Back in 1944, when Robert Siodmak shot Cobra Woman, there weren't any CGI wizards. All he had were sarongs and Maria Montez — and by God, that's all he needed! Montez made dozens of exotic adventure flicks for Universal by playing a fiery, exotic beauty, but none are better than Cobra Woman. It's a ridiculously fun camp-fest that has Montez playing both the virtuous royal princess, Tollea, and her twisted twin, Naja, the cruel ruler of Cobra Island. It's a headlong rush of a flick full of barely disguised phallic symbols at every single turn, plus a good heaping spoonful of scary foreigners and freaky religion. This is not high-class cinema, but it is an excellent example of the kind of escapist fare audiences used to dull the pain of WWII.
Sat., Feb. 23, 7 p.m., 2013
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