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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


"DADDY, WHAT MAKES THE TROPICS SO HOT?" Reason No. 1: Cagney: The One Man Earthquake - at his Best! 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?


James Cagney's (Nick) last line to Ann Sheridan (Lee) "You and your 14 carat oomph" was a subtle nod to Warner Brothers billing Ann Sheridan as "the oomph girl" beginning in the late 1930s. Although it was an arguably accurate nickname, Ann Sheridan did not care for the label. 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 »


Lee Donley: [picking up a cigarette dropped by Gloria] I believe this is how the Chicago fire got started.
Gloria Anderson: The Chicago fire was started by a cow.
Lee Donley: History repeats itself.
See more »


Referenced in Breakdowns of 1941 (1941) 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

Fast-paced dialogue, action, romance -- the trinity of film!
5 August 2000 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

This film is basically "The Front Page" set on a banana plantation, with the "Oomph Girl" thrown in for a love interest, but somehow it manages to transcend that sort of genre-typing.

Everyone from Jimmy Cagney and Pat O'Brien (in one of the best of their 10 films together) to George Tobias shines in this snappy action-romance, sprinkled with the kind of dialogue that made the movies of the '30s and early-'40s the most fun ever. My favorite exchange in the history of film is in this movie...

Helen Vinson (Gloria) is kissing Jimmy Cagney (Nick), and her cigarette has slipped from her fingers to the floor. The camera follows the cigarette down, and then a hand reaches in from out-of-frame to pick it up...the camera pulls back to reveal Ann Sheridan (Lee):

Lee: This is how the Chicago Fire got started.

Gloria: The Chicago Fire was started by a *cow*.

Lee: History repeats itself.

Now, how can you not love a film like that? Ann Sheridan singing! Pat O'Brien conniving! George Tobias as a Latin American bandit! Jimmy Cagney with a mustache!

Sadly, Torrid Zone is not yet available on video, but it shows up on TV from time to time. Don't miss it!

17 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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