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Hell Ship Mutiny

USA 1957
produced by
George Bilson, Jon Hall (executive) for Lovina Productions, Republic
directed by Lee Sholem, Elmo Williams
starring Jon Hall, John Carradine, Peter Lorre, Roberta Haynes, Mike Mazurki, Charles Mauu, Stanley Adams, Danny Richards jr, Felix Locher, Peter Coe, Michael Barrett, Salvador Baguez
written by DeVallon Scott, Wells Root, music by Paul Sawtell, Bert Shefter, underwater photography by Robert H. Cummings, Bill Judd

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Polynesia: All captain Knight (Jon Hall) wanted to do was to take King Parea (Felix Locher) to a neighbouring island to pay a visit to his daughter Mareva (Roberta Haynes) - but on the island, he finds Mareva and all the islanders enslaved by Malone (John Carradine) and his gang of crooks, who force the natives to dive for pearls - a dangerous enterprise since the pearls are down very deep and the waters are swarming with sharks and manta rays. Knight and company are trying to overthrow Malone and company, but are instead taken prisoners themselves, and Knight is forced to dive for pearls as well - but he makes up a plan to outsmart the crooks and attack and defeat them when they still believe him to be down on the ocean's ground. Then he plans to take them to Tahiti to face the law.

On their way to Tahiti however, Malone and company manage to free themselves, and they throw everybody but Knight and Mareva over board and force him to take them to New Zealand - they need him you see because none of them can navigate a vessel and they need her to properly force him. However, Knight manages to play a trick on them, and ultimately he takes them back to the island of their departure, where they are imprisoned again.

Eventually, Lamoret (Peter Lorre), the commissioner from Tahiti comes by to pass judgement, and he pretends to imprison Malone and gang and take them back to Tahiti - while he's really in cahoots with the crooks. Then though, native boy Tatoa (Danny Richards jr) has found a shipwreck full of treasures on the Ocean ground - where he dived to to impress Knight -, and suddenly Malone and gang fall out with the fake commissioner, overcome him and dive to the shipwreck themselves ... where they get into a fight with Knight which is only resolved in Knight's favour when Mareva comes down as well with a harpoon - and in the end, the baddies get their just desserts and Knight gets the girl.

 

A late-1950's attempt by Jon Hall to revive his stock-in-trade island girl movies that have shot him to fame in the late 1930's/early 40's. Of course, the elements are all there: The exotic settings, the island girl (though Roberta Haynes is no Dorothy Lamour or Maria Montez), the juvenile co-hero and the like. Still, Hell Ship Mutiny pales in comparison to Hall's earlier films, its plot is episodic and doesn't seem fully developed, the exotic sets seem to have been made on a budget, and worst of all, unlike most of Halls earlier films, this one is shot in black and white. Now I have to mention, normally I am a fan of black and white, but a movie with a fairy-tale like plot just as this one just needs rich saturated colours to come across. Sure, that will end in a piece of high camp - but the film's plot itself is high camp as it is, so that might be the whole point to shoot it in colour.

Still, to end this review on a happy note, Peter Lorre gives a great and amusing performance, and admittedly the film is not quite as disappointing as I made it out to be - just don't expect a classic of any kind.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
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Tales to Chill
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
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you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
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Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD