There's nothing particularly original about the movie, but it features an outstanding cast in a fast-paced, entertaining story. It's hard to beat the combination of Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Joan Bennett, and George Sanders, with an excellent supporting cast including Alan Hale, Vincent Price, John Howard, and George Bancroft.
Keith "Brandy" Brandon (Fairbanks) leads a group of explorers into the jungle on a search for Incan treasure. Weeks later, native bearers arrive unexpectedly with Stephanie Richardson (Bennett), the wife of one of the men; Stephanie is ill with jungle fever, and when she is lucid, she has to be told that her husband has died.
Stephanie's not in mourning for long; she learns her husband was two-timing her (he must have been crazy), and she's soon got both Brandy and Forrester (Sanders) in love with her. How lucky can a girl get?
Well, as it turns out she'll need a lot of luck, because murderous natives are closing in, and once the explorers' ammunition runs out, it's not going to be a pretty situation.
If one looks too closely, there's probably all sorts of things wrong with the movie, including sometimes silly depictions of the natives or how miraculously cool and lovely Stephanie looks in the humid jungle. But why look for problems when the movie's such fun? I found myself thoroughly entertained for the movie's 87-minute run time.
As Stephen H. Scheuer wrote in his 3-star review, "Fairly standard idea given bite by a fine cast and director."
The director was James Whale, who directed the first sound versions of WATERLOO BRIDGE (1931) and SHOW BOAT (1936). In 1939 he had directed Bennett in THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK.
Fairbanks, Bennett, and Sanders are all one would expect or want in a story such as this -- romantic, beautiful, dashing, and brave. Alan Hale, who sometimes wears out his welcome in blustery performances, is quite fine here in a restrained performance.
The movie was filmed in black and white by Karl Freund. Bennett's lovely jungle wardrobe was provided by Bernard Newman and Irene.
GREEN HELL isn't available on video or DVD, but it can be tracked down various places via the internet, including YouTube.