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Snakes in Movies
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Snakes in Movies
White Huntress (1954)
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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As all good jungle adventure movies should, this one has several snake scenes. The action takes place in Kenya in the 1890s, and it was shot entirely in Kenya, which is rare for a low-budget adventure movie. It's a great example of false advertising, both in the title and in the poster, which resembles something out of one of the lurid men's magazines of the era. The tagline "White Woman vs. The Deadly Python" is not false, but it is very misleading. There is no white huntress in this movie, and there certainly is no battle with a python like that on the poster, but there is a white woman who wants to go hunting but is not allowed to go because the caliber of her rifle is too small. And she does kill a python with a knife after it crawls over her body while she's sleeping on the ground in a sleeping bag.

The story involves a wagon train of settlers traveling to Masai country in order to start a farming community. They hire two brothers to guide them, but one of the brothers has heard of a hidden place called Kayanga - the secret meeting place of the elephants. He intentionally diverts the wagon train away from the most direct route to where they are going in order to pass by Katanga so he can bring back as much ivory as he can. But instead they run into attacks by native tribe and wild animals, including lots of snakes.

The first snake encounter happens when the two brothers are hunting for game. They stop for a chat when suddenly they see a large venomous snake that just happens to be out in the open in daylight and they make a bet on who can shoot it, because in movies, all snakes are so dangerous that they always have to be killed, even though the men are on horseback many yards from the snake. The first guy misses, but the second guy hits it.

The second snake shows up when a young woman follows a Galago or Bush Baby under a tree. A python crawls on a branch and comes after the mammal. The woman picks up a stick to hit it with, but one of the brothers stops her, probably to keep her from getting injured, not out of respect for the snake.

Another python shows up when the woman is in her sleeping bag. It crawls over her body and neck. She grabs a knife and apparently she stabs it to death off-camera. (This proves you should always sleep with a knife on top of your sleeping bag.)

Finally, a man on his way to fill up a water container comes upon a large python coiled on the ground that strikes out at him and wraps itself around him, forcing him to wrestle it off him then shoot it.

The snakes shown in the movie pose absolutely no danger whatsoever to anybody in the movie, and could have simply been left alone, even the snake on the sleeping woman, but I suspect that most of the audience did not really know that and thought they were all deadly and dangerous.