Green Hell

  • 1940
  • 1 HR 27 MIN
  • NR
  • Adventure

Famed director James Whale attempted to get back in the good graces of the Hollywood studios with GREEN HELL, but it turned out to be a pathetic disaster. Desperate to work again after receiving no offers since directing the financially successful THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK in 1939 (American producers didn't like the homosexual Englishman and avoided using...read more

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Famed director James Whale attempted to get back in the good graces of the Hollywood studios with GREEN HELL, but it turned out to be a pathetic disaster. Desperate to work again after receiving no offers since directing the financially successful THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK in 1939 (American

producers didn't like the homosexual Englishman and avoided using his valuable talents for fear of controversy), Whale grabbed a bad script penned by mediocre screenwriter Frances Marion. The project got off the ground because producer David Lewis, a friend of Whale and Marion, set things into

motion. Everyone knew the script was terrible, but Whale convinced them that he could salvage it. Unfortunately, while the film is stunningly shot, the story and dialog are wretched. Fairbanks, Price, Hale, Howard, and Sanders play archaeologists determined to hack their way through the South

American jungles to find hidden Inca treasures. Price is killed by poison darts (forever thankful that his participation in this debacle ended earlier than the others--he stated that GREEN HELL is one of the most unintentionally funny films ever made), and, when native guide McDonald returns from

town with supplies, he is accompanied by Price's widow, Bennett. The introduction of a woman into this all-male expedition causes some trouble involving Fairbanks and Sanders, between whom she is romantically vacillating. She finally decides on Fairbanks, but he too becomes a pin-cushion for

poison darts, and it looks as if he also will die. Miraculously, Fairbanks recovers in time for the climactic showdown between his men and the native hordes. GREEN HELL was given a lavish production by Universal, which allowed a massive indoor jungle set to be built on a soundstage. An Inca Temple

125 feet high, 225 feet wide, and 45,000 square fee in area was constructed. Having spent so much money on what turned out to be a critical and financial disaster, Universal used the temple set again, this time as an Egyptian temple for THE MUMMY'S HAND (1940). Sadly, GREEN HELL rang the

death-knell for Whale's film career. He would go on to begin production of THEY DARE NOT LOVE for Columbia in 1941, but, after Whale and the cast clashed almost daily, the director was fired and replaced by Charles Vidor. A brilliant film stylist, Whale will always be remembered for the horror

movies FRANKENSTEIN (1931), THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935), THE OLD DARK HOUSE (1932), and THE INVISIBLE MAN (1933).

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Famed director James Whale attempted to get back in the good graces of the Hollywood studios with GREEN HELL, but it turned out to be a pathetic disaster. Desperate to work again after receiving no offers since directing the financially successful THE MAN… (more)

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