29 December 2002 | dinky-4
More South Seas escapism from the 1950s
The 1950s seemed to have developed a sub-genre of movies involving men stranded on tropical islands with beautiful women. Titles such as "Untamed Women," "Island of Desire," and "Island of Lost Women" spring to mind. Typical of this sub-genre is "Women of Pitcairn Island" which picks up the Bounty Trilogy one generation later. Pitcairn is now inhabited by the widows and children of the mutineers and tensions are developing. Most of the movie, however, deals with the arrival of some shipwrecked sailors who covet the island's women as well as a cache of black pearls they believe is hidden there.
Those looking for campy fun might should watch the deliciously ludicrous "Untamed Women." "Women of Pitcairn Island," while dated and a bit hokey, plays things too "straight" to offer a lot of laughs. And, somewhat surprisingly, it's sharply photographed in b&w and Regalscope, which means non-letterboxed tapes won't do it justice.
Veteran performers Lynn Bari and James Craig add a touch of professionalism to the proceedings but the "star" of the show is the blandly-named John Smith who plays Fletcher Christian's 17-year-old son. Unfortunately, Smith's attempts to play "youthful" and "unspoiled" come across instead as "not too bright" but he's easy on the eyes and, aside from the last minute of the movie, is bare-chested throughout. This being the prudish '50s, however, he wears his pants high enough to hide his navel in virtually every scene.
Smith played second-lead to Jeff Richards two years later in "Island of Lost Women." Once again he's on a tropical island with beautiful women but whereas "Pitcairn" is an unabashedly heterosexual fantasy, "Lost Women" has homoerotic undertones throughout.