The Green Goddess is a 1930 American Pre-Code film directed by Alfred E. Green. It was a remake of the 1923 silent film, which was in turn based on the play of the same name by William Archer. It was produced by Warner Bros. using their new Vitaphone sound system, and adapted by Julien Josephson.
It stars George Arliss, Alice Joyce (in her final film role), Ralph Forbes and H.B. Warner. Arliss and Ivan F. Simpson played the same parts in all three productions, while Joyce reprised her role from the earlier film. Arliss was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance.
A small plane carrying three British citizens — Major Crespin (H.B. Warner), his estranged wife Lucilla (Alice Joyce), and pilot Dr. Traherne (Ralph Forbes) — becomes lost and is forced to crash land in the tiny realm of Rukh, somewhere near the Himalaya Mountains. The Raja (George Arliss) who rules the land welcomes them.
However, as his three brothers are soon to be executed for murder by the British, his subjects believe that their Green Goddess has delivered into their hands three victims for their revenge. The three are to be killed once the brothers are dead. The Raja professes to his guests no great love for his brothers, as they had posed a danger to the succession of his own children, but sees no reason to anger his people. However, he becomes attracted to Lucilla and offers to spare her life if she will become his wife. She refuses.
The prisoners become aware that the Raja has a telegraph, operated by the Raja's renegade British exile and chief assistant, Watkins (Ivan F. Simpson). Hoping to send for help, they try to bribe Watkins, but when they realize he is only leading them on, they throw him off the balcony to his death. Major Crespin manages to send a message before the Raja's men break into the room. The Raja personally shoots Crespin in the back, killing him in mid-transmission.
The next day, Traherne and Lucilla are taken to the temple of the Green Goddess. Once more, the Raja renews his offer to Lucilla, but is again turned down. Given a moment alone, Traherne and Lucilla confess their love for each other. Then, in the nick of time, six British biplanes appear in the skies over Rukh. Lt. Cardew (Reginald Sheffield) lands and demands the release of the couple. The Raja gives in.George Arliss as The Raja
Ralph Forbes as Dr. Traherne
H.B. Warner as Major Crespin
Alice Joyce as Lucilla
Ivan F. Simpson as Watkins
Reginald Sheffield as Lieutenant Cardew
Betty Boyd as An Ayah
Nigel De Brulier as Temple Priest
The Green Goddess was filmed in 1929 and completed before Disraeli (1929) but was held out of release until later at the request of George Arliss because he felt that Disraeli was a better vehicle for his talkie debut.
The Green Goddess was first adapted for cinema in 1923. Produced by Distinctive Productions, it was directed by Sidney Olcott and played by George Arliss, Alice Joyce and Jetta Goudal.
The Green Goddess was adapted as a one-hour radio play on the January 6, 1935 broadcast of Lux Radio Theater, starring Claude Rains.