Cobra Woman


1h 10m 1944

Brief Synopsis

Upon discovering his fiancée Tollea has been kidnaped, Ramu and his friend Kado set out for a Pacific isle where all strangers are to be killed on arrival and the inhabitants, who are frequently sacrificed to an angry volcano god, worship the cobra. The island is ruled over by Tollea's evil twin Naja, the Cobra Woman, who, besides having designs on her new prisoner Ramu, also desires to eliminate any competition from her benevolent sister.

Film Details

Release Date
May 12, 1944
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,324ft

Synopsis

On the day she is to be married to Ramu, the beautiful Tollea is abducted from her peaceful South Seas home by Hava, the mute agent of her grandmother, the queen of the Cobra people. MacDonald, a Scotsman living on the island, tells Ramu that Tollea has been taken back to Cobra Island, where he was once shipwrecked during a storm. Sentenced to death by the natives, MacDonald was tortured into unconsciousness, only to awake and find himself back at sea with the infant Tollea aboard his ship. Though he reared Tollea as his own daughter, MacDonald tells Ramu that he must forget Tollea, as she is "gone to them forever," but Ramu ignores his friend's warnings and heads for the forbidden island. Ramu is joined on his quest by Kado, his stowaway teenage friend, who soon uses his blowgun to save Ramu's life from a panther. Meanwhile, Tollea is told by her grandmother that she has been brought back to the island to save her people from the evil reign of her twin sister, the High Priestess Naja. Ramu is soon captured by Naja's guards and ordered to be part of a large human sacrifice to the island's active volcano, but he escapes from his prison cell during an interrogation by Martok, Naja's priest and corrupt advisor. Mistaking Naja for Tollea, Ramu romances the priestess, who quickly falls in love with him. Learning from Ramu that her sister is on the island, Naja consents to let Tollea leave the island in safety if Ramu agrees to stay behind with her, but Ramu flees from her. Kado, in the meantime, is captured himself after he mistakenly frees Martok from his prison binds. Refusing to tell the priest where Ramu and Tollea are, Kado is tortured by Martok until he is rescued by Hava and Coco, a chimpanzee. The queen asks Naja to abdicate her crown in favor of her sister, but the priestess refuses and orders a thorough search of the island for Tollea, Ramu and Kado. That night, the queen is murdered by Martok when she refuses to reveal Tollea's whereabouts, but the dying woman pledges to exact revenge against him in death. The next morning, Ramu and Kado are captured by Naja's guards, so Tollea finally goes to the royal castle and confronts her sister, demanding as the first born her rightful place as high priestess. Naja then attempts to kill Tollea, but is killed herself when she falls from one of the castle's windows while attempting to throw a spear. Tollea takes her sister's place and orders a stop to the executions of Ramu and Kado. Realizing who she is, Martok demands that Tollea perform the priestess's deadly cobra dance. The volcano then erupts, and in the ensuing mayhem, Hava kills Martok. After the evil priest's death, the volcanic eruption stops and the Cobra people are released from their repression. Ramu and Kado then leave the island, but Tollea stows away on their boat and convinces Ramu to return to Cobra Island with her, stating, "Thy people shall be my people."

Film Details

Release Date
May 12, 1944
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,324ft

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to Hollywood Reporter news items, portions of this film were shot on location in Laguna Beach and Baldwin Lake, CA. Actors Maria Montez, Jon Hall and Sabu had previously appeared together in Universal's highly successful 1942 release Arabian Nights (see entry above) and 1943's White Savage . Hollywood Reporter production charts include Elisabeth Risdon in the cast, but her appearence in the released film has not been confirmed. Modern sources state that the absurdity of the plot of Cobra Woman was a source of creative inspiration for such diverse individuals as theatrical producer Charles Ludlam of the Ridiculous Theatrical Company and novelist Gore Vidal.