COBRA WOMAN (1944)
aka La Reina Cobra
(Action/Adventure, 1 hr 10 min, Technicolor)
Universal - U.S.A.
Edgar Barrier, Jon Hall (Ram), Sabu (Kado), Maria Montez (As: The Twin Sisters Tollea and Nadja)
Montez stars in a dual role as the rightful queen (Tollea) of a cobra-worshipping cult and her evil sister (Nadja) who tries to steal the throne. Hall and Sabu, who teamed with Montez on numerous occasions, are on hand to save the good queen.
Laughable jungle plot is given a highly stylized, colorful presentation by talented director Siodmak who created some of the best film noir of the 1940s and 1950s before returning to his native Germany where he continued to direct until his death in 1973.
This is the first role of Montez as a femme fatale. The movie exposes that the secret of her inexplicable impact to the public was the enormous conviction she was acting with, which supplied her lack of dramatic resources.
"Critics are writers. They like writing - and written characters. Maria Montez's appeal was on a puerly intuitive level. She was the bane of critics - that person whose effect cannot be known by words, described by words, flaunts words (her image spoke). Film critics are writers and they are hostile and uneasy in the resence of a visual phenomenon. They are most delighted by bare images that through visual bareness call thought into play to fill the visual gap. (...) A spectacular, flaming image - since it threatens their critic-hood need to be able to write - is bad and they attack it throwing in moral extensions and hinting at idiocy in whoever is capable of visually appreciating a visual medium" (page 28-29). (From the book J. Hoberman curated with Jack Smith's writings).
This dual role, the writers Gene Lewis and Richard Brooks created for Maria in COBRA WOMAN will, would be repeated by the movie producers with big stars as: Bette Davis (A Stolen Life, Warner Bros 1946), Olivia Haviland (Dark Mirror, Universal 1946) and Bonita Granville (The Guilty, Monograma 1947)
The critic Bill Feret was the first one in consider this film as a classic in its genre. Rex Reed, another famous north-american critic, has mentioned constantly the name of Maria Montez to his readers due to his frequent comments of this movie.
Charles Ludlan made a parody of the movie and the famous writer Gore Vidal was inspired in this film and in SIREN OF ATLANTIS for writing MAYRA BREKINRIDGE and MYRON.
COBRA WOMAN TRAILER
(Click on the image for watching a scene in Youtube.com)
Back to Montez Filmography
Go to Montez Page