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Snakes in Movies
The Rains of Ranchipur (1955)
Spoiler Alert !

Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
The Rains of Ranchipur The Rains of Ranchipur The Rains of Ranchipur
The Rains of Ranchipur The Rains of Ranchipur The Rains of Ranchipur
The Rains of Ranchipur The Rains of Ranchipur The Rains of Ranchipur
This is a colorful CinemaScope romantic melodrama set in the fictional city of Ranchipur, India. It was actually filmed in Pakistan because India refused to give permission to film in India. They probably knew how silly and offensive Richard Burton would look as an Indian with his blue eyes, brownface makeup and a turban, and they wanted no part of it.

Burton is Dr. Safti, born an Untouchable but raised like a son by the ruler of Ranchipur, and Lana Turner is Edwina, a wealthy cold-hearted American with a bad reputation because although she married an English Lord for his title, she doesn't let the marriage stop her from sleeping around. (Respectable women were not allowed to enjoy sex back in 1955.) In Ranchipur, she attempts to make another conquest - Dr. Safti. They go on a tiger hunt where he resists her attempt at seduction, so she storms off in anger, walking back to her tent. That's when the snake shows up.

Edwina sees a cobra in the grass and freezes, screaming in terror. The snake is well out of striking distance from her and she could easily walk away from it, but when does that ever matter in a movie? The snake sound effects are ridiculously loud - the snake is hissing like an angry cat and making rattling sounds, which cobras don't do. Dr. Safti comes running to save the damsel in distress. He tells Edwina to hold still then he picks up a burning torch that somehow magically appears next to him and throws it at the cobra. The snake crawls away quickly to avoid being burnt to death. (The sadistic film crew actually filmed a real torch dropping onto a live cobra! There certainly wasn't any Humane Society animal monitoring on this movie.)

Edwina is so freaked out by the snake that Dr. Safti slaps her hard on the cheek to calm her down in one of those "thanks-I-needed-that" movie cliche moments, then they kiss for the first time. The snake scene was just an excuse to get them both heated up and ready to lock lips as the overbearing orchestral strings swell in volume and they begin the next phase of their big love story. Yawn.

Thank goodness all that love nonsense gets interrupted when it becomes a disaster movie with thunder and rain, earthquakes that open huge cracks that swallow up people, dams bursting and flooding the entire city, and bridges full of people collapsing. Those special effects won an Academy Award. The rest of the movie is understandably forgettable.