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Snakes in Movies
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Snakes in Movies
Club Paradise (1986)
Spoiler Alert !

Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
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This is a mid-80s comedy with a beautiful location and a good eclectic cast, including Robin Williams, Peter O'Toole, Twiggy, and Jimmy Cliff, the great Reggae musician, who plays several songs with his band throughout the movie. Robin Williams plays a Chicago fireman who is injured on the job, retires on his insurance settlement and moves to the Carribean island of St. Nicholas. (The movie was filmed on Jamaica.) Some greedy developers want to put Club Paradise, Jimmy Cliff's resort, out of business so they can turn the entire island into a giant resort for the rich, so Williams buys half of the club and convinces his love interest Twiggy to stay and help fix it up. After the improvements, they advertise and lure in a bunch of American tourists who fly in on a small plane called "The Charter They Come" in a nod to Jimmy Cliff. Of course, when the tourists get to the island everything goes wrong, and that's where the comedy comes in, along with assorted predictable jokes about marijuana, dreadlocks, reggae, and class struggle revolution.

The snake shows up in a short comic scene. After some of the women on the Club Paradise beach start sunbathing topless, which is forbidden, Williams boats them to a secluded nude beach. But the local kids steal their clothing so they dress up in leaves and towels and hike through the forest to try to find their way back to their hotel. In the forest somebody wonders if there are any poisonous snakes, but another person replies that there are no snakes because they imported the mongoose to kill them. Shortly thereafter one of the women is resting when a large live Burmese Python crawls near her and then suddenly we see it wrapped around her neck. (The continuity is wrong - first the snake comes in from the right, then it is surrounding her from the left.) She acts as if the snake is choking her in the background while her husband talks on and on oblivious to her dilemma. The real snake is replaced by a prop fake snake when we see her wrestle with it, for even more comic effect, but when the husband finally notices her, we see the real python again. They both wrestle with it until it just crawls away. The man quickly says that it's a Burmese which is a swallower not a biter. I like that description. It sort of makes sense in describing constrictors vs. venomous snakes, even if it's not accurate. Of course, the poor python actor could have cared less about the humans who were pretending to wrestle with it, because it only wanted to get back to its trailer as soon as possible.