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Olivia de Havilland,
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Upon discovering his fiancée Tollea has been kidnaped, Ramu and his friend Kado set out for a Pacific isle where all strangers are to be killed on arrival and the inhabitants, who are frequently sacrificed to an angry volcano god, worship the cobra. The island is ruled over by Tollea's evil twin Naja, the Cobra Woman, who, besides having designs on her new prisoner Ramu, also desires to eliminate any competition from her benevolent sister. Written by
Doug Sederberg <email@example.com>
Released in 1944, COBRA WOMAN was precisely the sort of escapist fare demanded by audiences seeking relief from the horrors of World War II--and over the years it has become something of a cult classic, a wild and riotous mixture of outrageous sets and costumes, ridiculous plot and dialogue, and faintly absurd performances. If you are seeking a mindless romp with tremendous camp appeal, look no further: this film is the goods.
Directed by Robert Siodmak, who go on to become a noted director of film noir, COBRA WOMAN concerns an innocent South Seas maiden (Maria Montez) who is to marry a sailor (Jon Hall)--but who is suddenly kidnapped and whisked off to Cobra Island, where she discovers she is actually the twin sister of the evil high priestess. Can Maria, Jon, a half-naked Sabu, a heavily made-up Lon Chaney Junior, and sarong-wearing monkey overthrow the evil priestess and return the island to peace? Well, maybe, if only Maria can lay hands on the priestess' cobra jewel! The plot is amusing in a silly sort of way, but it is really the style of the thing that makes it such a charming bit of fluff. The best way to describe it is as pure Hollywood: costumes and sets are a truly wild mixture of Arabia, the ancient Aztecs, South America, Carmen Miranda's hats, Dorothy Lamour's sarong, and Joan Crawford's shoulder pads, and Cobra Island comes complete with a bad special-effects volcano just for good measure.
The cast plays with a mixture of sincerity and inadequacy that is very entertaining. Maria Montez was a great beauty of the era and she wears the brilliance of Technicolor like a second skin, and if she clearly wasn't known for either acting chops or dancing skills... well, let's see YOU say lines like "I want that cobra jewel" with a straight face or squirm around in a dress that must weigh a ton without falling off your heels! Jon Hall is appropriate American Male and Sabu is, well, Sabu, and as a friend of mine recently said, "What were expecting? Long Day's Journey Into Night?" No, you won't find any deep meanings here, and thank heaven for it. This purely for the fun of it with no artistic ambitions and as many wild colors as Universal Studios could throw on the screen. So put your brain on hold, grab your cobra jewel, and settle down for some purely mindless pleasure! Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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