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Torrid Zone

(1940 b 88')

En: 6 Ed: 5

A plantation manager tries to keep his best man from leaving by luring him to stay with women while they fend off a local revolutionary.

In the Caribbean Steve Case (Pat O'Brien) finds Lee Donley (Ann Sheridan) in a saloon singing "My Caballero" and tells Garcia to fire her, because she is American. She pleads she needs money but makes some playing poker. Case has her arrested and calls Bob Anderson (Jerome Cowan) at plantation #7 to hurry the banana shipments. Case tells police chief Rodriguez (Frank Puglia) to shoot Rosario (George Tobias), who tells Lee he killed a man and gives her a ring. Before he is shot, Rosario escapes. At the train Case criticizes Wally (Andy Devine) and learns that Rosario escaped. Case calls Bob Anderson to guard against Rosario. Case makes sure that Lee is deported. Nick Butler (James Cagney) kicks an officer overboard for harassing Lee. Case resents Nick for breaking up his marriage but says he needs him. Nick has a job in Chicago but gives Case two weeks.

Nick gets a room and helps escaping Lee hide. She asks to go to the plantation, and Nick kisses her. Nick sees his old ring and cuts cards for it, losing $300. Police look for Lee and tell Nick she is a card cheat. Nick asks Case for his $1,000 and gets $100. Lee climbs on the train too. Nick gives orders to banana workers and demands the $300 back from Lee. Nick greets Gloria Anderson (Helen Vinson), and Lee gets a room with her. Bob Anderson tells Nick that Rosario took twenty men; but Case won't let Nick go after them. Rosario and men steal dynamite and potatoes. Gloria tells Nick that she is divorcing and kisses him. Lee warns Nick about Bob Anderson, lying it was her lipstick on Nick's lips.

At the train Nick loans Lee $100. Wally goes with her, but they find that Rosario blew up the track and go back. Nick sends Bob Anderson to fix it. Rosario tells the two native men Nick sent to find him to collect the $50 from Nick, who insists on finding Rosario first. Nick finds overseers losing money to Lee. Nick sneaks up behind Rosario's ambush and captures him. Gloria nurses Nick's wounded arm, and Nick tells Lee he'd rather see her in Chicago. Lee visits Rosario but declines romance; she likes Nick. Case arrives and wakes up Nick, who is so angry he quits. Gloria can't stop Nick from leaving either. Nick kisses Lee good-bye, and Case comes in with police chief Rodriguez. Lee and Rosario are arrested; but Rosario escapes again. Gloria wants to leave with Nick. Case fires Bob Anderson. Rosario holds them up; Case pays Nick $900, and Rosario takes it. Nick socks Rosario, who flees. Case tells Lee to pretend to be wounded so that Nick will stay. Nick calls Lee a phony and kisses her.

Snappy dialog enhances this melodrama, and it is especially sharp between the rival women. Nick says there are not enough Prince Charmings to go around; but a fantastic one can usually be found in the movies.

Copyright © 2002 by Sanderson Beck

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