Wednesday, December 8, 2010

1959 - THE STRANGLERS OF BOMBAY, Hammer's lurid exercise in sadism and racism


A British officer for the East Indian Trading Company, investigates the infamous thuggee cult in India.


Hammer's go to director Terrance Fisher filmed this little piece of incoherent sadism, violence and racism.  If this film were to be believed, just about every brown skinned person on the continent of India was a member of a scarf strangling cult primarily directed at the white British merchants running the country.  The film seems to have been made as an exercise in how much Hammer studios could get away with.  The film features eye gouging, hand removal, a hanging, disembowelment, and lots of strangling. 


There is some attempt to present the British as pretty clueless about the country and culture of India they are occupying, but the main thrust of the film is on the viciousness of the Indians and their complete disregard for human life.  Even for a film made in 1959, it still says lot about the white Anglo Saxon culture's dehumanizing disregard for anyone who isn't from their culture or has their skin color.

Typical scene from The Stranglers of Bombay, a British officer is being tortured while a large bosomed woman watches.

As a film, The Stranglers of Bombay, is not really one of the better Hammer films.  The screenplay is loaded with coincidences and underdeveloped characters.  Terence Fisher doesn't do the best job staging the action scenes.  The production also looks cheap even for a Hammer film, with lots of phony looking studio sets and outdoor scenes which look like they were filmed at a municipal park.

The thuggee cult shows up again as the antagonists in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom a film just about as unenlightened as this. " From the Icons of Adventure" DVD collection.

80 minutes.

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