. He tricks her into stealing the jewel, then surrendering it to him to avoid prosecution. She catches on and angrily goes after him, but by then both are being sought by the law.

They are forced to team up and flee Bombay, with a dogged police inspector (Matthew Boulton) in hot pursuit. They stow away on a freighter bound for British-ruled Hong Kong, with the connivance of the dishonest captain, Chang, (Peter Lorre). They reach their destination by avoiding Chang’s attempt to double-cross them. Meanwhile, on the voyage, the pair have fallen in love.

This was the only teaming of Gable and Russell, who show no particularly strong chemistry onscreen.

Lana Turner was originally slated to play Anya Von Duren in the movie, then called The Uniform, but she was eventually replaced by Russell, and the film was released as They Met in Bombay.

The movie was mildly popular, but it did not do much for the career of Russell, who would become a reliable comedienne and major star a couple of years later with appearances in The Women, in 1939, and His Girl Friday, in 1940.


Directed by Clarence Brown
Produced by Hunt Stromberg
Written by John H. Kafka (story) and Edwin Justus Mayer
Music by Herbert Stothart
Cinematography William H. Daniels
Edited by Blanche Sewell

Production company: MGM

Distributed by Loew’s Inc.

Release date: June 27, 1941

Running time: 92 minutes
Budget $1,380,000
Box office $2,515,000