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Cobra Woman (1944)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, Romance | 12 May 1944 (USA)
A beautiful woman is abducted from her peaceful South Seas home and taken to Cobra Island, where her grandmother Queen wants her to displace her evil twin sister and vengeance against her priest and corrupt advisor.

Director:

Robert Siodmak

Writers:

Gene Lewis (screenplay), Richard Brooks (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Maria Montez ... Tollea / Naja
Jon Hall ... Ramu
Sabu ... Kado
Edgar Barrier ... Martok
Mary Nash ... Queen
Lois Collier ... Veeda
Samuel S. Hinds ... Father Paul
Moroni Olsen ... MacDonald
Lon Chaney Jr. ... Hava (as Lon Chaney)
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Storyline

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 <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

featuring the Stars of "Arabian Nights" (all original posters) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the time this film was made, Montez was (along with Abbott and Costello and Deanna Durbin) one of Universal's most popular box office attractions. As a result, no expense was spared in its making, and it features many of the elements that came to personify "The Maria Montez formula": An exotic, fictional setting, vividly colorful (and occasionally outrageous) costumes, elaborate special effects (including matte paintings and process shots) and expensive sets. It was also, like most of Montez's movies, filmed in the then expensive process of Technicolor. More than 75 years after its release, this is Montez's best-remembered film, yet it is now in the public domain. See more »

Goofs

When the rowing boat is beached its large pair of oars are not visible. See more »

Quotes

Tollea: [with heavy accent] Geef me that cobra jool! Eeet ees rightfully mine!
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Connections

Featured in The Thoughts That Once We Had (2015) See more »

User Reviews

"The Mad Nightmare of a Decaying Brain!"
4 November 2003 | by dwingroveSee all my reviews

"No drug-fevered brain could dream up the horrors of Cobra Island!" But, apparently, two Universal Script-writers could. This immortal camp classic stars the sublime Maria Montez as twin sisters - one Good, one Evil. Considering La Montez could not even play one part convincingly, her dual role is something of a stretch. She may not be able to act, but she does look gorgeous trying.

The action takes place on one of those Technicolor South Sea islands where a volcano is always rumbling, gongs are always banging for the next human sacrifice and a supremely irritating chimpanzee is always gambolling about in a pair of Paisley-pattern diapers. Lon Chaney Jr is on hand as a deaf-mute priest. Lucky man, he doesn't have to speak any of that dialogue!

As the aged Cobra Queen, Mary Nash looks a tad bewildered. Wasn't it only yesterday she was playing Katharine Hepburn's mother in The Philadelphia Story? Lo, how the mighty are fallen! Sabu beams away in his role as Hollywood's favourite racist/colonial stereotype. Jon Hall spends his time looking for excuses to unbutton his shirt and show off his muscular chest. I for one am not complaining.

Still, nothing and nobody can ever upstage our Maria. As the depraved sister Naja, she writhes about wickedly in her Cobra Dance - clad only in a floor-length silver lame evening gown, with matching silver f**k-me shoes. (Uncharted this island may be, but every drag-queen in the world seems to go shopping there.) And lest we in the audience harbour any lingering doubts about her acting skills, she follows up every speech with the deathless words - "I HAVE SPOKEN!"

The insipid good sister Tollea really is no match. In this part, Maria does little more than pose beside the nearest pond or palm-tree - gazing into the Technicolor sunset and dreaming of better scripts. (Believe it or not, Jean Cocteau offered her the role of Death in his film Orpheus, but couldn't afford her fee!) Yet it's fascinating to see director Robert Siodmak sketching out the schizo psychology he would explore fully in films like The Spiral Staircase and The Dark Mirror.

Appalling as much of it undoubtedly is, Cobra Woman may still be the greatest film of its kind...and if anyone can work out what 'kind' that is, please write and tell me.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 May 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cobra Woman See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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