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Four Frightened People (1934)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Drama | 26 January 1934 (USA)
Four passengers escape their bubonic plague-infested ship and land on the coast of a wild jungle. In order to reach safety they have to trek through the jungle, facing wild animals and attacks by primitive tribesmen.



(screen play), (screen play) (as Lenore Coffee) | 1 more credit »

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Cast overview:
Judy Jones
Arnold Ainger
Mrs. Mardick
Stewart Corder
Mrs. Ainger
Tetsu Komai ...
Native Chief
Chris-Pin Martin ...
Joe De La Cruz ...
Minoru Nishida ...
Teru Shimada ...
E.R. Jinedas ...
Delmar Costello ...


Four passengers escape their bubonic plague-infested ship and land on the coast of a wild jungle. In order to reach safety they have to trek through the jungle, facing wild animals and attacks by primitive tribesmen.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Adventure | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »





Release Date:

26 January 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Et eventyr i junglen  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Claudette Colbert was hospitalized for appendicitis just before she was due to leave Los Angeles for location filming in Hawaii, Cecil B. DeMille considered recasting her role with Gloria Swanson; the two had worked together on Male and Female (1919), another comedy about rich people shipwrecked on a tropical island. See more »

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User Reviews

good ingredients, fair result
12 May 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This relatively small-scale adventure drama from Cecil B. DeMille has its attractions: A sterling cast, lush on-location photography by Karl Struss, and an interesting plot premise: four modern Westerners forced to trek together across the jungles of Malaya when bubonic plague strikes the crew of their steamer as it "perspires" down the Malay coast. These Westerners are: Claudette Colbert as a sheltered and timid young geography teacher; Herbert Marshall as a rubber industry chemist; William Gargan as a news correspondent; and Mary Boland as the chirpy, self-confident wife of a British colonial official.

The first five minutes are an exercise in the art of the silent cinema. Each main character is introduced with a descriptive caption; further titles explain the overall situation in heightened language. In an artful sequence showing the ship's telegraph operator tapping out a call for help we see the translation of his Morse code as ghostly white words floating across the screen. We are then jolted by the sight of Claudette Colbert in close-up – bespectacled, without her trademark bangs and almost makeup-free as well – struggling to scream but prevented from doing so by Herbert Marshall's hand over her mouth. He, along with fellow Anglo passengers Gargan and Boland, are escaping the doomed ship in a lifeboat and are taking Colbert along for her own good. When the quartet discovers that the plague has also struck the natives on land they have no choice but to cross the peninsula on foot in hopes of finding a ship on the other side that will carry them home.

In stories of this kind the characters usually undergo deep transformations under the pressures of survival in the wild, revealing previously hidden dimensions and emerging as either heroes or villains, leaders or followers, corpses or survivors. Here, however, the focus is on the sexual and sartorial awakening of the Colbert character who evolves from prim and virginal wallflower in a dowdy dress to lusty and assertive tropical siren whose jungle- ravaged Western street clothes are conveniently swiped by a chimpanzee while she is bathing in a waterfall, forcing her to improvise first a sort of sarong made of jungle leaves and eventually a form-fitting leopard skin in the Tarzan-Jane style. She wears both well. In all three of the movies she made for DeMille she was dressed to kill.

There are some genuinely gripping scenes as well as comedy, chiefly from Boland who tramps through the muck in evening gown and high heels without ever entirely losing her essential fun-loving good nature. Even when she is taken prisoner by a tribe of cannibals she manages to turn their village into her private country club. It's the females who shine here, as Colbert gets a chance to show off her acting chops as well as her splendid physique and Boland gets to be Boland in an uncharacteristic setting.

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