Tanamera:  Lion of Singapore  (1989)

 

 

 

 

Director:     Kevin James Dobson, John Power.

Starring:     Andrew Adam (Baby Benji),  Jillian Axtell (Gwen),  Angus Banks-Stewart (Larkins),  Tushka Bergen (Natasha),  Brian Bird (Dock Official),  Christopher Bowen (John Dexter),  Anna Burstall (Victoria No. 1),  Anthony Calf (Tim Dexter),  Nicholas Cobb (Benjy No. 2),  Conrad Coleby (Benjy No. 3),  Robert Coleby (Bonnard),  Chris De Silva (Indian Agitator),  Ed Devereaux (Grandpa Jack),  Wallas Eaton (Shenton Thomas),  Lewis Fiander (Papa Jack),  Peter Gow (Ah Tin),  Penne Hackforth-Jones (Mama Jack),  Tony Harvey (Lt. Kirk),  Pamela Hawkesford (Vicky Bambridge),  Khym Lam (Julie Soong),  Anne-Louise Lambert (Irene),  Sinan Leong (Sonia Soong),  Torryh Lonsdale (Benjy No. 1),  Betty Lucas (Lady Bradshaw),  Bryan Marshall (Chalfont),  David Ravenswood (Sir Keith Bradshaw),  Don Reid (Cowley),  Bruce Spence (Hammond),  Gary Sweet (Tony),   Alan Wilson (Telfer),  Anthony Brandon Wong (Miki),  Darren Yap (Paul),  Tony Yeow (P.P. Soong).

TV-mini series; set in the waning days of the British in Singapore and Malaya, a forbidden romance begins between an Englishman and a Chinese woman

 

 

Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire film. 

 

Episode One. 

 

It's the Chinese New Year.  Fire crackers are being set off and hordes of people in costumes are dancing in the streets.

 

Singapore 1935.   The white Dexter family is very rich and are throwing a fancy ball for the rich and influential.  The Governor is congratulating Mrs. Dexter on how great the house known as Tanamera  ("the red earth") looks.   Grandfather "Jack" Dexter speaks with the young man named Bonnard who is on his first visit to Singapore.  Grandpa Jack tells Barnard that he is 50 years too late to be establishing a new business.  Bonnard doesn't believe it because Singapore is doing so marvelously well for the British colonialists.  Dexter admits that his company is a supreme example of a successful company in the Far East.  Grandpa says when he first came to Malaya the problems were immense:  heat, rain, disease, fever, pirates and tigers.  "Now everything's in the hands of pen-pushers, filing clerks and taxmen."

Mrs. Dexter goes in to her son John's room to check on him.  He is in the midst of changing his pants because something got spilled on them.  She throws him a pair of new pants and tells him to hurry it up because the Governor is here.  Mother leaves and now Vicky Bembridge comes out for a big laugh at John trying to get his new pants on. 

John's brother is Tim Dexter.  Tim is gay and is talking to a man who seems to be blackmailing him with this information.  He asks Tim to introduce him to some nice people. 

John  comes out onto the ballroom floor and sees his beloved Julie Soong at the party.  He waves to her and she smiles at him, but she does not go over to him.   John looks very disappointed.  A toast to His Majesty, King George V [reigned 1910-1936; followed by Edward VIII; followed by George VI, reigned 1936-1952] is made by Mr. Dexter, John and Tim's father. 

Tim runs over to John and John tells him that Julie Soong is back.  Tim says John and Julie played together as children, but a real relationship between them is prohibited.  The house of Soong is the richest Chinese business in Singapore.  The racial and cultural divide keep the pair apart from each other. 

Standing next to the two brothers are Natsha their sister and Natasha's boyfriend Tony.  Tim says the three guys are going downtown to Chinatown for a great time.  John just keeps staring at Julie, who sees him staring and smiles at him.  The three guys leave.  Natasha tells her friend Vicky that the guys are going out looking for trouble. 

Tim parks his expensive sports car right in front of the restaurant night club.   He and Tony go inside, while John goes to find a place to park the car. 

At the party the Governor says that he has been told that the problem with Germany will not be allowed to get out of hand.  Mr. Soong warns the Governor that the threat of the Japanese to the whole of Southeast Asia is much greater than that of Germany.  The Governor disagrees, but Grandpa Jack agrees with Soong.  He says:  "The Japs are dangerous.  And our wonderful naval base will be a white elephant."

*Mrs. Dexter asks Natasha where are the boys?  The daughter answers that the guys went out to get some air.  Mother looks at her with an exacerbated expression and walks away.  Tim gets involved in a gambling game and he and Tony lay their money down.  Tim starts winning handsomely and tells Tony to go warm up the car.  John slowly walks to the night club enjoying the New Year's atmosphere in the streets.  When the angry expressions on the Chinese gamblers' faces get gloomy and angry, Tim figures it's time to leave.  He starts leaving the club, but the Chinese gamblers chase after him.  Tim jumps into the car and Tony takes off.  The Chinese catch up with the fancy convertible and the two white guys have to fight off a couple of angry Chinese gamblers.  The whites knock off their attackers and get away, but now the Chinese see John on the streets and they go after him. 

John pushes the men in front away from him and runs for the night club kitchen.  There John is cornered and the Chinese start giving him a good beating.  The club is owned by the Soongs and Paul Soong, Julie's brother, intervenes on behalf of his friend Paul. 

Mr. and Mrs. Soong do not get along very well at all.  She tells her husband that he knows all about her reasons for discontentment.

Paul takes John over to his house.  On the way he asks Johnny if he knew Julie was back?  Yes.  At home Julie nurses John.  Julie says she knows Tim had to be involved in this trouble as always.  She urges John to stand up to brother Tim. 

John uses the opportunity to ask Julie about her five years in a boarding school in Australia.  She just says it was very interesting.  He asks her if she left a lot of boyfriends back in Australia?  She smiles and laughs.  And did she ever think about him?  She says she thought of all her friends back home.  Paul brings a stiff drink for John to throw down.  Julie says goodnight to John and then to her father. 

Mr. Dexter watches Tim as he goes to see his black mailer.  Tim has brought the man more money in an envelope. Mr. Dexter forces his way in past a servant and tells Tim to get out.  He also grabs the money envelope from his son.  Brandishing the envelope at the blackmailer, he says  "This is the last!"   He says he is breaking the hold of the blackmailer over Tim.  "This affair is either finished or you are!"  He throws the envelope on the floor and when the blackmailer goes to grab it, he stomps on the man's hand. 

Natasha and Vicky come down to a less upper-class tennis court to razz Johnny a bit.  She introduces her brother to her "friend" Mr. Bonnard.  They sit by the sidelines and have a glass of lemonade.  An Asian friend named Miki comes over and is introduced to Bonnard, but the two men know each other through their business dealings.  Bonnard says he has a business deal that John might be interested in, so Miki says he will call John to set up a meeting.  He excuses himself to go ask Julie if he and she can meet for a game of tennis, but the bottom line is that she says her father just wouldn't approve of that.  Paul arrives with the car to pick up Julie. 

Bonnard asks Natsha about Johnny and Julie and she says he is tasting forbidden fruit.  "Her father is a leader of the Chinese community, and we are the white barbarians."

At Tanamera Mr. Dexter keeps berating Tim about the blackmail affair.  The blackmail involves the homosexual activities of Tim with other men.  And now dad is going to send Tim away.  Dad says he has to leave because he has to protect the Dexter name.  Tim says he will never have any more to do with Telfer the blackmailer.  Dad says no because there will just be other escapades involving Tim.  If Tim tries to stay in Singapore, dad will disown him or he can go to England and join the Army.  The boat leaves in two weeks.

Now arriving at the Soong house is Keow Tak.  He meets wife Sonia Soong, who is his Aunt.  He then meets Paul and Julie.  Keow Tak is very taken at the sight of Julie. 

John shakes hands goodbye with Tim and mentions Tim's coming back.  This just irritates Time, so John says dad will calm down and Tim will be able to return.  Tim nastily says:  "You're such a smug little shit, Johnny."  And yet when Tim leaves he says he will be back. 

Bonnard and Miki head over to the Dexter Company.  During the day the streets always seem over-packed with people.  The two businessmen tell John that they want to buy a massive amount of earth-moving equipment.  Miki says they need so many machines because the Japanese have thousands of earthquake victims to resettle on one of the  Ōsumi Islands to the south of the Japanese mainland  --Yakushima. 

Father Dexter points out to John that they have to be careful of deals involving Japan for there would be trouble if the Japanese were to use the earthmoving equipment for the construction of military installations.  John says he has a written statement that the equipment is not bound for Manchuria, China that was taken over by the Japanese.  Of course, when dad  is handed the advance check he quickly decides that the deal is totally satisfactory.  Grandpa is there to congratulate John on the big deal. 

Natasha is naked in bed with a naked Bonnard.  She whines:  "I wish you loved me."   He tells her that the Australian Tony will marry her someday and he will fit right in with the Grand Dexter Design. 

Mrs. Dexter asks Natasha if she and Tony have fallen out?  No.  Were there any proposals?  Yes.  And what did Natasha say to Tony? Natasha virtually screams:   "Yes, I said bloody yes!"  Mom says that Tony Scott is a good sort of man, who is absolutely devoted to Natasha.  Natasha replies:  "He deserves better.  I don't really love him."   She pleads with grandpa to intervene with her mother, but grandpa says he thinks mom is right this time.  He tells Natasha it took him a long time to settle down, but if he hadn't, Natasha wouldn't even be here. 

The Dexters give a big engagement party for Tony and Natasha.  At the party, Johnny is introduced to Keow Tak. 

Johnny dances very close with Julie and she has to tell him:  "Not so close!"  Keow Tak is really staring hard at them. 

Mr. Dexter speaks with Bonnard and Keow Tak.  The latter thinks that there will be war both in Europe and in southeast Asia.  Dexter asks Bonnard what's his thoughts on war coming to Singapore, but Bonnard says we Swiss have to remain neutral.  Keow Tak hits it right on the head with the statement:  "That doesn't stop you from financing heavy machinery to help the Japanese military."  Bonnard says that the machines were for Red Cross work in re-housing earthquake victims. 

John tell Julie that later he will meet her outside by the summer house.  Keow Tak arrives to dance with Julie.  Johnny leaves.  He now talks with Paul who says that while he controls the Soong overall business, his father wants Keow Tak to take over the running of the day-to-day of the business.  Johnny asks Paul:  "Well, your father wouldn't force Julie into a marriage, would he?"   Paul says to Johnny:  "Perhaps you intend to marry her yourself."  Meanwhile, Dexter talks to his future son-in-law about taking over the management of the up-country businesses.

While Mr. Dexter announces the engagement, first Julie and then John go outside.  Keow Tak, who never seems to take his eyes off Julie, follows her outside.  Outside together, Johnny tells Julie that he loves her.  She tells him:  "Ssh!  Please Johnny!  Just to be discovered together would mean disgrace."  She says it would be impossible for her to marry him, but Johnny insists:  "I will make it possible."  The two of them passionately kiss each other.

Grandpa Jack leads the Congo line in dancing, but going up some steps, he falters and falls down.  Johnny notices the music from the house has stopped.  He rushes back and finds grandfather on the floor.  The Soong family is now leaving.  Johnny says goodbye to Keow Tak who nastily says to Johnny:  "Since coming to Singapore, I've adopted the Soong name.  I shall honor it.  Be assured that, if you touch her again, I'll kill you."  That shocks John and he doesn't know what to say. 

 

Episode Two. 

Singapore 1935.  John comes to the hospital to see his grandfather.  There he passes by Julie who is working as a nurse.  He goes into grandfather's room and grandfather tells him what John just did find out for himself.  Julie is working here as a nurse, but don't start anything or the Soongs will soon be using John's balls for their abacus.  He also shows John the news that Germany has now adopted the swastika as their official flag.  And nobody wants to stand up to the Germans. 

Natasha goes to see Bonnard again. 

John goes right up to Julie while she's working.  She asks him nicely to please leave because she's trying to learn the job.  John jokes around with her and makes her laugh.  As she laughs she bumps into Keow Tak at the hospital.  The ever watchful man tells Julie he just came by to give her a ride home.  Johnny and he exchange pleasantries and then Johnny leaves.  Keow Tak says he will come by everyday to pick up Julie from her work.  She wants to use the taxi, but he is insistent. 

Miki and Bonnard are speaking with John again about the Yakushima project.  The land has all been cleared and roads have been put in.  So now they will need prefabricated timber houses for Yakushima.  John is amazed that the call is for 5,000 such prefabricated timber houses.  He apologizes to Miki but says he has to clear this project with Government House.  In private Bonnard talks with John saying that the project is too big to let it be spoiled by some local officials.  John says he has to inform Government House because fulfilling the Yakushima project means slowing down the delivery of houses to the Air Force bases in northern Malaya.  Bonnard now offers his apartment to be used by John as a place for meeting Julie in private.  John jumps at the offer.  Bonnard gives John the key to his apartment. 

Keow Tak now hires a spy to watch Julie's movements.  He then goes over to Uncle Soong to say they should give less priority to shipments for the British because their business is associated with higher transportation costs.  Soong tells him:   "If British supremacy in Malaya is coming to an end, it will not do so without war.  And war means business."

John's father asks him if he has cleared the Yakushima project with Government House?  John tells him that there is no trade embargo with Japan.  Dad says that there is an unofficial desire to limit trade with Japan, but if John likes the deal, then he will sign it. 

John shows up at the tennis courts where he sees Julie and Paul.  The spy is there watching Julie.  Paul leaves and Johnny invites Julie to go dancing with him.  They go to Raffles Hotel.  [Named for the founder of Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles.]  While dancing Julie says she's scared because her father would kill her if he knew.  John says they will make up a good excuse.  He also tells her about the flat he has where they can meet in private.  A little later Julie grabs a taxi to take her over to the flat.  The spy is right there to follow her. 

John waits in the apartment for Julie.  Julie gets out of the taxi and goes up to the door of the flat.  She gets worried again and decides not to go in.  She turns around and takes a rickshaw back to the hospital.  John tries to catch up with her, but the rickshaw leaves before he can reach it. 

The Soong parents are fighting again.  Sonia asks why her husband wants to come with her to the party where he will be bothered by the noise created by people having fun?  She also says that she has just learned that he has taken another woman for his bed, another little actress.    Hubby actually says:  "That's none of your business!"  He asks what she wants from him and she says she wants to go home back to the United States.  The husband says she is home right here in Singapore.  And now they must hurry not to be late and offend the Dexters. 

At the party, a really tall man, Mr. Hammond, editor of the Tribune newspaper, talks with some of the guests.  Natasha says to Julie that she will be sad to leave Tanamera with its great parties.  She and her husband will be staying at Ara and she asks Julie to promise to visit her when she's at Ara.  Julie says, of course. 

Johnny sees Julie and confronts her.  She says she can't talk about her absence right here and now at the party.  Her mother comes over and asks Johnny to drive her somewhere and then take Julie home. 

When Johnny and Julie drive home, right there in one of the windows is Keow Tak intently watching them.  They get out of the car and Johnny asks her straight out if she really loves him?  She nods yes, but he wants her to say it.  So she says it in the Malayan way.  She gives him a tiny peck on the mouth and says I love you, Johnny.  He goes with her into the house.  And there in the house is Keow Tak with a German Shepherd attack dog.  He uses the dog to try and intimidate Johnny, who is naturally scared.  Julie hears the dog barking and yells for Keow Tak to stop that!  He yells at her:  "Get out or I'll hurt him!"  Julie and the servants leave. 

Keow Tak says to Johnny that he has violated the honor of the Soongs.  He says he knows all about the "brothel" at Abingdon Place.  Johnny says Julie is innocent because nothing happened.  Now Keow Tak reaches down to unleash the dog and Johnny starts running for cover.  The dog chases after him and catches up with him.  Julie grabs a pistol and shoots the dog dead.  Keow Tak tells her that he did this for her.  When father Soong comes in, he tells him that Johnny defiled his daughter.  Dad slaps Keow Tak, but the jealous man says the pair were followed and there is a special flat they have.  Dad says:  "You have insulted the son of an honored friend!"  He uses his cane to strike at Keow Tak while he tells the man to get out!  Keow Tak leaves. 

When Johnny gets back home, he gets chewed out by his father.  Johnny says Julie and he are in love, but dad says it's impossible for him to marry a Chinese girl in Singapore.  The Chinese will say that the Soong family has had its daughter dishonored by a white man.   Mr. Song will not let Julie marry Johnny.  John's father is really rather a bad father.  He cruelly says to John:  "You can be sure of one thing, my boy.  You'll never see your precious Julie again."  What a jerk!

Mr. Soong tells his wife that Julie must go away for awhile.  Mrs. Soong says yes, she will take Julie with her back to America.  He says no, but she says she already has her ticket. 

Johnny brings flowers for Julie to the hospital, but she is not there.  Very depressed he goes in to visit with grandfather.  He says that in two days Julie is headed for college in San Francisco, California.  And his father is sending him to London after Natasha's wedding.  Grandfather advises him to let it go.  It's over. 

Keow Tak goes to ask forgiveness from Mr. Soong.  Father pats him on the shoulder.  Johnny calls the house asking to speak with Julie, but Paul tells him it's not possible now.  Johnny hops in a taxi.  The taxi gets stuck in traffic, so Johnny buys a bike from a man on the street and starts heading out to see Julie before she leaves.  The car pulls out and passes by Johnny.  He gets off the bike and runs after the car shouting:  "Julie!  Julie!"  Julie starts to cry as the car pulls away from Johnny.

London 1936.  Johnny keeps writing Julie, but receives no replies.  This makes Johnny less effective at his work in London. Then, one day, he receives a letter from San Francisco, but it's not from Julie but from her mother.  Mother has been reading his letters to Julie and she asks that he not write to Julie anymore.  She says Julie has accepted that the separation is for the best and has promised not to respond to Johnny's letters. 

Miki comes to visit Johnny at his home.  Miki says he is taking Johnny out to a tennis party with some chums from Cambridge.  At the party Johnny meets Lady Bradshaw and her daughter Irene.  He played tennis with Lord Bradshaw, who says he's concerned about events happening in the news.  Lady Bradshaw says he must be referring to the love affair of the Prince of Wales with the commoner Mrs. Wallace Simpson of Baltimore, Maryland. No, that was not what he was thinking about. 

Irene seems to like Johnny and she gives him a tour of her house.  They put on some music and dance.  She asks him about the girl he loved back in Singapore.  Johnny says the girl is Chinese, and in Singapore, mixed liaisons are not allowed.

Lord Bradshaw asks Miki about what he thinks about the Japanese taking over in China.  Miki says that China's real enemy is not the Japanese, but the western colonials.  Irene's brother Bill is also there.  Lord Bradshaw says the German bombing of Spain in the Spanish Civil War has shown that England is vulnerable to air attack. 

Irene goes home with Johnny and they have sex together.

San Francisco, 1937.  Julie finally decides to write Johnny a letter.  She says she just had to break her promise to her mother and write to him.  She says Johnny may have another love now, but no matter what happens, she will always love him.

 

 

Episode Three.

San Francisco, 1937.   Mother sees Julie with her letter to Johnny and she asks her please do not send that letter.

London, 1937.  Tim pays a visit to the Dexter offices.  He speaks to a surprised Mr. Cowley, who tells him that his brother is not in the office yet.  Tim tells Cowley to tell his brother that he is he town for awhile and is looking for a party. 

The brothers see each other at a party.  Tim is very interested in Irene and asks if Johnny is going with her.  Johnny says she's just a friend.  Later Irene comes up to Johnny and tells him that Tim has her schedule for next week all booked up.  She is a bit upset that Johnny doesn't seem to be jealous in the least and tells him so. 

At work Johnny gets a call from Irene who says she simply must see him.  All dressed up in his army uniform, Tim comes into Johnny's office.  He tells Johnny that he and Irene are engaged.  Johnny tells him congratulations. 

Johnny goes to see Irene.  She tells him that she is pregnant and Johnny is the father. Tim and she have not slept together. 

Johnny goes to see Cowley for advice, without telling him he is talking about himself, but about a friend.  Cowley tells him that an abortion is out of the question for a gentleman.  He tells Johnny to tell his friend to take his medicine like they have all had to do. 

Johnny calls for Tim but learns that Lt. Dexter has gone already on exercises.  Johnny goes to Irene and proposes marriage to her.  He says he wants to take her back to Singapore with him.  What about Julie?, she asks.   That is over, says Johnny.  She says yes. 

Johnny and Irene break the news to Irene's parents.  Dad asks Johnny if his daughter is pregnant?  Yes.  Johnny apologizes to his future father-in-law. 

Johnny packs up his stuff at the office.  He tells Cowley that he is leaving for Singapore right after his wedding.  But as he speaks with Cowley he reads a telegram from Julie.  "Arriving London, en route Paris, Friday.  Hope to see you.  Love, Julie."  Cowley asks him if he is alright and Johnny tells him no.  He leaves the office immediately. 

Johnny starts drinking heavily.  There is a knock at his door.  It's Tim and he's mad about Johnny and Irene.  He slugs Johnny three times and calls him a bastard.  He then leaves.

Johnny goes to see Julie.  Paul greets him.  He asks Paul if he has told Julie about the wedding?  Yes. 

Johnny goes upstairs to see Julie.  He tells her she looks wonderful, just as beautiful as he remembered.  He asks:  "Did you really believe I could ever forget?"  They hug each other and she tells him to hold her tight.  She asks him if he really loves Irene?  He say no.  "I'll never love anyone but you."  Julie asks then why is he getting married?  Because Irene's pregnant.  He asks her why didn't she write him?  She says he had given her word to her mother.  But then she slams Johnny's heart by saying that he must forget her because it's all over.  [Then why did she bother even to see Johnny?]  Johnny says goodbye.  She runs to him and they kiss.  Then Johnny leaves. 

Singapore, 1938.  Johnny and Irene are in Singapore.  Irene is repulsed by the heat and the over-crowded streets.  Keow Tak sees Johnny returning with his new bride Irene.  They head for Tanamera.  They meet all the servants lined up in front of the house and then they go in and see the Dexter family. 

When Irene opens one of her windows, a monkey is right there in front of her on a tree branch.  The monkey jumps toward her and she screams out for Johnny.  Johnny runs in to tell her that it's only a monkey.  Yes, a monkey that frightened her.  That kind of thing doesn't happen very often in London.

Soong and Keow Tak get together with the Dexters for business.  The British want to build a training base near Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean and controlled now by Australia and they want the Soong Company to supply stores.  They come to an agreement.

Irene is still spooked out by Singapore.  A gardener kills a cobra snake and Irene feels sick when he holds it up to show her. 

Irene gives birth to a baby boy, Benji.

September 1939.  Chamberlain says over the wireless:  "This morning, the British Ambassador in Berlin handed the German government the final note stating that unless we heard from them by 11 o'clock that they were prepared at once to withdraw their troops from Poland a state of war would exist between us.  I have to tell you now that no such undertaking has been received and that consequently this country is at war with Germany."  Grandpa tells Johnny:  "I told you so."  They also talk about Julie getting out of France just in time.  She is now working again at the local hospital. 

Julie and Paul and Irene and Natasha see each other at the movies.  Natasha introduces Irene to Julie.  Natasha tells Julie that she must come to Ara and Julie says she will as soon as she gets some time off from the hospital.  Alone with Natasha, Irene says Johnny didn't tell her she was so beautiful.

Irene complains that Johnny can't just cancel from going to Miki's party, but Johnny says that the Japanese are now the enemy of the Chinese and they have to respect their feelings toward Japan.  And now Irene vents her anger against Singapore with all its heat, jungles and bugs.  She says:  "It's a horrible, stifling, stinking, sweaty dump!"

Ara Estate, Malaya, 1940.  Over the wireless comes the new that the Germans say they have fought their way into Kiev.  The driver for the Scotts has to stop on the dirt road as two men discuss an accident they just had.  The driver walks over to talk to the men and two men come out of the jungle and steal the driver's rear two wheels off the car.  The driver leaves after the men tell him to leave.  He gets very disgusted when he finds his wheels missing. 

Tony returns from the rubber plantation jungles and sits down in the living room with his wife and Julie.  Natasha complains that their driver is already two hours late.  A policeman arrives at the house. 

Johnny, Irene and Benjy arrive at Ara.  Natasha welcomes them to her home.  Everyone says hello to Julie. 

Johnny goes out to see Tony in the rubber fields.  Tony complains about a plantation man who just the other week beat up one of his own workers.  His name is Rickie Sando.  Tony says that was both dangerous and stupid and the guy's place is not far from Ara. 

Johnny speaks lowly to tell Julie that for him nothing's changed.  Tony tells them he will bring the car around.  The group goes dancing at KL. 

There are some men in the bushes watching the dancing.  Tony and Irene step outside and he asks her if she likes Singapore?  She says she absolutely hates it:  "I just don't belong in the tropics."  Several shots are fired at the club goers.  They dive for the dance floor.  Just then three policemen arrive and start searching around the estate.   The police chief Bob tells Tony that he was just coming up to find him.  He says they already had a couple of incidents like this one.  He thinks this part of the strikers' plans is to keep the police busy.  Bob urges everyone to go back to their bungalows. 

In private Bob tells Tony he will take Tony over to the Sando place because they got a call for help from Ricki.  Ricki is heading over to the Ara Estate, but he runs out of gas.  Now he's got trouble because strikers are chasing after him.  He gets some gas in his car from a gas can, but has to grab his rifle and starts running for they are getting too close for comfort.  Ricki arrives at the Ara Estate, but the others are at KL dancing.    He tells the servant to open the gun case.  Meanwhile, the strikers pour the gas from the can onto Ricki's car and set it afire.  The car soon explodes in flames.  Tony's group is returning home from the dance.  With them is police chief Bob. 

Bob steps out and asks the strikers to let them past.  Their leader says that they want Sando!  The man spits on Bob's shoes and Bob slaps him for that.  Bob gives the strikers 30 seconds to get off the Ara Estates and turns his back on them to go back to the car.  The leader uses the opportunity to throw a machete into Bob's back.  Tony gets back in the car and starts driving through the strikers.  The leader grabs Bob's pistol and starts firing at Tony's car as it speeds away.  Johnny and Julie drive away but the leader now starts chasing after their car while firing the pistol.  The leaders shoots out their back tires.  Johnny stops the car and both passengers rush out of the car and start running for their lives.  They head for Tony's place.  The leader fires at Johnny, but misses. Before he can get another shot off, Johnny turns around and bowls the leader down.  Johnny then starts running off again.  Other strikers are after them now. 

Tony hears the striker fire the police pistol and goes outside with his rifle.  As the striker is about to hit Johnny or Julie with his machete, Tony shoots the man dead.  Now Johnny and Julie hug each other very closely.  Then they hold each other tighter.  As they do this, Irene sees what they are doing from the door of the bungalow. 

 

 

Episode Four.

Ara Estate, Malaya, 1940.  Julie now leaves the Ara Estate. 

Fort Canning, Singapore, 1941.  The news of the day is that there is the possibility of an invasion of southeast Asia by Japan. 

At a military briefing the officer says that Fortress Singapore is nearly impregnable.  It is too hard to be attacked from the land because of the terribly thick jungle and any seaborne invasion would be stopped by the heavy guns along the seacoast of Singapore.  Nevertheless, wives and children should be sent to some safer country. 

George Hammond and Johnny talk about world news at a restaurant table.  George says the Japs are certainly raring to go.  They've built two new airstrips in what was French Indo-China.  And Malaya is just there for the taking.  Johnny thinks George is exaggerating, but George tells him the Japanese are definitely coming to Malaya.  The Japs have been training soldiers in jungle warfare for months on an island south of Japan known as Yakushima.  And, boy, is Johnny shocked at hearing the name of Yakushima which Johnny helped build. 

Bonnard is sending out messages, probably to the Germans or the Japanese.  Johnny rushes over to see Bonnard.  He tells the spy that Yakushima turned out to be a Japanese military training camp.  He wants to know if Bonnard knew this from the start?  Bonnard says of course not.  Johnny asks where's his partner Miki?  Miki is in Tokyo.  (Miki is out scouting and taking pictures of Malayan sites for the Japanese.)

Johnny learns from his father that Cowley is dead.  Dad says he has to get back over to London. Furthermore, dad wants to get Natasha and her daughter Victoria, Benjy and Irene out of Singapore.  They have relatives in New York. 

Dad also wants grandfather to go to New York.  Grandfather, however, says absolutely not.  Johnny takes grandfather's side.  He says he needs someone here who he can depend upon and that's grandfather. 

Keow Tak at the table with the Soong family says that the Dexters are moving out their women and children.  He says it's too bad the rest of the whites don't go with them.  Paul doesn't care for that remark.  Julie leaves the table early and goes to her room to write letters.  Dad comes into the room and says that he wants her to have more patience with Keow Tak.  He is sure Keow Tak is a good man and he would like Julie to show him a bit of affection.  Julie doesn't like that idea at all. 

The Dexter women and children are getting ready to leave Tanamera.  Grandfather gets a little emotional seeing them leave. 

The news is of troops being moved to Singapore to protect it from the Japanese.  George Hammond complains to Johnny that there are 90,000 troops around Singapore but only a handful of them are jungle-trained.  He also tells Johnny that they are all sitting on a giant bubble of rancid hot air.  Johnny sees Julie and Paul.  After a few remarks Paul leaves to see a new girlfriend.  Julie and Johnny go to eat inside Raffles Hotel.  He tells her that things look murky for them because the Japanese are coming. 

At night Japanese airplanes start bombing Singapore.  Tanamera is hit and Johnny hustles to get grandpa downstairs. 

December 1941.  The Japanese hit Singapore before they hit Pearl Harbor.  The next day people start putting the city back into shape and tending to the wounded.  The Japanese land a small force on the east coast of Kota Bharu in northern Malaya.  In Singapore there were 42 killed and 80 injured.  News arrives that the Japanese have attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and the American casualties are heavy.

A warden examines Tanamera and tells Johnny to sleep in a smaller, less conspicuous building than Tanamera. 

Johnny goes down to enlist in the army to fight the Japanese.  The man in charge, Chalfont, says he's not sure if Johnny is soldiering material.  Johnny asks doesn't the army want more men?  The rude fellow says the army doesn't need more cannon fodder. 

Johnny moves into a small place and Julie and Paul bring him some house warming gifts.  Johnny gets Julie alone and asks her to come again but this time not with Paul.  Julie acts as if this is just not possible.  He kisses her and she says she will speak to Paul.

In Singapore the British ships Prince of Wales and Repulse become the first capital ships to be sunk solely by air power on the open sea.

The officer who was very rude to Johnny, Chalfont, now comes to pay him at visit at his new home. He tells Johnny that there's a good chance of the Japanese taking over in Singapore.  The officer adds that there's nothing that can save Singapore.   He tells Johnny to get his gear together and then he will show Johnny how to set up the return match with Japan. 

The officer says they are going to be organizing resistance for when the Japs capture Singapore.  The men will be taught jungle fighting.  The officer tells Johnny not to tell anyone, not anyone, even his wife that Johnny is working for the army.  He will train with the guys four hours a day.  If he survives the course he will be made a captain in the army, but no one will know about this in civilian life. 

Johnny is put through the training with everyone else.  He is totally worn out and passes out on grandpa's bed in the hospital.  Grandpa tells Julie that this war will change many of the old ways.  Julie says she doesn't think so.

The Japanese continue to move down the Malay Peninsula toward Singapore.  They fight against many troops from India.

Johnny goes for Christmas dinner to the Soong house.  There Keow Tak upsets everybody again by harshly criticizing the British plan not to provide enough men and equipment to stop the Japanese advance.  He says the Malayans need to be armed immediately to fight the Japanese who are only 200 miles from Singapore.

Grandpa and his servant sneak out of the hospital to go back to Tanamera.  The two men start talking and drinking heavily. 

At a dance Julie asks Johnny to go with her somewhere away from Malaya.  She says this time they will really run away.  Heading down the stairs they kiss each other several times. 

Another air attack is starting.  The people head for the shelter or head home.  At Tanamera grandpa just keeps on talking right through the bombing.  A bomb hits close to the two old men and both are killed.  Johnny and Julie head through the streets of Singapore.  They stop at the beach, find a secluded spot and make love to one another.  (brief nudity)

 

 

Episode Five. 

Singapore, 1942.  A funeral is held for grandfather Dexter on the front lawn of Tanamera.  Johnny, Paul and Julie are in attendance.  Johnny's superior officer shows up at the end of the ceremony and he tells Johnny the Japanese are way ahead of schedule and will be in Singapore soon.  Johnny is to tidy up his affairs and be ready to move soon.  And not a word to anyone about this.

Johnny picks up Julie in his car after some more bombing of Singapore.  They go to Tanamera.  They make love.  (brief nudity)  Keow Tak goes to the hospital to see Julie, but a fellow nurse covers for her and Keow Tak walks away. 

The next day Tim comes to Tanamera and finds Johnny sleeping under some tables and a mattress.   He looks around at all the clothes on the floor and checks for Julie. She is taking a shower with her back turned toward Ted.  He watches her back for awhile.  This makes him a bit bitter again at Johnny because obviously Johnny is not putting his wife's concerns at the top of his priority list.  Tim says he's on official business.  He is looking for the Bonnard fellow.  Tim says the fellow is a German agent for the Japs.  He says perhaps Bonnard has a flat in town.  Johnny pretends that he can't help his brother.  Tim leaves. 

Johnny rushes down to Bonnard's flat.  He pulls out a pistol and goes inside only to find Bonnard dead on the floor.  Behind Johnny comes Tim.  He asks Johnny if he came to get the Dexter file from Bonnard dealing with how the Dexter Company helped the Japs build bases in the Pacific?  Johnny says it was business and how was he to know what would happen?   Tim switches over to tell his brother that sweet sister Natasha was sleeping with Bonnard.  He shoves the Dexter file into Johnny's mid-section and tells him to get rid of the damn file. 

Singapore is getting to be a real mess after all the bombings.  A woman cries over her dead boy in the streets. 

Keow Tak tells the Soong men that he has transferred much of their assets to foreign banks for safety.  He now asks Mr. Soong to use his influence on Julie to get her to marry him.  He cannot win her over all by himself.  Julie needs to be told what the proper thing to do is.  "For the future of the business, we should marry quickly."  Keow Tak leaves. 

More Japanese planes are headed for Singapore.  Johnny goes down to see George Hammond.  He tells Johnny to go get Julie and then get out of Singapore.  So George tells Johnny to at least get Julie out of Singapore because the Soong family is a marked one.  Old man Soong was giving money to help the Chinese fight the Japanese in China and then Keow Tak diverted the funds to the communists in Malaya to fight the Japanese. 

The Japs bomb the naval base again.  A lot of wounded men come into the hospital.  Mr. Soong shows up at the hospital. He goes over to talk with Julie.  He tells her that he feels she has been distancing herself from the family.  Julies says she has not.  She asks him what he wants from her?  He says:  "You must leave Singapore as soon as possible and marry Keow Tak before you go."  Luckily, another nurse calls for Julie to help her.  Julie tells her father that she will give him an answer soon. 

Julie goes to see Johnny.  He sees that she's been crying. 

Julie tells her father that she does not love Keow Tak.  He says love does not matter.  She says she can either leave or marry Keow Tak.  She will let her father choose for her between a life and a death.

Johnny goes to tell the Governor of Singapore that they must destroy the Chinese business firms as well as the British firms so that the Japanese cannot use the Chinese equipment to aid in their war cause.  The Governor seems to be just out of it and doesn't completely understand the import of what Johnny is telling him.  When a messenger tells the Governor that the Japanese are extremely close now, he takes the news as if it were nothing special or different.  He tells Johnny to put his pets down because that's of great importance.  Johnny just gets up, says thank you and leaves. 

Mr. Soong tells Keow Tak that Julie let him make the decision for her and he has decided to let Julie leave without marrying Keow Tak.  Now Keow Tak takes his anger out on Mr. Soong, insulting him. 

Johnny and Julie are happy being together for awhile, but Johnny warns her that they only have a few more days left before the Japanese take over.  He insists that she has to leave Singapore.  To get her out of Singapore Johnny goes to see Tim's old blackmailer.  The guy tries to get payback on the Dexters treating him roughly, so he denies the exit visa for Julie.  Johnny gets so mad that he slams the file drawer on the man's hand and keeps it there until the man signs. 

Now Johnny has to brave another Japanese bombing raid to get Julie onto the ship.  The Japanese troops are coming in on the back of trucks as Johnny gets Julie on the ship.  Johnny sees his brother Tim in a jeep pass by him and Julie and he yells out to try to catch a ride with him to the docks.  Tim stops and picks them up.  They stop at the hospital to get something and the Japanese are catching up to them.  Tim hides so the Japanese won't see him.   The Japanese go into the hospital and start killing the doctors and patients.  Everyone in the hospital starts running for the exit doors.  Johnny and Julie are among the runners.  They hide behind a screen. 

The Japanese come in and start moving out the sick patients.   They leave one soldier behind to guard the area.  Johnny is able to get the scissors down from atop a side table.  He sneaks up behind the lone guard, grabs him and plunges the scissors into his back.  Now he has a Japanese rifle complete with a long bayonet.   He and Julie start coming down the outside emergency stairs.  They see Tim and they motion to each other what the plan is.  Johnny takes the bayonet off the rifle and moves down to where he can jump onto the back of the Japanese guard.  He jumps onto the guard and kills him, but now more Japanese are coming down the street.  Tim and Johnny start shooting the Japanese soldiers.  Tim is wounded in the exchange.  Johnny goes to help his brother.  He holds onto Tim tightly, leaving Julie with the job of shooting a Japanese attacking them with his samurai sword.  Julie shoots the soldier.  She then tells Johnny that Tim is dead.  Johnny and Julie take off in the jeep headed for the docks. 

More Japanese planes arrive and strafe the docks.  A woman with a baby just ahead of Johnny and Julie in line gets killed.  Julie grabs the baby and she tells Johnny to get on the ship with her.  Johnny says he can't.  She says to leave the fighting to the soldiers and now Johnny has to tell her he is a soldier.  He explains that he couldn't tell her before.  He kisses her and forces her up the gangway. 

Johnny's commanding officer Chalfont grabs him and tells him:  "Captain Dexter, its time to go." 

Malaya 1943.  Japanese in a truck drive out of Singapore into the jungles.  They use a local contact as a guide for them.  Johnny and two soldiers are out there.  The guide calls out for the troops, but the Malayans stay hidden.  Because the technique doesn't work, the Japanese kill the guide.  Johnny and his two men return to their base and tell commanding officer Chalfont that they lost their local contact.  Johnny says:  "If Satou keeps putting the fear of God into those kampongs [native villagers], we'll lose our food as well as information."  Everyone agrees that they must do something to eliminate this Captain Satou. 

There's a new fellow in camp.  It turns out to be Tony Scott,  Johnny is very pleased to see him again and he introduces Tony to fellow soldier Ah Tin.  Johnny and Tony go into a shelter to talk.  The cook, called Cookie, brings them some food.  He used to cook at Raffles Hotel. 

Johnny, Tony and Ah Tin set up a bomb along the road for Satou, who drives down the road every day on his way to lunch at the Club.  A truck comes along with Japanese soldiers and a civilian work crew to work on the road. Everyone jumps out of the back and the civilians get to work under the supervision of the soldiers.  Ah-Tin recognizes one of the road workers as his brother.  And now here comes Satou in his jeep.  Ah-Tin says they can try again tomorrow, but Johnny says they can't retrieve that bomb, so it's got be now.  When the jeeps stops, Tony tells Johnny to set the bomb off.  Ah-Tin tries to stop Johnny, but Tony threatens to shoot Ah-Tin.  Johnny sets off the bomb and the five or so men in the group down below them gets blown up. 

Now Ah-Tin says Johnny killed his brother:  "No more go with you."  The surviving brother starts to run off.  Tony tells Johnny to shoot the man, but Johnny just hesitates.  Tony fires his machine gun at the man but they don't know if they even hit Ah-Tin.  Ah-Tin is wounded, but will survive.   

Chalfont is very disappointed that they didn't kill Ah-Tin.  He now introduces a new replacement to Johnny and Tony.  The replacement is none other than Keow Tak. 

 

 

Episode Six. 

Allied Forces Hospital, Kandy, Ceylon, 1944. Julie works as a nurse at the hospital.  She hands a letter for Johnny to a fellow named Jeff that is to be a contact with the guerilla forces in the jungles outside Singapore.  She thanks him for taking the letter.  Julie works with a handsome doctor. 

Malaya 1944.  Johnny and Keow Tak are soon at each other throats.  Johnny wants to concentrate on destroying roads while Keow Tak wants to go after the railroads.  Keow Tak says that Johnny is picking the easier target because he has lost his nerve.  Johnny goes after his enemy, but Chalfont stops him.  Chalfont sides with Johnny and says they will first take out the trucks at a depot and then they will start hitting the roads.  He also wants the men to destroy the bridge on the Kali River.

Johnny, Tony, Keo Tak and others go to the depot to plant bombs underneath the trucks.  They do the job and return, but Johnny is delayed, so everyone must wait for him.  Tony and the others stand up and shoot through the wire fencing at the Japanese soldiers.  Johnny jumps from under the truck and starts firing too.  Johnny runs right through the gate of the depot killing the two guards there.  Only one guerilla soldier was wounded.  Keow Tak says they will now attack the Kali River bridge, but Johnny says no.  The reason is that they lost too much of their explosives.  Keow Tak says there's still enough to blow the bridge.  Johnny says no and Keow Tak accuses him of cowardice.  Johnny strikes the disgruntled soldier with the butt of his automatic weapon.  Keow Tak gets up and tries to kill Johnny with his knife.  Tony manages to stop Keow Tak. 

In Ceylon it looks like Julie and the baby boy named Steven have settled into a rather domestic setting with the handsome doctor.  The doctor says he thought that Julie would marry the bloke she left behind in Singapore.  Julie says no, because he is already married and his wife and son are in America.  And no possibility of a divorce?  Julie says no.  She says that even now their families wouldn't allow a mixed marriage.  [Except perhaps for marriage with a white Australian doctor?  Not too impressed with Julie's behavior.]  Being now a bit hypocritical judging from her past behavior, Julie says that Johnny's wife and child have to take precedence regardless of how she or Johnny feel. 

Jeff arrives at the guerilla camp.  Colonel Chalfont is very happy to see him again.  Jeff brings some good news.  The Germans are in full retreat and the Americans have won important battles in the Pacific. 

Johnny reads the letter from Julie.  She says she thinks of him everyday and is very proud of him.  She also writes:  "We broke all the Singapore rules when we lived as man and wife."  Johnny complains to Tony that there's nothing in the letter about their future.  "She's met someone else."  Tony says no.  Johnny says he wants to marry Julie after the war is over. 

Before Jeff leaves, Johnny asks him to tell Julie that nothing has changed, he loves her and they will be together not to be parted by anything or anyone. 

Chalfont, Tony and Johnny have a nice celebratory dinner served by Cookie who wears a black bow tie around his neck for the occasion.  Keow Tak sees the celebration and it makes him angry. 

The celebratory dinner is because Col. Chalfont is moving on.  Colombo has made up a plan for the withdrawal of Japanese troops from Malaya.  He is going to travel around Malaya and when he is through he will give a report into Colombo to help improve the plan.  The men congratulate the Colonel.  More good news is that planes will be dropping supplies by parachute to the guerilla units in Malaya.  He now warns the guys that they must be careful not to let any of the goodies fall into the hands of the communists.  

When Cookie starts returning to the kitchen, Keow Tak stops him, pulls off his bow tie and slaps him hard on the left side of his face.  Cookie holds the side of his face in pain, but he says nothing to Keow Tak or anyone else. 

The Colonel tells the men that their new boss will be Major John Dexter.  That brings a good laugh all around and the others congratulate Johnny.

Jeff rides his bicycle down the dirt road in the jungle.  He tries to rush past a somewhat hidden broken down truck the Japanese are trying to repair.  The soldiers shoot Jeff off his bike.  Jeff is dead. 

Julie and the doctor watch a movie with the staff and patients. 

An air drop is made near Johnny's camp.  The men quickly round up the equipment.  Keow Tak, however, has his Malayans hide much of the gear for use by themselves and the communists.  Johnny figures they only retrieved one-third of what was dropped.  And they did not get a radio. 

Tony and Keow Tak go for a bath by a small waterfall.   Tony asks Keow Tak what will he be doing after the war?  Keow Tak says there will be another war to fight, but this time Tony will be on the other side.  He also says yes he does want to kick out the likes of Tony from Malaya.  He says it's nothing personal.  Keow tak says one day he will go back to Singapore, but only after it's free of European control.

Johnny tells Tony and Keow Tak that he just learned that the Japanese are going to hold a high-level conference at the Ara estate in one month.  They decide to attack Ara when the time comes.  Meanwhile, Johnny is leaving to reestablish contact with their agents in the area.  Tony doesn't like it one bit saying you can't trust anyone in camp anymore.  Johnny leaves with two of his men.  They soon run into a small village, but no one seems to be around.  The men get their weapons ready to fire.  The Japs launch an ambush.  The fighting is intense.  One of Johnny's men is killed.  Johnny and his remaining soldier dive into the river and use one side of a boat to float downstream as they spray the enemy with rapid fire. 

May, 1945, Ceylon.  Julie announces to the patients that the war in Europe is over.  A big celebration starts.  Julie dances with her doctor. 

Johnny is found by someone he knows, a villager named Yeop.  He tells Yeop that the Japanese knew they were coming.  Johnny has been wounded and the other soldier and Yeop paddle him downstream to the village.  The major is going to be down in bed for quite some time.  He dreams of Julie. 

Tony is very worried because Johnny has not yet returned.  Keow Tak won't support Tony's rescue party idea.  Another drop is made and this time Tony gets a radio.  When Keow Tak returns he lies to Tony saying they only retrieved one crate from the drop. 

Col. Chalfont is now in Ceylon.  He asks for someone to find Julie Soong the nurse for him.  The Colonel tells Julie that Johnny is missing in action.  And the most like explanation is that he is dead.  Julie leaves the room to seek solace in the arms of her doctor. 

Ah-Tin is in the village where Johnny is.  He sees Johnny being cared for by Yeop and his fourth wife.  Will he be seeking revenge on Johnny for the death of his brother? 

The surviving soldier with Johnny makes it back to base camp.  Tony learns the situation and soon takes off for the village where Johnny is recuperating.  As soon as he leaves, Keow Tak and his communist Chinese soldiers beat the lone soldier up to get the information from him.  Keow Tak now goes into the office and forces open a locked box belonging to Johnny.  He sees the framed photo of Julie and the letter from Julie.  He seethes with anger all over again. 

A guide abandons Tony in the jungle. 

Now Keow Tak takes the guerillas and heads on his own to attack Ara. 

Julie laughs with her arm around her doctor.  No signs of any prolonged grief here.  She has not heard anything yet from Steven's father.  The doctor says it's time that Julie started a family of her own.  After the war, if the father is dead, they could always adopt Steven.  They hold each other in a loving way.  He asks her to marry him.  She says she doesn't know what to say.  Does she still think that Johnny is still alive?   She says no, she doesn't believe so.

Keow Tak reaches the Ara estate.  A Japanese soldier brings in two boxes of supplies they discovered.  An officer opens the box and the bomb inside explodes destroying a good chunk of the plantation house. 

A man warns Yeop that the Japanese are coming to his village.  There's been an explosion at Ara and the Japanese are coming for revenge.  Yeop tells Johnny that he will go with fourth wife Siloma and her baby in a boat down river.  The Japanese arrive, but the village is deserted.  Ah-Tin is now accompanying the Japanese.  They burn the village down. 

Tony follows the trail down by the river.  He makes it back to base camp, but everyone is gone.  He only finds the corpse of the soldier loyal to Johnny.  The Japanese are killing the residents of a village that did not know they were coming. 

Siloma and Johnny run out of food.  Johnny says that tomorrow they will go back to the village because there should be some food there.  The next day they land back at the village.  Ah-Tin is there and he still wants to kill Johnny.  Siloma makes a fire.  Ten Japanese soldiers arrive and surround Johnny, Siloma and the baby.

 

 

Episode Seven.

A Japanese officer questions asks Johnny if he is Major Dexter.  The officer gives his samurai sword to the Major. 

Malaya, August, 1945.  The war is over.  Johnny is so relieved.  But Ah-Tin rushes over, grabs a rifle and starts to try to shoot Johnny.  The Japanese officer shoots the man with his pistol. 

Allied Forces Hospital, Kandy, Ceylon, 1945.  The handsome doctor gets a list of new men coming through the hospital.  He turns over the list to Julie.  She looks it over, finds Johnny's names on it, looks at the doctor in a funny way and then takes off running.  The doctor figures it's about Johnny and follows her.  She finds Johnny.  They hug and kiss each other.  The handsome doctor sees this, turns around and leaves. 

Johnny and Julie are in bed together.  He tells her that he will go back to London to see Irene.  Julie makes a face at this and Johnny says to her:  "Still not convinced."  She asks him if he will still return to Singapore?  He says:  "Nothing will stop me from marrying you."

Johnny reads a letter from Irene that really balls him out for his indiscretions.  She says even his parents are ashamed of him.  He had no right to set up house with Julie Soong. 

London 1946.   Johnny speaks with his mother, who is pleasant with him.  His father, however, is not nice at all.  He criticizes Johnny who demands that dad spell it out.  He brings up Julie Soong and criticizes her.  Johnny tells him:  "All these years and you still haven't changed."  Dad adds that his son is no war hero that he can recognize.

Johnny goes to visit his son and Irene.  He and Benjy talk for awhile.  Benjy shows him an airplane model that "Uncle Bob" gave him.  Uncle Bob is a man that Irene has been seeing. 

Now it's Irene's turn to talk to Johnny.  She says that she's sorry about the tone of her last letter.  It was just that she was so full of rage toward her husband.  She asks him if he wants a divorce and he says yes.  She says it's right to divorce because they never really got along.  And she has found another man.  The only thing that she asks of Johnny is that he delay the divorce for two years because Bob is running for Parliament and doesn't want to be involved in a scandal.   Johnny agrees to this. 

Singapore, 1946.  Steven's father comes to pick up his son.  He picks up the boy, thanks the people and leaves quickly.

Julie picks Johnny up at the airport.  He tells her about the divorce and she tells him about Steven going with his father.  They go to Tanamera.  The place is all run down and sooty looking.  Johnny says they will rebuild Tanamera and soon it will be filled with children.  Julie tells him that they have already made a start.  She is pregnant.  Johnny is absolutely thrilled about the baby. 

They go visit Mr. Soong.  He tells Johnny that the Japanese killed his son Paul because they said he was a communist.  Soong remarks that his son hid that fact well.  He thanks Johnny for saving his daughter Julie.  Johnny says that they will live together for two years, but dad says that's not acceptable.  They can marry, but cannot live together before the marriage.  He says Johnny wants to keep his daughter for two years as his concubine.  Julie tells dad that she is pregnant.  Johnny comes up with a compromise.  Julie will live at Ara with his sister Natasha and brother-in-law Tony while he stays at Tanamera Monday through Friday.  He will see Julie on the weekends.  Dad agrees to that. 

Johnny goes down to visit with George Hammond, the newspaper man.  He's happy to hear that Johnny will rebuild the business and Tanamera and also is pleased that he will finally get to marry his true love, Julie.  George tells Johnny that Keow Tak stayed in the jungle and will fight alongside the Chinese communists to get Malayan independence.  There are some 5,000 guerrillas upcountry. 

Malaya 1948.  Keow Tak and his men kill two white men in a jeep.  He then takes their money. 

Chalfont comes to visit with Johnny.   He is back working for the government.  Chalfont has the responsibility for tracking down men like Keow Tak.  He says the communists are planning a big offensive. 

Keow Tak comes to see his Uncle Soong.  He wants his uncle to supply the communist cause with money.  He says he knows the Soong business is prospering and uncle has the money.  Mr. Soong wants nothing to do with the communists and Keow Tak, but his nasty nephew tells him to keep paying them the money and he will be given a chance to have some peace of mind.

Chalfont comes out for a big barbecue weekend at Ara.  He tells Tony that Ara is too isolated and he hopes Tony is prepared for any possible trouble with the communists.  Tony is not going to take any extraordinary measures to protect the house, despite the fact that Chalfont told him that Keow Tak is the commanding officer in the area containing Ara.  

Mr. Soong is extremely weak now. On his death bed he tells Johnny that Keow Tak visited him two days ago asking for money for the communist cause.  He will come again. 

Keow Tak and his men raid the Ara Estate.  They kidnap Natasha and Julie to use them as hostages for ransom money.  Julie slaps his face, but still has to go with him.  On their way out, he fires shots at the plantation house.  This alerts Tony who comes driving up fast from the plantation fields.  Tony calls Johnny to tell him what's happened.  They want money, $500,000 dollars, in fact, and they want the release of some of the communist leaders currently in prison.  Then Johnny quickly alerts Chalfont.  He next drives out to see Mr. Soong.  He sees the doctor to say a silent no, the old man won't survive. 

The women are taken to the communist base camp which is Chalfont's old base camp.  Cookie is still the cook for the communists and he is surprised to see the two women being brought into the camp. 

Tony, Johnny and Chalfont meet together. Chalfont has a plan for the rescue of the women.  He introduces the men to a very small native man who is an expert with the poison dart that paralyzes and sometimes kills the living targets.  His name is Sardin.    They will use Sardin's skills and a few tricks of their own to foil the kidnappers. 

A communist agent comes biking down the trail.  He meets his guide and they go off-road through the jungle.  Sardin and Johnny follow the men.  Sardin knocks out two guards with his blow gun.  Johnny sees the camp and signals over the wireless that it's go time.  Keow Tak meets with the communist agent.  Johnny and Sardin sneak over and under a house to plant explosives under it.  A guard comes around the building.  He finds the wire to the explosive and starts to follow it, but Sardin soon paralyzes him with a dart. 

Cookie tries to slip a knife to Julie, but he is discovered.  They tie him to a post outside the building where Julie and Natasha are sitting.  Keow Tak says the man is a spy and will be executed.  Julie tries to talk some sense into him but it's useless.  He won't behave himself until Malaya is rid of foreigners.  She asks him to stop the execution, but he just asks:  "What does one life matter?"   He gives the order for the executioner to shoot Cookie.  But just then Tony shoots the executioner.  And the skirmish is on.  Keow Tak puts a knife to Julie's throat and uses her as a safety shield. 

Johnny runs after Keow Tak and Julie but he can't get a clear shot.  So he has to obey when Keow Tak tells him to drop his weapons, including the knife.   While Keow Tak and Johnny argue over what to do, Sardin hits Keow Tak with a dart.  The nasty fellow drops on the ground freeing Julie.  Julies rushes over to hug Johnny. 

Chalfont wants Johnny to finish off Keow Tak.  Johnny pulls out his pistol and with his foot starts to turn Keow Tak over.  The communist grabs the knife and tries to stab Johnny, but Johnny shoots him in the heart. 

Julie, their daughter and Johnny return to Tanamera.  The place has been completely restored and now he and Julie can increase the size of their family and live happily ever after.

 

 

Good film and the first one I have seen about the war in Singapore and the larger Malaya.  And I have a couple of things I didn't like about the screenplay.  To refuse to obey the order of a superior, to plot to use a guerilla group for one's own private plans and to try to take over command would have gotten Keow Tak executed for sure.  But he was never even court-martialed for anything.  It made the two white officers look like idiots.  Once you know a man is thoroughly evil, you always keep your guard up around him and watch him like a hawk.  I also didn't like Julie's flirtation with the handsome doctor from Australia.  It sure made her look bad since she claimed that she loved Johnny oh so much.  No grief period needed for her.  And why conclude that a missing person is automatically determined to be definitely and totally dead!

My wife says at least it had a happy ending. 

I enjoyed watching as the impregnable Fortress Singapore just quickly folded under the onslaught of the Japanese.  In Wikipedia they tell why the Japanese so easily won in Malaya. (see below)  So now I know why Fortress Singapore fell so easily and don't feel so critical of the British fighting forces there. 

I loved Christopher Bowen as Johnny Dexter and Khym Lam as Julie Soong.  He was a good looking fellow and she was very pretty.  Ed Devereaux was great as Grandpa Jack. 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.

 


Historical Background:

 

1771  --  the British first became involved with Malay politics when Great Britain tried to set up trading posts in Penang, formerly a part of Kedah.

1819  --  the British colonized Singapore.

mid-18th century  --  British firms trading in the Malay Peninsula.

1771 (April)  --  Jourdain, Sulivan and de Souza, a British firm based in Madras, India, sent Francis Light, in service of the East India Company, to meet the Sultan of Kedah, Muhammad Jiwa Shah, to open up the state's market for trading.

Around this time Siam (today's Thailand) regarded Kedah as their vassal state.

The new Sultan Abdullah Mahrum Shah offered Light the island of Penang in return for military assistance for Kedah.

1788 (June)  --  Light informed the Sultan of the Company's decision not to give Kedah any military aid.  Feeling cheated, the Sultan ordered Light to leave Penang.  Light refused. The Sultan builds a fort at nearby Perai, but the British destroy it. 

1791 (May 1)  --  the British flag officially raised in Penang.

1800  --  Kedah ceded Prai to the British and the Sultan received an increase of 4,000 pesos in annual rent. [Penang was later named Prince of Wales Island and Perai was renamed Province Wellesley.]

1811-1815   --during the Napoleonic Wars, the Dutch-owned Malacca on today's eastern coast of Malaysia, like other Dutch holdings in the area, was occupied by the British to prevent the French from claiming the Dutch possession.

1811-1815  --  Sir Stamford Raffles was the Lieutenant Governor of Java. 

1815  --  Malacca returned to the Dutch.

1819  --  Raffles made a deal with Tengku Hussein that the British would acknowledge the man as the legitimate ruler of Singapore if he allowed the British to establish a trading post there.

1821 -1842  --  Siam invaded Kedah, sacked the capital of Alor Star and occupied Kedah until 1842.

1824  --  British and the Dutch signed the Anglo-Dutch Treaty. The Dutch transfer Malacca to British administration. The treaty also laid the basis for the current Indonesian-Malaysian boundary.

1826   --  the Straits Settlements was established with Penang as its capital.

1832  --  the capital moved to Singapore.

1842  --  Siam leaves Kedah. 

1856  --  the Straits Settlements were answerable to the British administrator of the East India Company in Calcutta. The Settlements' administrators were dissatisfied with the way Calcutta was handling their affairs and they complained to London. The Company even tried to annul Singapore's free port status.

1858  --  the Company was dissolved.  British India came under the direct rule of the British government.

1867  --  the colony was placed directly under the power of the Colonial Office in London and was declared a crown colony, which gave it considerable independence and power within the British Empire.

1930s  --  the Great Depression hurt Singapore too.

1941 (December 4)  --  the Japanese attack force for the invasion of Malaya, from Lieutenant General Tomoyuki Yamashita's 25th Army, sailed from Samah Harbour on Hainan Island.  Additional ships and troops joined the convoy from Saigon in today's Vietnam.  convoy.

1941 (December 8)  --  (local time) before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the first major battle of the Pacific War, the Battle of Malaya, was fought between ground forces of the British Indian Army and the Empire of Japan.  Shortly after midnight on December 7, Indian soldiers patrolling the beaches at Kota Bharu spotted three large Japanese transport ships (carrying approximately 5,200 troops of the Takumi Detachment).   The invasion began with a bombardment at around 12:30 a.m. local time on December 8.  The Japanese suffer 300 killed and 800 wounded, but they get a foothold in Malaya. 

1941 (December 10)  --  attacked by the Japanese, the British ships Prince of Wales and Repulse were the first capital ships to be sunk solely by air power on the open sea.

1941 (Dec. 29 onwards)  --  the Japanese began bombing strategic sites in Singapore, but anti-aircraft activity prevents the total destruction of the city.

1942 (January 31)  --  the last Allied forces left Malaya.

1942 (Feb. 8-15)  --  the Battle of Singapore was fought and the Japanese took the "Gibraltar of the East".

Reasons of the Allied defeat.  "The Japanese were superior in close air support, armor, coordination, tactics and experience. Moreover, the British forces repeatedly allowed themselves to be outflanked, believing—despite repeated flanking attacks by the Japanese—that the Malayan jungle was impassable. The Imperial Japanese Army Air Force was more numerous, and better trained than the second-hand assortment of untrained pilots and inferior allied equipment remaining in Malaya, Borneo and Singapore. Their superior fighters—especially the Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero—helped the Japanese to gain air supremacy. The Allies had no tanks and few armored vehicles, which put them at a severe disadvantage."  Wikipedia

1943-1945  --  Malaya and Singapore were under Japanese occupation.

1945  --  after the defeat of Japan in WWII, Malaya and Singapore were placed under British Military Administration.

1946  --  the colony was dissolved. Malacca and Penang were absorbed into the Malayan Union and Singapore was separated from the Union and made into a new crown colony on its own.

1948  --  the Malayan Union is replaced with the Federation of Malaya.

1957 (August 31)  -- the Federation achieved independence.

1963  (September 16)  --  the Federation of Malaya, together with North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore, formed an enlarged federation called Malaysia.

 

 

 

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