USA, 1956 (George Cukor; 1h 50m)
During the chaos of the British withdrawal from India in 1947, an Anglo-Indian woman struggles with her identity in the face of an uncertain future. Based on a novel by British author John Masters, Bhowani Junction was an American film shot on location in both Pakistan and England.
A number of Indian actresses and budding actors wrote to Cukor about working on this film, and it is evident from Cukor’s correspondence […] that he was looking for Indian actors for the film […] However, neither Indian nor Pakistani actors play any of the major roles, and the only Pakistani or Indian people seen in the film are extras […].
As an American film about a change of leadership, the film avoids a clear position on British colonialism, and instead focuses on the American anti-Communist ideology by depicting the Communists as a violent, anti-British group.Colonial Film: Moving Images of the British Empire
In India, Cukor seemed to luxuriate in the logistically complicated crowd scenes, narrowing in on faces and descriptive details. The street riots of Bhowani involved thousands of people running rampant through the streets, and took several days to shoot—“really spectacular footage that impressed them in Hollywood,” according to [the screenwriter] Ivan Moffat.Patrick McGilligan, George Cukor: A Double Life
- Partition… 70 years on: A primer – BBC Newsnight 3:56
- Rare Color Documentary of Indian Independence 1947 6:20
- Pathe newsreel 1947 2:46
Finishes at: 4:40pm