Rainbow Island (1944)

RAINBOW ISLAND (1944)
Article #1259 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-25-2004
Posting Date: 1-22-2005
Directed by Ralph Murphy
Featuring Dorothy Lamour, Eddie Bracken, Gil Lamb

Three sailors from the Merchant Marines find themselves stranded on an island in the Pacific, and one of them must pose as a local god to keep them all from being executed.

You know, I don’t screen these movies before I watch them, so sometimes I have a little trouble zeroing in on the fantastic elements that caused them to be included in someone’s list of fantastic genre movies. Sometimes I don’t succeed; when the best I can say is that it has a few scenes with a slight horror feel, I’ve pretty much failed to find anything more substantial. This movie gave me some problems in this regard. Initially, I thought I’d have to argue that the South Seas Island Paradise movies (think Dorothy Lamour in a sarong) could be considered a subgenre of fantasy; after all, they have about as much connection to real life as a Tarzan movie. Then I thought I’d have to take the route that the impersonation of a god (gods are fantastic figures, after all) caused it to brush up to the realm of fantasy; after all, we’ve seen plenty of movies where people pretend to be ghosts or vampires. Fortunately, the movie made it easy for me at the fifty-five minute mark; our heroes have an encounter with a giant man-eating plant.

Still, that’s a short scene, and whether you’d want to bother with the whole movie is up to you. Still, this one is pretty entertaining, and the comic antics of the sailors are actually funny enough to pass muster. On a side note, the giant bust of the great god Momo bears an uncanny resemblance to Rock Hudson, and fans of the forties Universal horrors may recognize Elena Verdugo as one of the native girls.

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