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Green Hell (1940)

Most films are worth checking out for one reason or another and this one is no different. For me I try to catch everything with Vincent Price at least once. Just don’t expect too much considering the talent involved. It still plays like a film off the B unit assembly line. This was James Whales second last feature as his directing career was closing fast with the arrival of a new decade. Heading a group of fortune hunters into the jungles of South America is Douglas Fairbanks Jr. in search of ancient Inca treasures. Coming along is John Howard fresh off the Bulldog Drummond series, Vincent Price who I never thought could look this young and everybody’s favorite pompous ___ George Sanders. Also along for the journey is Alan Hale which is a little surprising as this is a Universal film and not a Warner Brothers picture where we are accustomed to seeing him in support of Errol Flynn among others. The group gets along quite well till the arrival of Joan Bennett at which point it’s a case of which one of our manly heroes will win the ladies hand. I freely admit I keep expecting Johnny Weissmuller to pop up when the local natives are attacking.

Fans of the Universal monster series’ will notice a few bits of trivia in this one. The stairs to the temple are the same used in the Kharis Mummy films as well as the actual interior temple sets. Paging George Zucco. The Director of Photography on this one was Karl Freund who directed Boris Karloff’s classic The Mummy. Can you believe he worked on projects ranging from Metropolis to the I Love Lucy Show. Also billed in the cast is Lupita Tovar. She was the leading lady in the 1931 Spanish Dracula put out by Universal studios and it’s a film worth checking out if you have never seen it. Compares very favorably with the Lugosi version.

As for Green Hell, special thanks to Kristina over at Speakeasy for securing me a copy of this jungle adventure filmed on the Universal studio back lot. Another Vincent film off my list.

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5 Comments »

  1. Love the cast, really enjoy the jungle set (looks so realistic!) and the action at the end when the group is attacked is great. I just wish it had that little something extra that all these great parts should sum up to.

  2. I haven’t seen this movie since I was a kid and caught it one Saturday afternoon on TV. However it’s always stuck in my mind, and I think the fabulous jungle and temple sets that you rightly highlight are a big part of the reason why.

    I’d really love to see this film get a DVD release.

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