Island of Lost Women (1959)


(director: Frank Tuttle; screenwriters: Ray Buffum/story by Prescott Chaplin; cinematographer: John Seitz; editor: Roland Gross; music: Raoul Kraushaar; cast: Jeff Richards (Mark Bradley), John Smith (Joe Walker), Alan Napier (Dr. Paul Lujan), Venetia Stevenson (Venus), Diane Jergens (Urana), June Blair (Mercuria); Runtime: 71; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Albert Cohen; Warner Brothers; 1959)

“Dull adventure tale.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Frank Tuttle(“This Gun For Hire”/”Roman Scandals”/”Dr. Rhythmn”) directs this dull adventure tale, that pretends to have something to say about civilization but says nothing. It’s based on a story by Prescott Chaplin. The script is by Ray Buffum.

American radio commentator Mark Bradley (Jeff Richards) and his pilot Joe Walker (John Smith) develop engine trouble while flying over the South Pacific. Joe is flying Mark to a broadcaster conference in Melbourne, Australia. When they spot an uncharted island, they safely crash land despite hearing a warning from a loudspeaker that they are not welcome. The loudspeaker voice is from the hostile American genius mad scientist Dr. Paul Lujan (Alan Napier). We learn he’s a widower, living there with his three beautiful teen daughters. The youngest is the 16-year-old Urana (Diane Jergens), the middle daughter is Venus (Venetia Stevenson) and the oldest is Mercuria (June Blair). Lujan came here 15 years ago to escape civilization after the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and his belief the world was heading for nuclear destruction. The nuclear scientist protests the use of bombs for war, and regrets he helped build the bomb. The lone island family dwellin a modernized cave. Dad works in an innovative lab he designed, and he has also furnished a well- stocked library to educate his daughters.

Fearful the visitors will let the world know about his island if they return to civilization, Lujan therefore uses a flamethrower to destroy their plane before it can be repaired. The innocent girls find the men attractive and are eager to help them build a raft to escape, even though they know daddy disapproves.

There’s a lot of gabbing about social attitudes, with the nutty scientist vowing he’s against violence and in the same breath threatening to kill anyone who lands or tries to escape from his secret island. Too bad nothing interesting takes place, as even the two older daughters manage a boring romance when they are courted by the visitors. Even the ridiculous way the men escape from the island is not exciting. It’s hokum without the benefit of any camp to spice things up.


REVIEWED ON 12/12/2014 GRADE: C+