Exoticism, bacteriology, and musical numbers all collide in this lush, offbeat melodrama. Zarah Leander stars as a Swedish woman who leaves her native country behind for the romantic lure of Puerto Rico (with the Canary Islands filling in for the Caribbean). After 10 years of marriage to a cruel, controlling nobleman, the island paradise has become a personal hell—while the threat of a deadly tropical fever hangs in the air. Sirk downplays the story’s nationalistic message (then de rigueur in the Nazi-controlled film industry he would soon flee) to create a poetic human tragedy set amid a sumptuous world of glittering light and shadow.
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