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Safe in Hell (1931)

Passed | | Crime, Drama | 12 December 1931 (USA)
After accidentally killing the man who raped her and forced her into prostitution, a New Orleans woman flees to a Caribbean island. While she awaits her fiancé, the vicious local police chief sets his sights on her.


William A. Wellman


Houston Branch (play), Joseph Jackson (adaptation) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Dorothy Mackaill ... Gilda Carlson - aka Gilda Erickson
Donald Cook ... Carl Bergen - aka Carl Erickson
Ralf Harolde ... Piet Van Saal
John Wray ... Egan
Ivan F. Simpson ... Crunch (as Ivan Simpson)
Victor Varconi ... General Emmanuel Jesus Maria Gomez
Morgan Wallace ... Mr. Bruno - the Hangman
Nina Mae McKinney ... Leonie - the Hotel Manager
Charles Middleton ... Lawyer Jones
Clarence Muse ... Newcastle - the Porter
Gustav von Seyffertitz ... Larson (as Gustav Von Seyffertitz)
Noble Johnson ... Bobo - a Caribbean Policeman
Cecil Cunningham ... Angie


Sought by the New Orleans police for accidentally killing the man who raped her and forced her into prostitution, a woman flees New Orleans for a Caribbean island. Surrounded by lecherous criminals, she awaits the return of her fiancé and seems to be holding her own until the treachery of the local police chief leaves her but one choice to gain her freedom. Written by indexcard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

12 December 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Lost Lady See more »

Filming Locations:

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


A 1931 publicity shot of Boris Karloff has him listed as playing the role of Bobo in this 'recently completed' film, yet Noble Johnson portrays the character on screen, and this has never been included on the Karloff filmography. See more »


Gilda Carlson - aka Gilda Erickson: I aint got so many friends that I'm forgetting ANY of them.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The title card shows burning flames covering the letters of the title. See more »


The Peanut Vendor (El Manicero)
(1927) (uncredited)
Written by Moïse Simons
See more »

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User Reviews

enjoyable melodrama
20 January 2008 | by mukava991See all my reviews

Although this film directed by the versatile William Wellman is not essentially different from many other fallen women pictures of the early talkie era, it has elements that lift it out of the ordinary. For contemporary viewers it's an opportunity to see Dorothy Mackaill in a starring role. She was a beautiful and self-possessed actress whose career came and went too quickly. At times she looks so much like Marion Davies that you could easily mistake them for twins. Here she plays a prostitute fleeing the law with a young fellow who loves her. He deposits her in a hotel on a steamy Caribbean island inhabited by escaped male criminals. There is the appealing shock of seeing two African-American actors actually speaking and behaving in a dignified and even admirable manner: Nina Mae MacKinney and Clarence Muse as a hotel proprietress and porter, respectively. Muse speaks the King's English better than the blonde leading lady and comports himself in a far more civilized manner than any of the white men. MacKinney is spectacular. She holds her own no matter who she is playing against and even sings a spirited round of "Sleepy Time Down South" as she pours wine for a large table of diners. Another case of wasted talent in the old Hollywood days.

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