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The Green Goddess

USA 1930
produced by
Warner Brothers
directed by Alfred E. Green
starring George Arliss, Ralph Forbes, H.B. Warner, Alice Joyce, Ivan F. Simpson, Reginald Sheffield, Betty Boyd, Nigel De Brulier, David Tearle
screenplay by Julien Josephson, based on the play by William Archer

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Major Crespin (H.B. Warner), his wife Lucilla (Alice Joyce), and their friend Dr Traherne (Ralph Forbes), who will eventually turn out to be her secret lover, crashland somewhere in the Himalayas, and as fate has it, there just happens to be a small and secretive kingdom nearby. Initially, our three heroes are welcomed with open arms by its leader, the Raja (George Arliss), but it soon becomes clear that he wants to keep them as hostages, actually, because three of his brothers, religious fanatics, are to be executed in British-ruled India. Now the Raja is no fool to believe he could ever exchange his hostages for his brothers, he just figures should his brothers be killed, the three of them would make great sacrifices for his Green Goddess. And Major Crespin's insistance on British superiority over the primitive tribes just like the Raja's only encourages him to go through with his plan. However, the Raja has a soft spot for Lucilla, and promises to leave her alive should she become his wife - but she refuses.

The Raja has a British butler though, the cutthroat Watkins (Ivan F.Simpson), and our heroes figure they can bribe him into radioing out an emergency message. He deceives them though, so Crespin and Taherne throw him off a balcony to his death, then Crespin himeself tries to radio for help but is shot dead by the Raja.

The Raja again tries to get Lucilla to marry him and threatens to kill Taherne otherwise. This time Lucilla gives in to his demands, but the Raja knows it was not genuine and now prepares to sacrifice both her and taherne - When British bomber planes arrive and threaten the Raja to bomb his kingdom to Kingdom Come should he not abandon his prisoners ... to which he meekly agrees.

 

An early adventure talkie that seems to have jumped straight out of the pulps: There's an exotic Kingdom, an evil Oriental, an insistence on Western superiority rather typical for its time, but there are also planes, bomberplanes, the Himalayas and of course a love story. All of this doesn't add up to too good a movie: Basically, the whole piece is a bit too dialogue heavy to really work (a fate which it shares with many early talkies), the story buildup is a bit on the weak side, the racist undercurrents are (at least from today's point of view), several actors have not yet really let go of their exaggerated silent film mannerisms, George Arliss looks somewhat out of place as an Oriental, and the finale, despite the appearance of a fleet of bomber planes, is a bit of a letdown.

On the plus side, several of the sets look quite impressive, but sets alone can't save films, now can they?

 

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD