East Africa, 1940, and we're at a small, isolated British outpost. There are rumors that the Germans are sending in rifles and machine guns, but this must be verified. If true, action must be taken to stop it, even though the outpost can only rely on its own resources. Bruce Cabot (as a Canadian) plays Crawford, the resident in charge. He's a man who loves Africa and sees many changes happening when Britain wins the war. George Sanders plays Coombes, a British officer flown in to take charge. He's by the book, but not beyond learning a few things from Crawford. Gene Tierney plays Zia, daughter of an Arab trader who owns a vast trading network throughout East Africa.
Sundown is an efficient, better than average programer which is directed in a professional way and keeps the action going. There are no great surprises and many things typical of a movie of this type: The good natives are all handsome and child-like, all seem grateful for the wisdom and guidance given them by the Brits. The bad natives all look like they came from a gene pool where good looks weren't dominate. And the movie is careful to point out, first, that Zia is the daughter of an Arab and a European, so no black blood in her. Then when the romance between Zia and Crawford is confirmed, we learn that she's actually British so there's not even Arab blood (or French) to worry about.
The acting is fair, with Gene Tierney acceptable and gorgeous, Cabot stolid and brave, and Sanders condescending but trying to do the right thing. He has a great death scene, and I mean it; not a hint of the usual Sanders curled lip.
What a strange career George Sanders had. I really don't think he was a particularly good actor. He did a good job, in my view, only when he had a first-rate script and/or a sense of challenge. He was charmingly amoral in Rebecca, funny and even a little romantic in Foreign Correspondent, and very good as a single-minded, obsessed artist in The Moon and Sixpence. And that's about it, for me. His turn in All About Eve was funny to watch, but I often felt he was waiting for his next cue to sneer out his lines.
Dorothy Dandridge has a bit, uncredited, part that lasts all told probably less than five minutes at the start. She has no dialogue, and plays a shy young girl happy to wed a poor native soldier, then plays a heart-broken young widow. She was good, and I couldn't take my eyes off her.
This is a solid programer with the faults of its time, but is professionally put together, moves at a brisk pace, and is a reasonable way to spend an hour and a half if you like 40's movies.
The DVD transfer is far better than I expected.