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Serpent Island (1954)

 -  Adventure
3.3
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Ratings: 3.3/10 from 37 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 3 critic

An office secretary from Scranton, Pennsylvania (Rosalind Hayes) sets out to find her great-grandfather's hidden treasure. She enlists the aid of a former Marine Engineer turned harbor bum ... See full summary »

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Title: Serpent Island (1954)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Pete Mason
Mary Munday ...
Ricki André
Tom Monroe ...
Kirk Ellis
Rosalind Hayes ...
Ann Christoff
Don Blackman ...
Jacques
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Storyline

An office secretary from Scranton, Pennsylvania (Rosalind Hayes) sets out to find her great-grandfather's hidden treasure. She enlists the aid of a former Marine Engineer turned harbor bum (Sonny Tufts) and the greedy Captain (Tom Monroe) of the sea ship "Constellation". They find the gold hidden on an island near Haite, but it's guarded by a voodoo cult and a boa constrictor. Written by Scott Blacksher

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Plot Keywords:

sea | haite | voodoo | snake | boat

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Adventure

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Budget:

$18,000 (estimated)
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1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

Bert I. Gordon, Snake Charmer!
25 March 2001 | by (New England) – See all my reviews

The opening credits of this long-sought obscurity roll over an indecipherable native painting, and the first thing we realize is this lost Bert I. Gordon flick is IN COLOR!!! Hooray! And a quiet, pastoral color, at that. Then a narrator intones over stock pans of California marinas. What ensues is an incredible melodrama with considerable sexual tension and some fervent and convoluted dialog, a pleasant surprise from Bert I. Gordon, instigator of many cheapo 50s "Big Monster" genre. With a mix of adventure, mystery and a touch of noir, this flick is as naively charming as Corman's MONSTER FROM THE OCEAN FLOOR, and in fact covers much of that great Grade-Z territory. There is a fully-scripted drama depicting a doomed love story, cliche and tacky though it is, a lurid melodrama in the grand tradition. Hero Sonny Tufts has a lot of scary topless scenes, with that blocky Jack LaLanne 50s athletic build that looks like a freak show today. Cutie Rosiland Hayes runs around the boat in bikinis and baby dolls, goading the two rival males into a sexual turf war. After some great Panama Canal stock footage, we witness heroine Ricky's crass manipulation of the two men, playing one off the other towards her economic and egotistical benefit. She's truly an evil character, almost demon-like and serpentine, shamelessly gloating about her power over men. Tufts falls for Ricky, tells her a tale of postwar woe, that after the big one, vets such as he couldn't make a life for themselves. "The market was flooded with bright young men...", not like today! Arriving on the island, the three goofs are immediately stalked by creepy, slithering natives. There's some incredible stock footage of native dance rituals that could have been lifted from a 30s "Mondo" documentary like AFRICA SPEAKS, including a beautiful, intense fire dance sequence. Pete encounters an old pal, a black woman who's the island's Voodoo Priestess! At the hasty climax, bad Ricky wrestles a big rubber snake, which makes its appearance 57 minutes into an hour-long picture. Ricky fights the snake while the two men fight each other. Its like a bargain basement reenactment of Adam and Eve in the garden, or one of the most primal (and literal) Freudian psychodramas ever staged. This flick is a powerhouse of repressed sexuality, with an additional level suggesting covert occult influence, all wrapped up in a goofy melodrama worthy of a comic book, a huge psychotronic surprise and yet another cultfilm paragon uncovered, thanks to Rhino Video's purchase of the appetizing Medallion TV library. Like its peers MONSTER FROM THE OCEAN FLOOR and PORT SINISTER, SI is a total cheat whose sci- fi/fantasy elements are peripheral, indeed all but invisible, but whose human drama takes a front seat and shines through the crude, haphazard trappings of a Grade-C adventure meller.


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