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The U.S. government is conducting experiements on the effects of exposure to space radiation by sending animals briefly into orbit. Following a malfunction, one of the rockets stays in space longer than planned, and is lost from the scientists' radar screens. Later, Dr. Brady, one of the rocket scientists, reads a news report about strange occurances in Central Africa. Theorizing that it may be the irradiated test wasp wreaking havoc in the jungle, he organizes an expedistion to investigate. Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <email@example.com>
The sequence in which hundreds of African natives attack the safari before being turned back by fire is taken from Stanley and Livingstone (1939). Note that star Jim Davis is costumed very much like Spencer Tracy was in that film. If you look closely the rifles used in 1939 footage and this movie's spliced in scenes are different models. See more »
In the closeup of the newspaper article headlines Central Africa in Turmoil, it is clearly visible that the upper half of the newspaper has been pasted over the lower portion. The thumb on the left hand side of the screen is at the dividing point between the pasted portions. See more »
Jock Ewing meets Albert Schweitzer and some big old Wasps
Before Jim Davis got his last and career part as Jock Ewing in Dallas, he had one tortured path to Hollywood success. He had a much publicized debut as Bette Davis's leading man in Winter Meeting which was one of her worst films. His portrayal of a war hero about to enter the priesthood met with a ton of critical guffaws. Still Davis persisted and took any kind of work. The Monster from Green Hell qualifies as any kind of work.
A wasp is sent up in space to see the effects. Unfortunately on re-entry the space capsule crashes in the region of West Africa and the wasp has grown to the size of a Panzer tank. To top it all off the geniuses sending up the rocket sent up a pregnant queen so we've got all kinds of those Panzer wasps running around Africa.
Jim Davis is sent to clean up the mess and runs into a medical missionary played by Vladimir Sokoloff. Albert Schweitzer was very much alive at the time and running his mission in West Africa. No one in 1958 mistook who Sokoloff was portraying. The wasps set up a colony in the shadow of a volcano. You can figure out the rest.
This is typical Fifties science fiction when all kinds of radiation was the explanation for these creatures. In this case it was the radiation from cosmic rays, presumably from the newly discovered Van Allen belt around the earth.
Tepid acting and chintzy special effects make The Monster from Green Hell great cult stuff. One thing though that is timely. An Arab character played by Eduardo Ciannelli joins forces with Davis and one of the natives Joel Fluellen to combat the danger the giant wasps present. Amazing how religious differences can suddenly melt away in time of crisis.
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