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Cobra Woman (1944).

July 21, 2009

The Scoop:
This technicolor extravaganza is campy B-movie jungle adventure fun at its best.

Maria Montez, who really deserves to be a bigger drag queen icon, plays twins (one good and one evil, of course). It seems that the evil twin, Naja, is the priestess of an ancient island cobra cult and when she discovers the existence of good twin Tollea, she has her kidnapped for no good reason. Tollea’s fiancé Samu (Jon Hall) sets off to rescue her with his trusty native pal Kabo (Sabu) by his side. Lon Chaney Jr. also lurks around the edge of the action. Plus, there’s a chimp!

All the swashbuckling, campy fun and beautiful native girls on display here make this a perfect time-waster. (In fact, Kenneth Anger once called this is all-time favorite film, which should give you an idea of what you’re in for.) Noir master Robert Siodmak stepped outside of his comfort zone to direct this with gusto from a completely inept script by Gene Lewis and Richard Brooks. It’s so wrong it’s right.

Best Bit:
The cobra dance. Oh yes. You must stick around to watch Maria do her cobra dance.

Side Note:
Famed Shakespearean stage actor Fritz Leiber, near the end of this life, has a small unbilled part.

Companion Viewing:
“Voodoo Woman” (1957).

1,000 Misspent Hours.

Take a Look:
The trailer:

“I have spoken. King Cobra!”

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