IMDb > Torrid Zone (1940)
Torrid Zone
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Torrid Zone (1940) More at IMDbPro »

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Torrid Zone -- Trailer for this classic action adventure


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Richard Macaulay (original screenplay) and
Jerry Wald (original screenplay)
View company contact information for Torrid Zone on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
25 May 1940 (USA) See more »
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Ann Sheridan outdistances Cagney, O'Brien in so-so romantic adventure See more (21 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

James Cagney ... Nick Butler

Ann Sheridan ... Lee Donley

Pat O'Brien ... Steve Case

Andy Devine ... Wally Davis
Helen Vinson ... Gloria Anderson
Jerome Cowan ... Bob Anderson

George Tobias ... Rosario

George Reeves ... 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)
Frank Mayo ... Shaffer
Jack Mower ... McNamara
Paul Hurst ... Daniels
George Regas ... Sergeant of Police
Elvira Sánchez ... Rita (as Elvira Sanchez)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Trevor Bardette ... Policeman Escorting Lee on Ship (uncredited)
Max Blum ... Bit Part (uncredited)
Joe Dominguez ... Manuel - Rosario's Henchman (uncredited)
George Humbert ... Hotel Manager (uncredited)
Manuel López ... Chico - Rasario's Henchman (uncredited)
Joe Molinas ... Native (uncredited)
Don Orlando ... Hotel Employee Hanging Mosquito Netting (uncredited)
Tony Paton ... Charley - Plantation Worker (uncredited)
Ralph Peters ... First Train Engineer (uncredited)
Ernesto Piedra ... Policeman (uncredited)
Paul Renay ... Jose - Rosario's Henchman (uncredited)
Victor Sabini ... Bit Part (uncredited)
Betty Sanko ... Bit Part (uncredited)
Rafael Storm ... Man (uncredited)
Leo White ... Smiling Man to Whom Lee Sings (uncredited)
Tom Wilson ... Passerby as Train Moves (uncredited)

Directed by
William Keighley 
Writing credits
Richard Macaulay (original screenplay) and
Jerry Wald (original screenplay)

Produced by
Mark Hellinger .... associate producer
Hal B. Wallis .... executive producer
William Cagney .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Adolph Deutsch 
Cinematography by
James Wong Howe (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Jack Killifer (film editor)
Art Direction by
Ted Smith 
Set Decoration by
Edward Thorne (uncredited)
Costume Design by
Howard Shoup (gowns)
Makeup Department
Perc Westmore .... makeup artist
Production Management
Jack L. Warner .... in charge of production
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Frank Heath .... assistant director (uncredited)
Sound Department
Oliver S. Garretson .... sound
Special Effects by
Byron Haskin .... special effects
Hans F. Koenekamp .... special effects (as H.F. Koenekamp)
Music Department
Leo F. Forbstein .... musical director
Other crew
John Mari .... technical advisor
Crew verified as complete

Production Companies
  • Warner Bros. (presents) (as Warner Bros. Pictures Inc.) (a Warner Bros.-First National picture)

Additional Details

Also Known As:
88 min
Black and White (Sepiatone)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Finland:K-16 | Sweden:15 | USA:Approved (PCA #6091) | USA:TV-PG (TV rating)

Did You Know?

For the plantation scenes, 950 banana trees were planted over 5 backlot acres at Warner Bros. Studios.See more »
Continuity: 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:[to Nick] I don't want to put you out. I'll take in washing for my room and board.
Wally Davis:[slightly laciviously] Well, I got a couple of buttons that could stand sewing.
Lee Donley:[sarcastically] Shirts, I suppose.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Breakdowns of 1941 (1941)See more »
Mi CaballeroSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
5 out of 12 people found the following review useful.
Ann Sheridan outdistances Cagney, O'Brien in so-so romantic adventure, 15 November 2002
Author: bmacv from Western New York

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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