Archive for Green Hell

Where the Buffalo Roam

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , on February 26, 2009 by dcairns

George Sanders sings! God, I love George. He’s really taking the mickey here.

His vocal partner is George Bancroft, from the early thrillers of Josef Von Sternberg, who seems to have loosened up enormously since THUNDERBOLT. Maybe Sternberg was responsible for his hypnotically slow delivery in that film. At any rate, he doesn’t look any older. Must’ve had some kind of Fountain of Middle Age.

The film is GREEN HELL, directed by James Whale. Despite the stellar cast (Douglas Fairbanks Jnr and Joan Bennett are top-billed), co-star Vincent Price described it as “about four of the worst movies ever made,” but it resolutely refuses to enter the domain of So-Bad-It’s-Good-ness. That “about four” crack is a fair assessment of the shapeless narrative, blame for which seems to fall, alas, on Frances Marion, once one of the most powerful women in Hollywood, responsible for great films like Sjostrom’s THE WIND and THE SCARLET LETTER, but considered by many to have declined lamentably during the talkie era. James Whale himself was on the slide, not due to any traumatic loss of talent, but simply due to the vagaries of showbusiness and Hollywood politics.

Still, this was worth seeing, right?

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