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Torrid Zone (1940)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Comedy | 25 May 1940 (USA)
2:07 | Trailer

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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.



(original screenplay), (original screenplay)



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lee Donley
Steve Case
Wally Davis
Gloria Anderson
Bob Anderson
Victor Kilian ...
John Ridgely ...
Frank Yaconelli ...
Lopez (as Frank Yaconnelli)
Hernandez (as Dick Boteler)


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


Theyre burning up the TORRID ZONE and they're warmly recommended. See more »


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

25 May 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Zona Tórrida  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on January 25, 1942 with George Tobias again reprising his film role. See more »


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 »


Mr. Steve Case: [after hearing Rosario has escaped] Don't tell me that Donley dame had her mob down here there and rescued her too?
Police Chief Juan Rodriguez: Oh, she's safe under key and lock.
Mr. Steve Case: She better be, and she's out of town on that boat, or you'll be on the next one, medals and all!
Police Chief Juan Rodriguez: Mr. Case, I must remind you I was elected by the people.
Mr. Steve Case: Yes, and they're finally wise to you. Bet those brass buttons the next time they go to the polls, they'll throw you right out of office.
Police Chief Juan Rodriguez: Mr. Case, I don't believe in a Third Term.
See more »


Referenced in Anything But Love: The Torrid Zone (1991) See more »


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

Oomph in the Tropics
18 April 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

This was the final film for James Cagney and Pat O'Brien who in my opinion invented the buddy film. O'Brien would be leaving Warner Brothers the following year and the two of them would not get together in another film until Ragtime in 1981 in which they both had small parts.

It's a typical fast paced comedy for both of them, they were incapable of doing anything else together. O'Brien slowed down when he was in a clerical collar and Cagney when he was doing a nostalgic film, but together the lines go at light speed.

Except when Ann Sheridan is concerned. Director Bill Keighley always slowed the pace for Sheridan because he didn't want anyone to miss some of her tart sayings. She has some of the best lines ever in her career. Typical being when she tells O'Brien that the stork that brought him must have been a vulture. Or when she's constantly one upping Helen Vinson who made a career of playing the other woman.

O'Brien is the hardnosed manager of a tropical fruit company and he's in big trouble because a local Sandinista type bandit leader, George Tobias, is wrecking his operations. Another distraction is Ann Sheridan whose redheaded beauty he figures is too much of a distraction to the men where redheads are scarce. Notice how O'Brien tells the local authorities what to do. More truth than humor in that situation.

He's desperate enough to hire back his number one troubleshooter James Cagney who gets the job done, but always gets himself in a jackpot where women are concerned. He's taken a fancy to Sheridan and she him.

A couple of other reviewers have pointed out the obvious similarities between this and The Front Page. The first film version of that classic play is the one where Pat O'Brien made his screen debut as the ace reporter. However he did it on Broadway in the role of the editor which he's playing here.

Perhaps this might be better described as another version of His Girl Friday. I can't say remake because both films came out at the same time. Sheridan comes off the same way as Rosalind Russell does in His Girl Friday, but Keighley also wants to accent her sensuality as well as her sharp tongue. He succeeds admirably because no woman in their previous films quite put off both Cagney and O'Brien the way Sheridan does.

The woman sure had oomph.

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