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Torrid Zone (1940)

7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 823 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 8 critic

Plagued by revolutionaries that harass his plantation in a banana republic, fruit company exec Steve Case rehires former nemesis Nick Butler to restore order and profits.

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(original screenplay), (original screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Nick Butler
...
Lee Donley
...
Steve Case
...
Wally Davis
Helen Vinson ...
Gloria Anderson
Jerome Cowan ...
Bob Anderson
...
Rosario
...
Sancho
Victor Kilian ...
Carlos
Frank Puglia ...
Rodriguez
John Ridgely ...
Gardner
Grady Sutton ...
Sam
Paul Porcasi ...
Garcia
Frank Yaconelli ...
Lopez (as Frank Yaconnelli)
Dick Botiller ...
Hernandez (as Dick Boteler)
Edit

Storyline

Banana Company executive Steve Case on a Caribean plantation group tries to convince his former co-worker Nick Butler to take over the plantation No 7. But he is on his way to Chicago, to take over a job as a manager for another company himself. He has also troubles with US night-club singer Lee Donley, whom he wants aboard a ship back to the US, and rebel Rosario. He is able to get Nick to the plantation, but is he able to keep him there or will he leave it in a few days with Gloria, the wife of the former exectutive of No 7, Mr. Anderson ? Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

25 May 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Zona Tórrida  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

George Reeves, Victor Varconi, Joseph Calleia, Alan Hale and George Tobias all tested for the role of Rosario, with the part going to Tobias. See more »

Goofs

In the gunfight scene between Butler's group and Rosario's group, Rosario shoots Butler and Butler appears to be grabbing his right arm as he goes down. In the next shot, he is now tending to his wound on his left arm. Later in the scene, after they catch Rosario, Rosario bumps Butler's hat as he walks by. See more »

Quotes

Nick Butler: I've never seen such luck!
Lee Donley: Lucky in cards, unlucky in love.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Breakdowns of 1941 (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles
(1919) (uncredited)
Music by Nat Vincent, James Kendis and James Brockman
Lyrics by John W. Kellette
Played on harmonica by Andy Devine three times
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ann Sheridan outdistances Cagney, O'Brien in so-so romantic adventure
15 November 2002 | by (Western New York) – See all my reviews

A couple of buddies chasing a buck, and usually a woman, in what we now call the Third World was a staple plot-line of movies from the 1930s on. Such movies were thought to offer a sure-fire recipe for entertainment: a travelogue to sultry and dangerous corners of the globe; romance sauced up with sass; exotic peril; and good ol' man-to-man rivalry.

Torrid Zone, directed by the pedestrian William Keighley, follows the recipe but lacks something in the execution – that elusive something that elevates the routine into the memorable. Down in Central America, Pat O'Brien plays the irascible operative of a banana-exporting concern (read: the infamous United Fruit Company). Besides shipping ripe but not rotten product to New Orleans, he serves as unofficial proconsul in this far-flung province of the American empire, where his word is, literally, law. (This subversive strand of the script, however, never gets explored.)

In addition to sluggish delivery from Plantation #7, O'Brien faces other problems. First, a local `revolutionista' condemned to death has escaped to rejoin rebel forces. Second, an American card-shark and shantoozie (Ann Sheridan) is stirring up trouble (O'Brien flubs his attempt to ship her home like a crate of perishable fruit). Third, his old nemesis James Cagney, former overseer of #7, is back in the country. Cagney takes a shine to Sheridan, who has befriended the revolutionary, who wants back the lands confiscated by O'Brien, who....

Barbed and topical dialogue, most of it mouthed throatily by Sheridan, proves to be Torrid Zone's chief attraction. But the needling rivalry between O'Brien and Cagney wears a little thin (as it does in the contemporaneous Road pictures between Hope and Crosby). And Keighley doggedly follows the script from one damn thing to another, so the movie ends up a fast-paced clutter.

O'Brien, a good actor who never really grew into a star (though he would shine in Crack-Up and Riffraff a few years later), suffers mostly from an unpleasant part. Cagney, in a Latin-lover mustache and the tropical answer to a 10-gallon hat, comes off as a bit of a bantam rooster. But Sheridan (whom Warner's publicists had dubbed the `Oomph' girl) remains a delight, embodying the pluck, warmth and smarts of that generation of game women who survived the Depression and would help to win the coming War.


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