A Friend of Cinema OCD pointed me in the direction of Green Hell, selling me on it with the information that Vincent Price considered it his worst film. Really? Worse than Theater of Blood (1973)? I'm so there! Well it turns out Green Hell is no where near as bad as Theater of Blood. It's not George Sander's worst film by a long shot either. And I'd even go so far as to say it's not even James Whale's worst film, (that honor could well belong to Wives Under Suspicion).
Warning: Spoilers will follow!
George Sanders and Vincent Price. Price dies so early in the film, I kept expecting him to come back as a zombie later on, else why would they bother to hire him?
The story follows a team of archeologist/adventurers lead by Dr. Loren (Alan Hale with a dubious European accent) and Keith "Brandy" Brandon (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.). Along for the ride are bigamist David "dies twenty minutes into the Film" Richardson (Vincent Price), Tex (George Bancroft), totally emo Graham (Gene Garrick), beyond emo youngster Hal Scott (John Howard) and emo for a George Sander's character, Forrester (George Sanders).
After arriving at Incan ruins, they use their team of native guides to build a big house where they settle in for the long haul, excavating the ruins with dynamite and kicking over mummified remains while looking for the treasure hall. Perhaps annoyed by the mistreatment of their sacred burial sites, unfriendly natives show up and shoot Richardson with poison arrows.
Red Dust as he attempts to remain steadfastly grumpy about this doll face turning up on his expedition and ruining everything. It's a given that he's head over heels in love with her.
A Dreadful Man, but I can't help but see a bit of George and Benita here watching him going all out to amuse and cheer up the widow.
10 out of 10 for this maneuver: a reverse guitar, straight into a dance floor cut-in, finishing with a "hold this for me will ya jack?"
A year passes and the dwarfs decide perhaps its time Snow White went back to civilization because she might not be safe in the jungle or something. Mrs. Richardson discovers that her husband was married to someone else as well, named "Helen" which gives her an excuse to admit her feelings for Brandy. She promptly represses these feelings for the good of the expedition. Then she pretends to like Forrester more than she does even though she looks like she's holding back vomit when he proposes to her.
In a painful scene, Forrester attempts to buck Brandy up a bit by asking him, "is there enough left of us to drink to 'us'." Some viewers speculate that this and several other scenes were part of Whale's diabolical plot to work gay subtext into the film. Whatever. Can't a brother make another brother really uncomfortable any more without it being a whole thing?
While the boys fight about who gets to escort Mrs. Richardson back to town the native guides suddenly disappear, a storm destroys most of the camp and the archeologists, sheltering from the weather in the ruins, finally stumble over the treasure. The hostile natives take advantage of the chaos to attack and the whole cast appear doomed.
I apologize for the crummy caps made from Youtube. I just got carried away. It's a fun movie, with a great cast. Steve will yell at me if I don't mention that Karl Freund of Universal Horror fame was the DP on the film. There's at least a minute or two of horror sneaked in between the emofests. In one memorable scene the native guides get roasted alive by the unfriendly pro-Incan natives. If you look up reviews for the film you find quite a few people who saw it in the theater who remember this scene very vividly. They must have been a bit traumatized, poor souls.
And here's a weird tidbit for you: in looking for stills of this movie online, I found that it was listed in a web directory called the Shampoo Forum for people who fetishize hair washing. If only there was a forum for people who fetishize George Sanders playing the guitar behind his head. Oh wait, there is. It's called the comments section of CinemaOCD.