Monster from Green Hell

Tagged: Film

Film (1957). Gross-Krasne Productions/Distributors Corporation of America. Produced by Al Zimbalist. Directed by Kenneth G Crane. Written by Endre Bohem and Louis Vittes. Cast includes Jim Davis, Joel Fluellen, Robert Griffin (credited as Robert E Griffin), Vladimir Sokoloff and Barbara Turner. 71 minutes. Black and white with concluding sequence in colour.

Dr Quent Brady (Davis) is a US Scientist conducting experiments concerning the effects of radiation on living organisms in outer space, and has been sending Rockets containing various specimens into earth orbit. One such rocket fails to return as scheduled, and when it does de-orbit crashes in a Central African nation. Along with colleague Dan Morgan (Griffin), Dr Brady leaves for Africa, planning to rendezvous with local resident Dr Lorentz (Sokoloff) and his lovely daughter Lorna (Turner). With Arobi (Fluellen) as guide, the party reaches the area of the rocket's crash-landing after considerable adventure with hostile natives and local wildlife. The radiation has mutated the wasps aboard into giants (see Great and Small; Mutants) which have destroyed any other surviving specimens, stung Lorentz to death and are threatening the whole region. After a failed attempt to destroy the queen wasp with special grenades, an erupting volcano solves the problem of the mutated insects and most of the party survives to return home.

This fairly late entry into the cycle of 1950s US giant-insect Monster Movies, Monster from Green Hell is mildly unusual for its switch from black-and-white to colour for the volcanic eruption. Once again radiation causes gigantism, as in the markedly similar Them! (1954) and other such films of the period. Lead actor Davis toiled for decades in various routine films, often Westerns, until finding stardom late in life as Jock Ewing, patriarch of the Ewing family in the first three seasons of the television series Dallas (1978-1991); he died in 1981. [GSt]

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