15 July 2014 | melvelvit-1
"A Major Motion Picture" with the heart of an exploitation cheapie
WHITE SLAVE TRADE is a "major motion picture" (Ponti-De Laurentiis co- production) with an all-star cast (Vittorio Gassman, Silvana Pampanini, Eleanora Rossi Drago, Sophia Loren, etc) and the heart of a lurid exploitation cheapie where poverty gives the denizens of an Italian barrio little option except petty crime for men and prostitution for women.
Character actor Marc Lawrence, Hollywood's stereotypical gangster, plays (what else) a sleazy racketeer and pimp who organizes a seaside dance marathon right out of THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON'T THEY? which goes on for days and days with almost the same rules except that, instead of a sprint race, the exhausted contestants have to do a mean mambo. It's all there -the communal dressing rooms (where one dancer admonishes another, "Lay off the amphetamines"), the "quickies" with partners other than your own, the break-downs (Sophia Loren can't take it anymore and collapses), a mid-dance miscarriage, and, of course, an ironically awful pay-off where the lucky contestants supposedly win a "contract" to perform in America but are actually shipped off to foreign brothels. Some of the gals are in it to get their men out of prison but they needn't have bothered since there's a jailbreak and some vigilante "barrio justice" amid all the love and loss before the end credits roll.
A half-hour was cut for its U.S. release (as GIRLS MARKED DANGER) and no wonder, what with all the premarital sex and living together without benefit of marriage. The morality may be shaky (Vittorio Gassman's a real weasel and former Miss Italy Silvana Pampanini -gorgeous, as always- plays a girl who knows what she has to do to get ahead) but no matter -it's an action-packed potboiler and highly recommended!