Reviewed by DAN STUMPF:

LOVE-SLAVES OF THE AMAZONS . Universal, 1957. Don Taylor, Gianna Segale, Eduardo Ciannelli. Written, produced & directed by Curt Siodmak. Second unit direction: Terry Morse.

   I saw this when it first came out on a double-bill with The Monolith Monsters at my neighborhood movie house, and once again I observe that you got Bang for your Quarter in those days….

   Curt Siodmak always struck me as the cinematic equivalent of Fredric Brown: an unredeemed and unapologetic pulpster who reveled in the gaudy, tawdry delights of things like Son of Dracula, Bride of the Gorilla, and this kaleidoscopic comic book of a film; very bad, but fun nonetheless.

   Don Taylor (who directed some very bad films himself later on) stars as world-famous archeologist Dr. Peter Masters, who arrives in Brazil, just why we’re never told, and is almost immediately accosted by Eduardo Ciannelli as Dr. Crespi. (The name is an in-joke.) a local crackpot who claims to have visited the Lost City of the Amazons etc. etc…. it’s all very familiar, but done with speed and economy in lieu of originality or artistry.

   Indeed, Writer/Producer/Director Siodmak peels the old banalities right off the yellowed pulp pages and slaps them across the screen with a shamelessness that borders on daring — which was just fine for this skinny seven-year-old of the 1950s. We get fist-fights, river pirates, alligators, drugs, snakes…. and some rather uninspiring Amazon Warriors with their skin painted green. Ah yes!

   That’s what has stayed with me through the decades: the look of this thing; parts of it were filmed on location in Brazil (apparently by Terry Morse, who did the Americanized scenes in Godzilla) and parts on studio sets so brilliantly colored that one suspects the art director may have been using controlled substances. We get blue jungle, green-skinned blondes, a massive temple made of brightly-painted cardboard, and clumsy dancing girls decked out more like rodeo clowns than pagan beauties.

   We also get a couple of gruesome off-screen deaths, but I the problem is that we never get a good pay-off scene: no suspenseful cliff-hanging, no climactic struggle… not even a guy in a gorilla suit. This didn’t bother me as a kid, but in the wisdom of my advancing years I see the lack of a last-reel ass-kicking as a deplorable aesthetic oversight. And the deficiency in the gorilla-suit department elicits a wistful sigh of disappointment.

   Still and all, it’s hard to resist a title like Love-Slaves of the Amazons, and it’s a fun film to watch, if you’re wearing sunglasses or have your judgment impaired by the influence of a controlled substance.