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Safe in Hell (1931)

Passed | | Drama | 12 December 1931 (USA)
After accidentally killing the man who raped her and forced her into prostitution, a New Orleans woman flees to a Caribbean island. While she awaits her fiancé, the vicious local police chief sets his sights on her.



(play), (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Donald Cook ...
Carl Bergen - aka Carl Erickson
Ralf Harolde ...
Piet Van Saal
Ivan F. Simpson ...
Crunch (as Ivan Simpson)
Victor Varconi ...
Gen. Emmanuel Jesus Maria Gomez
Morgan Wallace ...
Mr. Bruno - the Hangman
Leonie - the Hotel Manager
Lawyer Jones
Newcastle - the Porter
Gustav von Seyffertitz ...
Larson (as Gustav Von Seyffertitz)
Noble Johnson ...
Bobo - a Caribbean Policeman
Cecil Cunningham ...


Sought by the New Orleans police for accidentally killing the man who raped her and forced her into prostitution, a woman flees New Orleans for a Caribbean island. Surrounded by lecherous criminals, she awaits the return of her fiancé and seems to be holding her own until the treachery of the local police chief leaves her but one choice to gain her freedom. Written by indexcard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

12 December 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Lost Lady  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Vitaphone production reels #5056-5063. See more »


Lawyer Jones: [Mr. Bruno, the island's executioner, has just joined them] How's tricks?
Mr. Bruno - the Hangman: There are no tricks in my business. When a man hangs... he hangs.
Lawyer Jones: What a satisfactory way to get rid of one's enemies.
Mr. Bruno - the Hangman: I *have* no enemies.
Gen. Emmanuel Jesus Maria Gomez: No "living" enemies, eh, Señor?
Mr. Bruno - the Hangman: As jailer and executioner of this island, I may not be popular with the criminal element. But my activities are confined to island crime. While we do not believe in the international law of extradition, our own laws are very strict. But as long as you ...
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The Darktown Strutters' Ball
(1917) (uncredited)
Music by Shelton Brooks
Played when Gilda arrives at the Claybridge Apartments
Played briefly on piano by Dorothy Mackaill
See more »

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Welcome to the hotel
1 July 2008 | by See all my reviews

"Safe in hell" what a title! When you watch it,you will agree that the title was thoroughly justified.

It was hard to be a hero (or a heroine ) in Wellman's brilliant movies of the thirties:from the wild boys of the street to Lilly Turner ,they all got a raw deal.

Gilda leaves a macho world to wind up in another macho world even more awful than the one she left behind.

The movie is short (about 70 minutes) and there are only two "happy" scenes in the whole story: the "wedding" ,a peak of romanticism and restrained emotion,and the short moment when the lovers meet again ,a scene very Borzagesque (there's a similar scene in "street angel" when Janet Gaynor asks the cop for one hour to say goodbye to the one she loves).

As for the rest ,it's a ruthless depiction of hateful males who only know one rule:theirs.The arrival of Gilda in this seedy place could only be filmed in the pre -code Hayes days: those men salivate like Pavlov's dogs ,getting an eyeful as Gilda comes up the stairs.

Like Tom in "heroes for sale" ,Gilda wants to keep her promise ;like him she gave everything;Tom hits the road and becomes a tramp ;Gilda's fate will be more terrible than his.

Another unusual melodrama by one of the past masters of the American cinema of the thirties/forties.

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