Sep 23, 2018
Tropic Zone may not be much of a film, but it proved to be a hell of a conversation piece for your Bonzo panelists! We delve into the afterlife of the WW2-era "Good Neighbor Policy", the sadly stunted career of co-star Estrelita Rodriguez, the relationship of this 1950s A-minus Pine-Thomas production to Warner Brothers' Cagney-Sheridan-O'Brien extravaganza Torrid Zone (1940), and, above all, the economic Imaginarium of American corporate and paramilitary meddling in the affairs of Central and South American countries during the 20th century.
Tropic Zone presents its banana-based battles in strangely depoliticized and context-free terms - so depoliticized and context-free, in fact, that Romy, Gareth, and Dave could not agree at all on any of the stakes of the various conflicts depicted and referred to in the film. Was Ronald Reagan dislodged from his initial two-term Presidency of Bananas by leftist guerrillas or CIA backed death squads? And how about the film's central struggle against the evil Lukats? Is this a serious proletarian uprising? Or just a way to solidify Rhonda Fleming's "benevolent" despotism over the fictional nation of Puerto Barrancas? If this was a real country, the answer would be fairly obvious, but here on the island of populist fable, you're free to read the events in just about any way you want (at least until the climactic charge of the United Fruit Company gunboats).
Also: Gareth and Romy argue over the probable cause of humanity's imminent self-immolation.
"I'll Always Love You" by Estrelita Rodriguez
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"Driving Reagan" by Gareth Hedges