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Four Frightened People (1934)

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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.



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Title: Four Frightened People (1934)

Four Frightened People (1934) on IMDb 6.2/10

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Cast overview:
Judy Jones
Herbert Marshall ...
Arnold Ainger
Mary Boland ...
Mrs. Mardick
William Gargan ...
Stewart Corder
Leo Carrillo ...
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.

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Adventure | Drama






Release Date:

26 January 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Four Frightened People  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (1935 re-release)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by MCA ever since. See more »


Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: Claudette Colbert (1962) See more »

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User Reviews

DeMille Goes Hawaiian
19 February 2011 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

According to Cecil B. DeMille's autobiography, Four Frightened People was the last film he made that both lost money and was not of an historical nature. Seeing it today, especially in the edited 78 minute version of it, I can see why. Not even Paramount splurging for location shooting in Hawaii to stand in for the Malay jungle and DeMille's eye for spectacle could save this one.

Our Four Frightened People are spinster geography teacher Claudette Colbert, newspaper correspondent William Gargan, chemist Herbert Marshall and the wife of a British colonial official Mary Boland. Believe me this is not four people you would want in a foxhole.

The bulk of the cuts to Four Frightened People seem to come at the beginning of the film where in the short version we see the radio operator requesting help because plague is on board the ship. Gargan who is a take charge sort, commanders a lifeboat and takes Marshall, Boland, and an unwilling Colbert on board to land, lest the plague outbreak become known in the steerage where a lot of Chinese coolies are packed in like on a slave ship. The next thing we know is that the four find Leo Carrillo, a mixed blood native to help guide them to safety.

A whole lot of introductory material to the characters is lost here. My guess is that because Four Frightened People came in before the Code, Paramount made drastic cuts to try and salvage the film in a re-release which occurred the following year. As far as the story narrative was concerned it made it incoherent.

Not that I think there was much there to begin. The two men of course end up fighting over Colbert and Mary Boland just goes about in her usual oblivious way to the dangers. As for Claudette she turns from a woman frightened of life, to Sheena Queen of the Jungle as she parades around in a leopard skin outfit that must have been borrowed from Maureen O'Sullivan at MGM. The transformation is not terribly convincing.

Color might have salvaged this somewhat we were two years away from the modern Technicolor process that Paramount did in its first outdoor film in The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine. Curiously enough DeMille for all his mastery of the technical side of film making did not do a color feature until Northwest Mounted Police in 1941. The Hawaiian scenery looks beautiful, far more convincing than some standard jungle set on a studio back lot.

One other story DeMille told was that Claudette Colbert had a strong aversion more than most to little creepy crawly critters and in Hawaii many unusual ones thrive. On the first day of shooting she sat down on a centipede and became hysterical. How she got through the film God only knows. But the very next film Claudette did was It Happened One Night and that was her Oscar winning part. Good recompense for going through Four Frightened People.

I wasn't crazy about this film and neither was its director.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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