(1953)2Craig ButlerAppointment in Honduras -- a surprisingly lackluster title for an adventure film -- has crocodiles, piranhas, really big snakes and Glenn Ford, which is probably enough for some viewers. It also has some impressive direction from Jacques Tourneur and the always welcome lensing of Joseph Biroc; so why isn't Honduras a better film? The culprit, as is often the case, is the screenplay. Karen de Wolf's script is lifeless. This is one of those scripts which has the feeling of having been assembled rather than written: take setting A, add in premise B, mix characters C, D and E, and sprinkle with conflict F, as well as barriers G, H and I. Add a little murky water and blend, but don't smooth the lumps out. Structurally, the story works well enough, although there are small gaps in logic that will worry some; but it doesn't have any real inherent verve. What life there is in the film comes from Tourneur's intense direction. He's not so interested in the artificial love triangle that is grafted onto the story, so those sections don't work so well; but he makes the action sequences (too familiar on paper) ring with a decent degree of excitement, and he and Biroc pour on the atmosphere. It's not his best work, but considering the material, it's quite impressive. Ford is also quite good, and Ann Sheridan has some nifty moments. Zachary Scott fares less well.
Ann Sheridan landed the leading role in Benedict Bogeaus Productions/RKO Radio's Appointment in Honduras as part of a legal settlement arising from Sheridan's being dropped from RKO's My Forbidden Past (1951). Set in Central America, the plotline resembles a Republic serial, with Ms. Sheridan and leading man Glenn Ford facing such perils as man-eating fish, alligators, outsized hornets and a jungle brushfire. Ford's involvement in the proceedings comes about when he is hired to make certain that a huge sum of cash reaches an ousted South American political leader. Sheridan and her husband Zachary Scott are taken hostage by Ford's crooked employers and forced to go along. Guess who survives the ordeal and who doesn't. Jacques Tourneur's gutsy direction and Joseph Biroc's vivid Technicolor photography conspire to make Appointment in Honduras seem more expensive than it was.