Green Hell (film)

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This article is about the film. For the song, see Green Hell (song).
Green Hell
Theatrical release poster
Directed by James Whale
Produced by Harry E. Edington
Written by Frances Marion
Starring Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
Vincent Price
Joan Bennett
Alan Hale, Sr.
George Sanders
John Howard
Cinematography Karl W. Freund
Edited by Ted Kent
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
Running time
87 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Green Hell is a 1940 jungle adventure film directed by James Whale with photography by Karl Freund. The cast includes Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Joan Bennett, John Howard, George Sanders, Alan Hale, Sr., Vincent Price and Ray Mala.[1] The film was released by Universal Studios.

Green Hell was given a lavish production by Universal, which built a massive indoor jungle set on a sound stage. An Inca Temple 125 feet high, 225 feet wide, and 45,000 square feet in area were constructed. Having spent big bucks on a film which turned out to be a critical and financial disaster, Universal used the set again, recycling it into an Egyptian temple for The Mummy's Hand (1940).[2]

Whale made only one more completed film after this, a 1941 World War II romantic melodrama They Dare Not Love, starring George Brent, improbably cast as an exiled Austrian prince fighting the Nazis.


A group of adventurers journey deep into the South American jungle in search of ancient Incan treasure. A beautiful woman, brought to their camp by hired bearers, has come to join her husband, a newer member of the group, who was recently killed by hostile natives. As the months pass, jealousies and tempers flare as fights break out over the woman. The Incan treasure is eventually found but the treaure-seekers, now united by a common enemy, are about to be attacked by hordes of fierce natives armed with bows and poisoned arrows.


Critical reception[edit]

The New York Times wrote, "every one keeps a stiff upper lip except Miss Bennett, who purses hers, and the youngest member of the expedition, who becomes hysterical and screams, "Oh, the monotony of it!" Monotony, egad! What a word for the best worst picture of the year!";[3] while The Radio Times wrote, "famously ludicrous jungle melodrama...Although capably staged in studio sets by James Whale and well enough is made unendurable by the dialogue and situations devised by former Oscar winner Frances Marion. As Vincent Price once said, "About five of the worst pictures ever made are all in this one picture";[4] Leonard Maltin called it "hokey but entertaining." [5]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Green Hell". BFI. 
  2. ^ "Green Hell". TV Guide. 
  3. ^ "Movie Review - Green Hell - THE SCREEN; Monotony in the Jungle -". 
  4. ^ Allen Eyles. "Green Hell". RadioTimes. 
  5. ^ "Green Hell (1940) - Overview -". Turner Classic Movies.