Tuesday, November 29, 2011


David is a handsome British safari guide who heads into dangerous territory to finish off a leopard that his middle-aged client only wounded. The land, marked by tree carvings of a white rhinoceros, in inhabited by a tribe that is cursed by spirits of the past, and that insists on killing any white men who trespass because it was white folks that brought on all their troubles by killing off the rhinos. Sure enough, after David kills the leopard, he is captured by the tribe who put on a big dance before they sacrifice him in front of a huge statue of a white rhino. However, as soon as David touches the rhino's horn, time freezes, the rocks split, and David finds himself in the past, among a tribe of fierce (as in, they wear false eyelashes and have fabulous hair) Amazon women. The hot brunettes, led by Kari, have enslaved the hot blondes, led by Saria, and the grungy men (no leader) who seem to have wandered in from some other time and place altogether and who were responsible for past enslavement and destruction. One hot blonde gets sacrificed monthly to appease the rhino god, or something. Kari wants to make David her lover and co-ruler, but he's fallen for Saria, and eventually, with David's help, an uprising against Kari is successful.

This is another of Hammer’s mid-60s forays into exotic adventure-fantasy (see SHE) and lovers of the campier aspects of these films will like this one. Beauty queen Martine Beswick is the main reason to watch this; she bites into her role with gusto, and by playing it mostly straight, adds to the camp value of the film. Her best scene has her writhing about, in a skimpy bikini-loincloth, on her throne, trying to entice David into sharing her pleasures. Michael Latimer as David is attractive but not the heroic-hunk type, and he plays most emotions by scowling or looking off-camera, but you get used to him. Hungarian actress Edina Ronay is the very 1960s-looking Saria. There is a credit for choreography, and there are indeed several tribal dances that are actually kind of fun to watch. Actor and playwright Steven Berkoff, known for his villainous roles in films like Octopussy and Beverly Hills Cop, has a one-line bit at the end. Its B-budget means it was filmed on cheap sets, but it all looks pretty good in widescreen format. [TCM]

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