Tropic Zone


1h 34m 1953

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1953
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 14 Jan 1953
Production Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.; Pine-Thomas Productions
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Gentleman of the Jungle by Tom Gill (New York, 1940).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 34m
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Film Length
11 reels

Synopsis

With the help of American pilot Tapachula Sam, Elena Escobar, a nightclub entertainer, smuggles injured Dan McCloud out of the Central American nation of Guatura in Sam's plane. Although Sam is devoted to Elena, Elena is infatuated with Dan, a mysterious American who stumbled into her hotel room and begged to be hidden from the police. Sam and Elena drop Dan off in Puerto Barrancas, a small "banana port," where Dan blends in with the dock workers. At the same time, ship owner Hans Lukats informs banana plantation foreman Bert Nelson that because his cargo ship is full, Nelson cannot load a shipment he has just trucked in. Nelson reports the problem to his boss, plantation owner Flanders White, who reluctantly orders a halt to all banana cutting. Flanders then encounters Dan, who has been sleeping in her bathhouse. Although caught trespassing, the cavalier Dan complains about the bathhouse's leaky roof and criticizes Flanders' farming operation. That night, Dan reunites with Sam and Elena at Lukats' nightclub, where Elena performs, and observes a drunken Nelson causing a ruckus at the gaming tables. When Nelson returns to the plantation, still drunk, Flanders accuses him of ruining her farm and announces she is assuming full control. The next day, Dan finds Flanders crying in her office and reveals that he once worked as a foreman on a large plantation. Flanders, who has maintained her father's policy of treating her native workers well, begs Dan to take over from Nelson, and Dan reluctantly agrees. While touring the fields with Flanders, Dan identifies operational problems and convinces Flanders that they must spend money to make money. Although Nelson appears to accept Dan as the new "banana culturist," he objects to all of Dan's directives, forcing Flanders to fire him. After a new irrigation system is installed, Flanders pays her workers, who rush off to celebrate Fiesta Day in Puerto Barrancas. Flanders and Dan then drop by to see Sam and the jealous Elena at the club, and Dan is summoned into Lukats' office. There Lukats reveals that Nelson is on his payroll and was sabotaging Flanders' farm in order to force her to sell. When Dan rejects Lukats' suggestion that he continue Nelson's work, Lukats starts to call the police, threatening to expose Dan as a fugitive. Thus cornered, Dan agrees to do Lukats' bidding, including keeping Flanders from going to the workers' village that night. Despite Dan's attempts to waylay her, Flanders ends up in the village, giving presents to the children. As she is doing so, a truckload of Lukats' thugs arrives and sets fire to the houses. Dan, Flanders and the workers try to fight off the thugs, and Dan manages to telephone Sam for help before the phone line is cut. Aided by Sam and his friends, Flanders and Dan force the thugs to retreat, and the fires are subdued. Later, while Flanders nurses his wounds, Dan admits that he became involved in a political battle in Guatara and because he is a wanted man, allowed Lukats to blackmail him. Flanders accepts Dan's explanations, and later Dan confronts Lukats in the club about the village attack. Lukats shrugs off Dan's threats to report him, however, and intimates that his boat might become disabled and unable to ship any bananas, despite the contract he signed with Flanders. Thus blocked, Dan agrees to continue with Lukats' sabotage plans, but asks Sam to get a message to a friend at Tropic Fruit, the large company for which he used to work, requesting they buy Flanders' crop. At Sam's urging, Dan also tells Elena that he does not love her, and she tearfully accepts the rejection. Later, at the plantation, Flanders and Dan, acting on Lukats' instructions, turn off the irrigation water, which also supplies the village with water. A few days later, a policeman fines Flanders $1,000 for turning off the water and depriving the workers. Faced with another fine if they fail to restart the water, Flanders and Dan defy Lukats and turn the tap back on, but learn later that the tap has been sabotaged. Flanders has only the payroll with which to pay the resulting $2,000 fine, but discovers it has been stolen. When Dan hears that Nelson, who he knows was behind the theft and the sabotage, is organizing the workers against Flanders, he storms into the village and challenges him. Dan and Nelson fight until Dan triumphs and forces Nelson to reveal the payroll's location. Just then, Sam's plane is sighted, and after Flanders reassures the workers that she is still on their side, she and Dan rush to see Sam. Sam reports that Tropic Fruit has agreed to give Flanders a contract, on condition she get 8,000 banana stems to the port by noon the next day. By rallying all the villagers, Flanders, Dan and Sam are able to collect 8,000 stems and begin trucking and carrying them to the docks the next morning. When they reach town, with only seconds to spare, Lukats sees them and orders the gates to be locked. Dan, who has learned from Sam that the political party he helped is now in power and therefore he is no longer a fugitive, crashes his truck through the gates, and the workers arrive at the docks just in time. Flanders signs the contract with Tropic Fruit and embraces the exonerated Dan.



Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1953
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 14 Jan 1953
Production Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.; Pine-Thomas Productions
Distribution Company
Paramount Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Gentleman of the Jungle by Tom Gill (New York, 1940).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 34m
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Film Length
11 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Tropic Zone marked Ronald Reagan's first film following the termination of his long-standing Warner Bros. contract. Hollywood Reporter news items add the following actors to the cast list: Louis Cortina, Elias Gamboa, Antonio Roux, Mary Louis Lamar, Kay Koury, Pete Weissmuller, John Angelo, Jerry Chiat, Lawrence Maldonado, Ruhl Samples, Minnie Perolio, Raymond Beltram, Ernesto Zambrano, Maurie Avery, Charles Stevens, George Sissons, Maria Tavares, Leon Bouvard, Carlos Acosta, Carlos Albert, F. Balderrama, Alfred Berumen, Miguel Contreras, Capt. Fernan B. Garcia, Armando Gonzales, Joe Lopez, Paul Lopez, Armando Rodriguez, John Saenz, Israel Garcia, Charles Cirillo, Michael Morelli, George Magrill, Marvin Lindsay, Oscar Vena, Samuel Marlowe, Al Dowling, William Washington, Carlos Martinez, Joe C. Narcisse, Nick Borgani, Roque Ybarra, George Sawaya, Jack Tornek, James Dime, Leo Abbey, Charles Abraham, Samuel Calpriest, Ralph Acosta, Art Felix, Louis Chortina, Joseph Draper, Lawrence Duran, Harry Gillette, Frankie Grandetta, John Kovach, Robert Lugo, Richard Lamarr and Robert Polo. The appearance of these actors in the final film has not been confirmed. Modern sources add Pilar Del Rey as "Victoriana" to the cast. Although Hollywood Reporter announced in April 1952 that Geri Galian was writing the musical score for the film, Lucien Cailliet is credited onscreen as the composer.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Winter January 1953

Released in United States Winter January 1953