Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Thanks to DVDs and Turner Classic Movies, I have caught up in recent years with B-movies of the 50s and early 60s, and one thing I've learned is this: if the title promises voluptuous scantily-clad women, there will also be at least one hunky scantily-clad man present. That's the only reason I watched this little flick and I was not disappointed. It even works fairly well on its own as a low-budget cross between Gilligan's Island and Forbidden Planet. Radio journalist Jeff Richards and pilot John Smith are flying to Australia for a conference when their plane loses both an engine and radio contact at the same time. They head for a small island when they hear a voice over a loudspeaker warning them away. Smith makes an emergency landing on the beach anyway, and the two are met by a kindly-looking older man (Alan Napier) who reluctantly agrees to let them stay until they can fix their plane. Much to the delight of Richards and Smith, Napier has three lovely daughters (Mercuria, Venus, Urana) who have been raised in isolation on the island—luckily, they have managed to master the basics of modern hair style and make-up.

Between chatting up the young women and working on the plane, Richards and Smith (pictured above) discover that Napier is a former atomic scientist who regretted his role in the creation of the bomb and disappeared to get away from the world. And yet, in the movie's biggest plothole, he is still working with uranium—thanks to solar power panels that power everything in his island home. When Napier realizes that Richards will tell the world about his hideaway, he destroys their plane with a hand-held flamethrower and manages to drive away a search plane, so the guys start building a raft in secret, with help from the daughters, all of whom develop little crushes on the men. In the end, the flamethrower plus the uranium equal trouble, leading to a nuclear explosion. Not to worry: everyone survives, Napier sees the error of his ways, and an Air Force plane takes them all back to civilization.

There is potential here for a decent sci-fi adventure film, but I'm guessing the low budget put the kibosh on any effective special effects—the few that are present are not very special. The disillusioned scientist and his daughters are right out of Forbidden Planet, and the homemade cave in which they live is pretty cool, but there is little logic in any of the relationships, nor consistency in character. Yes, I admit it, I stayed for the whole thing because of the two hunks. Richards is dark, beefy and hairy; Smith is blond, slim and smooth. I am far from the first reviewer to notice that the two men do seem more taken with each other than with the girls. They both go a little ga-ga for the innocent babes, but the only pressing of flesh is during massages; Venus starts in on Richards, but Smith finishes him off, so to speak. Napier (Alfred on TV's Batman) is OK but the three women are pretty much interchangeable except when Urana, the youngest (Diane Jergens), acts like a brat. It's difficult to wholeheartedly recommend this, but there is something almost cutely goofy about it that makes it memorable. [TCM]

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