With a title like Love Slaves of the Amazons, one goes into this 1957 movie expecting high camp. And it lowers to those expectations, with Caucasian women as natives, limply doing badly choreographed numbers on sets made with no attempt at realism.
I could have appreciated the picture on that level, if it hadn’t been for an interesting and competently made first act. Much of that first half-hour is filmed at real locations in Brazil, which surprised me.
Even more startling is a great action scene involving a small boat of pirates seizing the large vessel helmed by our protagonists. All of the footage of these boats on the river is real, so it is astonishing when the pirates jump into thick mud that is apparently deeper than they are tall. You can see the actors really struggling to stay upright and surge forward through the muck. One pirate gets kicked off the boat and hits the mud hard enough to completely disappear. I don’t know how people weren’t killed making this scene.
Our heroes jump ship and swim to shore. Once there, they are on a laughably artificial jungle set and the movie will spent the vast majority of remaining runtime there.
So it wasn’t much of a surprise when we first see the Amazons: white women covered entirely in thick layers of olive green paint. Each one of them has expertly coifed hair in the latest Western styles. They wear simple, but obviously machine-made, toga-like costumes with a weave so loose that we can see they have glaringly white bras on underneath.
The set that is their fortress has even less verisimilitude. It looks like it is ready for a stage show in one of the lesser casinos in Atlantic City. Naturally, this will be the site of a deeply horrible dance number. It is bad even by the standards of this genre in this era. Most of the dancers look bored.
I don’t have much to say about the plot, as it is close to nonexistent. I do, however, have some stray observations I couldn’t work in elsewhere. First, I didn’t know Izod shirts existed back in the 50’s, yet there’s a character wearing one here. Second, a professor at the beginning of the film had a voice that made me think, “Damn, but I bet that guy did a lot of voiceover work.” Well, the owner of that voice did, even if it isn’t the actor we are watching at the time. The voice belongs to Paul Frees, who also dubbed the voices of most of the other male actors here.
Fans of the type of camp on display here may even be bored by Love Slaves of the Amazons. Indeed, I’m uncertain I can recommend it for anybody. The highly artificial sets and preposterous “natives” would have been more acceptable if the first act hadn’t used real locales and had genuinely exciting moments. In contrast, what follows just looks that much worse.
Dir: Curt Siodmak
Starring Don Taylor, Gianna Segale, Eduardo Ciannelli
Watched on Kino Lorber blu-ray