Malaya Black & White | World For Ransom

Following a well-established Hollywood tradition of 'setting' films in an imaginary version of Singapore, World For Ransom, directed by the fledgling auteur Robert Aldrich, is arguably the best of the lot. Aldrich conjures his ersatz Lion City from leftover sets, props and actors from the z-budget TV series 'China Smith' (also set in 'Singapore'). The plot is a hybrid of pitch-dark film noir and atomic-era espionage hokum (anticipating the spy flicks of the '60s), casting its Oriental-Tropical city as a zone of criminality and perversity. The great Dan Duryea plays one of the saddest, most abused anti-heros in all of noir, a 'good' man whose sacrifices and compromised personal ethics point towards Jack Flowers and Saint Jack.

This screening is part of the 'Beyond Saint Jack' segment under the NUS Museum's Malaya Black & White film series.

About ‘Beyond Saint Jack’ - The strange cinematic visitors of Singapore and Malaya

Singapore/Malaya’s heyday of foreign production from the mid 1960s to the early 1980s led to a motley filmography of B-movies, commercial disasters, miscellaneous TV episodes, lost films and bizarre curios. While they resist canonisation, these films are a fascinating portal into how the region was perceived by the rest of the world both before and after the end of the colonial era; and the eagerness for Singapore and Malaysia to be represented and acknowledged by the West. A recurring motif of their narratives is the Western visitor in Singapore. This season of 10 films showcases the predecessors and descendants of Saint Jack (1979): old hands, good men, legal aliens, rugged individualists, ex-soldiers, detectives, has-beens and rock stars. Characters who have found themselves ensnared in traps beyond their control, stumbled across exotic, bewildering cultures, or entered zones of erotic possibility.

Beyond Saint Jack is guest-curated by author and critic Ben Slater, who will be present to introduce and discuss each film.

About Ben Slater

Ben Slater is the author of Kinda Hot: The Making of Saint Jack in Singapore (2006), a major contributor to World Film Locations: Singapore(2014) and the editor of 25: Histories and Memories of the Singapore International Film Festival (2014). He’s also the co-screenwriter of the feature film Camera (2014) and a Lecturer at the School of Art, Media and Design, Nanyang Technological University.

To find out more about the Malaya Black & White project, please go tohttps://malayablackandwhite.wordpress.com/

Event Timeline
Wed May 20, 2015
7:00 PM - 9:30 PM SGT
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Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium, NUS University Town
World For Ransom (Wed, 20 May, Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium, UTown)
Venue Address
8 College Avenue West, Singapore 138608 Singapore
The Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium is located on Level 2 of the Education Resource Centre at NUS University Town.
NUS Museum