APPOINTMENT IN HONDURAS(director: Jacques Tourneur; screenwriters: Karen De Wolf/from a story by Mario Silveira and Jack Cornall; cinematographer: Joseph Biroc; editor: James Leicester; music: Louis Forbes; cast: Glenn Ford (Steve Corbett), Ann Sheridan (Sylvia Sheppard), Zachary Scott (Harry Sheppard), Rodolfo Acosta (Reyes), Jack Elam (Castro), Ric Roman (Jiminez), Rico Aloniz (Bermudez), Paul Zaramba (Luis), Stanley Andrews (Captain McTaggert); Runtime: 79; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Benedict Bogeaus; RKO; 1953)
“Stifling jungle adventure that’s good on atmosphere but routine in everything else.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Stifling jungle adventure that’s good on atmosphere but routine in everything else. It plays like a Jungle Jim serial seen on those past Saturday matinees. It’s a minor film in the oeuvre of Jacques Tourneur (“Out of the Past”/”The Leopard Man”/”Night of the Demon”), who keeps it moving along at a fast-pace but never manages to bring the inert screenplay by Karen De Wolf and predicable story by Mario Silveira and Jack Cornall to life.
The film is set in 1910. Glenn Ford plays the gritty Central American planter Steve Corbett from America, who has an urgent rendezvous in Honduras to deliver money to the ousted in a coup Honduran President so he can buy guns to fight back and restore democracy. When the ship’s captain refuses to dock at the port of Honduras because of the chaotic revolutionary situation, Corbett releases four violent prisoners who take over the steamer. They take a rowboat and as hostages take a revolting rich American couple, Sylvia and Harry Sheppard (Ann Sheridan & Zachary Scott), whose marriage is on the rocks. The secretive Corbett tells no one of his mission as he leads the unsavory group across the jungle by slashing through the thick jungle bush with his machete to cut a trail. To get the prisoners to join his scheme, he lied and told them they were going to Guatemala. In the Honduran jungle they come across, a puma, attacking red ants, snakes, a boar, crocodiles, piranhas, vampire bats and tiger fish. If that weren’t enough the dictator’s army is after them, Corbett comes down with malaria, the cowardly betrayer Harry is jealous that Corbett will steal Sylvia (dressed for the jungle in a negligée) from him and tries to betray him at every turn, the prisoner leader Reyes (Rodolfo Acosta) is a money-hungry swine who steals Corbett’s money belt and the two have a fight until death scene. There’s also a steamy romance, that wasn’t very steamy, between the macho Corbett and the pretty Sylvia.
Sheridan was given the lead in this jungle thriller due to a legal settlement when she was dropped by RKO from My Forbidden Past (1951).
REVIEWED ON 11/6/2007 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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