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|COBRA WOMAN (director: Robert Siodmak; screenwriters: Gene Lewis/Richard Brooks/story by W. Scott Darling; cinematographers: George Robinson/W. Howard Greene; editor: Charles Maynard; music: Edward Ward; cast: Maria Montez (Tollea/Naja), Jon Hall (Ramu), Sabu (Kado), Morsoni Olsen (MacDonald), Mary Nash (Queen), Lon Chaney (Hava), Edgar Barrier (Martok), Lois Collier (Veeda); Runtime: 71; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: George Waggner; Universal; 1944)|
fun-filled camp fantasy melodrama about cobra
worshippers on an exotic secret tropical island."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A fun-filled camp fantasy melodrama about cobra worshipers on an exotic secret tropical island. It was shot in appealing Technicolor on Universal's back lot. Sarong-draped beauty Maria Montez has a dual role as both the good and evil twin sister. Director Robert Siodmak ("People on Sunday"/"Son of Dracula"/"Phantom Lady") keeps the hokum going at a fast pace. It's based on a story by W. Scott Darling and is written by Gene Lewis and Richard Brooks.
On a peaceful South Sea
island local native beauty Tollea (Maria Montez) is kidnapped on the day
she's to marry Ramu (Jon Hall) by a mute giant Hava
(Lon Chaney) and brought back to Cobra Island on
orders of the island's queen (Mary Nash), her
(Morsoni Olsen) is a Scotsman adventurer living on the
island, who tells Ramu that he raised Tollea as his
daughter since she was a one-year-old stowaway on his
ship after he was tortured and released from Cobra
Island when he was shipwrecked on the forbidden
island. Ramu learns that Tollea has been taken back to
Cobra Island and pursues her despite warnings from
MacDonald that strangers are killed on the island
according to tribal law. Kado (Sabu), the goofy loyal
teenage servant of Ramu, tags along uninvited.
On the island, her
grandmother queen tells Tollea that she was brought
back to her people to be the rightful ruler. We learn
that Tollea's younger twin sister Naja now rules the
island as the high priestess and is a cruel despot.
Naja is set to marry the evil priest Martok (Edgar
Barrier), and the evil duo try to eliminate rescuers
Ramu and Kado and their playful pet chimp Coco. The
outsiders try to help the queen restore the rightful
oldest ruler Tollea to her place on the throne, but
must first eliminate the opposition.
It's nutty fun, the sets
are a visual treat, the hammy acting is fitting for
such a wacky tale, the action is fast and loose, there
are snake dances in the holy temple that look like a
lounge act and you can't beat the thrill of witnessing
a rumbling volcano be a signal if the gods approve or
don't of the island ruler.
REVIEWED ON 8/4/2011 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ