Not even splendid Hawaiian locales, Corman's make-em-fast direction, a score by the celebrated Ronald Stein and great lurid cover art can save this tepid little piece from the late Fifties. There is some splendid underwater photography which is, alas, lost due to the truly washed-out print quality of this new release by Alpha Video. And it's terrible because this reviewer wanted it to be a color sensation and clearly the best thing about this film is the look of it.
Briefly the plot concerns two handsome adventurers, blond Chris (Bill Cord) and his brunette cohort, Jim (Don Durant), finding themselves on an island off Hawaii inhabited by a throng of dark-haired beauties. They are ruled by an aged hag named Queen Pua (Jeanne Gerson) in a performance that recalls Maria Ouspenskaya in RKO's 1945 TARZAN AND THE AMAZONS. She rules the island with the toughness of an old beach conch and willingly sacrifices young maidens to sharks that protect an underwater Tiki god. The real human sacrifice is the viewer that has to put up with 63 minutes of this abysmal print.
One scene in particular is memorable and that is when Queen Pua summons the shark that will eat a delicate moist morsel by crying out on a rock the undying plea to her deity: "Konga-Roa!" Naturally the deadliest looking shark gets real excited and bares his teeth as he prepares to munch down on Lisa (Mahia) who happens to be Christopher's main squeeze! So Mahia is spared becoming Mahi Mahi for a big finned f---k from the deep blue sea! Too bad nobody was around to administer CPR to this writer but one can't have everything!
Fans of male beefcake will not be disappointed with the two athletic leads though. The girls are a feast for the eyes as well as bait for some pretty lucky sharks. For lovers of exploitation, and this reviewer happens to be among you readers, this should have been a fairly decent entry in the sweeps. The affair reminds one of the days of "Adventures in Paradise," the television series which captivated us with the presence of Gardner McKay (who allegedly was endowed with enormous talent below the beltline!) So it's a bit of the Fifties fascination with South Sea tales going here and doesn't deserve a total lambasting.
Bill Cord's career output is this and a few bit parts in television; Polish beauty Lisa Montell has a few credits, mostly television appearances; Don Durant also had a brief career but enjoyed some success in the 'Johnny Ringo' television series (1955). Russian-born Jeanne Gerson had better luck and appeared in Ed Wood's BRIDE AND THE BEAST (1958) and an uncredited appearance in the celebrated VALLEY OF THE DOLLS (1967).
The film clocks in at 63 minutes. There are six chapter stops. Color was by Pathe. Sound quality was variable but not annoying. The film was penned by Robert Hill and Victor Stoloff and has the word "filler" written all over it.
Once again the cover art is so stunning as to be an irresistible purchase. Please, all of you folks at Alpha Video, give us better-looking product and there will be a major payoff! (Christopher Dietrich)
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