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The Stranglers of Bombay (1959)

In the 1830s, a captain in the East India Company lobbies to investigate the criminal Thugee Cult of Kali, an organized crime group of stranglers and thieves.


Terence Fisher


David Zelag Goodman (as David Z. Goodman)




Complete credited cast:
Guy Rolfe ... Capt. Harry Lewis
Allan Cuthbertson ... Capt. Christopher Connaught-Smith
Andrew Cruickshank Andrew Cruickshank ... Col. Henderson
George Pastell ... High Priest of Kali
Marne Maitland ... Patel Shari
Jan Holden ... Mary Lewis
Paul Stassino ... Lt. Silver
Tutte Lemkow ... Ram Das


A murderous religious cult is way-laying travellers and stealing goods in nineteenth century India. As the disappearances mount and trade becomes difficult, the British East India Company is forced to act. But they give the job to an upper-class officer completely out-of-touch with the country rather than the obvious candidate who has been in India for years and well understands the people and culture. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

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Did You Know?


The military men of the story are not part of the British army but the East India Co., a private concern that virtually ruled India for two centuries. With roots in the 16th century, the company was granted a monopoly from 1708 to 1857, when it became the largest global trader in the world, dealing in cotton, silk, indigo and even opium. See more »


When Captain Lewis is tied to the ground, a reflection is visible between him and the cobra, revealing that a pane of glass separates them. See more »


Capt. Christopher Connaught-Smith: [wakes and finds that his entire company have been strangled in their sleep] IS ANYBODY ALIVE? ANYBODY?
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Alternate Versions

Shots of Marie Devereux reacting excitedly to the mutilation of Thuggee victims were cut for the U.S. release. See more »

User Reviews

Whoever rules decides the truth.
25 May 2012 | by hitchcockthelegendSee all my reviews

The Stranglers of Bombay is out of Hammer Film Productions. It's directed by Terence Fisher and written by David Zelag Goodman. It stars Guy Rolfe, Jan Holden, Andrew Cruickshank, George Pastell, Marne Maitland and Paul Stassino. Music is by James Bernard and cinematography by Arthur Grant.

For hundreds of years there existed in India a perverted religious sect, dedicated to the wanton destruction of human life....

So secret was this savage cult that even the British East Indian Company, rulers of the country at the time, was unaware of their existence....

So it begins, a compact and often violent retelling of the Thuggee Cult in India in the 1820s. It was considered strong stuff back on release and had the head suits at the BBFC shifting uneasily in their office chairs. It's a film that has also fallen unfairly into the realm where political correctness dwells, where some folk are seemingly obsessed with decrying old movies for their outdated political portrayals. This deserves better, for it's a very good script, where although the history is difficult to pin down as being correct, it does at least show a care and attention to detail where the Thugee Cult is concerned.

It's also a good old adventure yarn, full of intrigue, peril and detective work. Fisher directs at a clip, never allowing the plot to stagnate, and the low budget afforded the project is barely evident amongst some very effective sets. Cast are mostly good value for money, with lead players Rolfe perfectly restrained as an officer desperately trying to be heard and Pastell owning the film as the High Priest of Kali; in fact he is revelling in the bad guy role. Bernard provides an ear banging effective musical accompaniment.

Torture, maiming, heroics and a clever mongoose, something for everyone here! 7/10

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Release Date:

May 1960 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Stranglers of Bombay See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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