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Cobra Woman

Cobra Woman
Directed by Robert Siodmak
Produced by George Waggner
Written by Scott Darling (story)
Gene Lewis
Richard Brooks
Starring Maria Montez
Jon Hall
Edgar Barrier
Mary Nash
Music by Edward Ward
Cinematography W. Howard Greene
Edited by Charles Maynard
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
  • May 12, 1944 (1944-05-12)
Running time
71 minutes
Language English

Cobra Woman is a 1944 American melodrama/adventure film of the South Seas genre, directed by Robert Siodmak. It stars Jon Hall, Sabu, Mary Nash, Lon Chaney, Jr. and, in a dual role, Maria Montez. Shot in Technicolor, this film is typical of Montez's career at Universal Pictures, and, although mostly forgotten today by the general public, venerated as a camp classic for its legendary phallic snake-dance, and Montez's immortal words: "Geev me the Cobra jewl (sic)".

Avant-garde filmmaker Kenneth Anger has called it his favourite film. Film critic Leonard Maltin gave the film three stars out of four and called it a camp classic.

The beautiful Tollea is abducted and taken to the Cobra Island, where the Queen is her grandmother. Hava warns the angered Ramu not to go after her, but Ramu sets sail for the forbidden island, with his young friend Kado accompanying him as a stowaway.

A panther attacks Ramu, who is saved by a dart from Kado's deadly blowgun. They continue the search for Tollea, unaware that the high priestess of the island is Naja, her twin sister. The queen has ordered Tollea to be forcibly returned to Cobra Island only so she can displace her evil sister.

Ramu mistakenly becomes mistakenly involved with Naja, who falls in love with him. Kado is captured and torturned by the brutal Martok, but refuses to reveal Ramu's whereabouts. Martok proceeds to murder the Queen.

When they finally meet, Naja attempts to kill her sister with a spear, but plunges to her own death instead. Martok insists that Tollea perform a forbidden cobra dance, whereupon the island's volcano begins to erupt. It ceases when Martok is killed by Hava, and when Ramu is about to return home, Tollea asks him to remain and help her rule Cobra Island.

Universal announced the film in June 1942 starring Montez, Hall and Sabu - even before shooting had begun on Arabian Nights. It was meant to follow that film but was pre-empted by White Savage.

  • May 12, 1944 (1944-05-12)


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