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Green Hell (1940)

Passed | | Adventure, Romance | 26 January 1940 (USA)
A group of adventurers head deep into a South American jungle in search of ancient Incan treasure. A beautiful woman, brought to their camp by hired bearers, has come to join her husband, a... See full summary »

Director:

James Whale

Writer:

Frances Marion (original story and screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ... Keith Brandon
Joan Bennett ... Stephanie Richardson
John Howard ... Hal Scott
George Sanders ... Forrester
Alan Hale ... Doctor Loren
George Bancroft ... 'Tex' Morgan
Vincent Price ... David Richardson
Gene Garrick ... Graham
Francis McDonald ... Gracco
Mala ... Mala (as Ray Mala)
Peter Bronte Peter Bronte ... Santos
Lupita Tovar ... Native Girl
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Storyline

A group of adventurers head deep into a South American jungle in search of ancient Incan treasure. A beautiful woman, brought to their camp by hired bearers, has come to join her husband, a newer member of the group, who was recently killed by hostile natives. As the months go by, jealousies and tempers flare as fights break out over the woman. The Incan treasure is finally found but the treaure-seekers, now united by a common enemy, are about to be attacked by hundreds of fierce natives armed with bows and poisoned arrows. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Adventure | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 January 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Green Hell See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The massive temple set was redressed and reused in several subsequent Universal movies, including The Mummy's Hand (1940) and Phantom of the Opera (1943). See more »

Goofs

Richardson is hit by two arrows which are at least two feet long. Back at camp, two comrades examine these arrows which are now about a foot long. See more »

Quotes

Hal Scott: Strange guy, Richardson. Always keeps to himself. You know anything about him?
Keith Brandon: Nothing. That's about the best thing to know about any man.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Vincent Price: The Sinister Image (1987) See more »

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User Reviews

White Flag, Green Hell, Black Paint
29 January 2010 | by tedgSee all my reviews

I will propose here that some films have merit, and are worth watching even though they are horrible. I mean to exclude laughing at ineptness from the equation.

This is an example. It has three notable items, the first of which is where the allure resides.

— It takes itself seriously. Really, the appeal of competence fades in the light of earnestness. As soon as it appeared, the participants realized it was a disaster, but you rarely know that when you are making the thing. It had name talent and a reasonable budget. The narrative stance has no irony or folds. It was intended to hit straight on, and even if the arrow did not score, it was shot with the intent to kill. And that matters.

— The film world had long since developed a shorthand for black sexual malevolence by depicting the risky jungle. Two touchstones were "Kongo" and "King Kong" both of which exploited the (then) visceral fear from racism. The same is attempted here, but I do not believe that any of the natives are played by blacks. The effect is startling, a now comic understanding of how transference occurs. You have the deep seated fear of sexual arousal out of control in the American populace. Deep, and strong. That gets transferred to an innocent people, only recently by the time of this film. That in turn gets denoted in unambiguous ways by the jungle and jungle people in film. At each step, there is a trailing disconnect, so that by the time you get to this film, the people in the jungle do not have to remotely look native. (It is not Africa, but that is irrelevant.)

— the script has all the elements. Sexual betrayal. Sexual competition (separately). Ancient magic attached to gold. Sexual imagery with phallic structures and blasting through walls to release floods. All the competitors (stereotypes) locked in a small space fighting the inevitability of death. It doesn't work, like "Kongo" does. But there sure as heck are all the parts.

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.


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