Monday, 9 January 2017

Video reviews from another universe

If This Is Not Paradise (1981 - USA/West Germany, AKA Krakatoa II - The Children, Escape from Krakatoa, Krakatoa 2000, Blue Krakatoa, Krakatoa Lagoon)

1895 - a British ship, the Prince Albert is forced to flee Java when Krakatoa erupts. On board is a grizzled Captain, Bulfour (Richard Harris), Bulfour's daughter Lisbeth and the Reverend Hillary Sussexshire (Dan O'Herlihy), a missionary, his wife Margaret (Elizabeth Shepherd) and their son Francis, Lisbeth's betrothed. Forced into the wilds of the Indian Ocean, they come across Akatoa, a small island. There, Lisbeth meets a young tribal warrior, Puo and his lover Denna. We learn that Denna is the only survivor of the local tribe, who were wiped out by Javanese insurgents headed by Puo's father. Puo stayed on the island, realised Krakatoa would strike, wiping out his family. But Puo and Lisbeth fall in love, and eventually Lisbeth is left behind when her father and the Sussexshires are forced to leave. For six months, Lisbeth and Denna become friends and joke over Puo, but it becomes apparent that both want a serious romance. As the two girls tussle over Puo, Captain Bulfour returns to find his daughter and save her from the savages who threaten her virginity. Can love conquer all or will it all end in tears?

Leslie Halliwell review "Tepid Blue Lagoon-esque teen erotica. English girl stranded on Indonesian island post-Krakatoa meets native boy and girl, falls in love with native boy, English girl's father returns to pick up father, against romance, boy dies, native girl stands up, forgives English girl and falls in love with English girl's fiance."

Star-Destructor! (1979 - Canada)
A deadly Soviet laser satellite is discovered on the dark side of the moon, aimed directly at the United States. A NASA torpedo is sent to disable the satellite, but only knocks it, causing its target to change - to the Swiss Alps where a band of tourists on a ski tour find themselves trapped by the huge laser-wall and must find a way to escape. 
Leslie Halliwell review - "Tedious semi-disaster fare disguised as sub-Star Wars fare. Leslie Nielsen and his family are in Switzerland, when a Soviet satellite's laser traps them in a cable car, while they and a few stereotypes attempt to find a way out. The sun rises. The laser is burnt up and our heroes continue through the snow."

Those Deadly Sinners! (1979 - Switzerland/West Germany/Philippines/Hong Kong - AKA The Wild Geese Of Cambodia, Kampuchea Inferno, Apocalypse Forever!)

In the thrilling tradition of The Dirty Dozen, The Wild Geese and The Guns of Navarone, comes Those Deadly Sinners! An ocean liner, the Princess Margaret leaves Hong Kong when anti-Colonial terrorists allied to the Red Chinese attack and hold the ship hostage, and take British politician Sir Clive Chembley hostage, helicoptering him into the wilds of Cambodia. An ace squad of international mercenaries are sent by the British Secret Service to head into Cambodia, to win the Vietnam War and take Chembley back alive! 

Harold Robinson's the Pier (1977)

The Pier is the latest piece of labyrinthine trash by Harold Robinson. Set in Brighton, it features a romanticised idyll of British journalism, where our hero, divorced ex-Fleet Street Hubert Skardon is supposedly hard-bitten yet unable to see the relationship between his blue-rinsed, Brut-strewn queen of a boss Burley and the latter's young male companion (referred throughout as a nephew via marriage) as anything but platonic. Skardon, a jaded investigative reporter for the Brighton City Sentinel is alarmed when leaked plans of the refurbished local pier suggest that weight is being deliberately put on the pier to sink it. Is it just the stupidity of Lew Grade-esque Eastern European media mogul Hiram Merkilzey, or is it a tax write-off? Written through the eyes of Skardon, yet featuring scenes where he does not appear, it tells of how our hero attempts to warn the bullish Merkilzey of his mistake, only for disaster to strike on the night of the grand opening. As a tidal wave sweeps into Brighton on this stormy night, the ageing struts of the pier break, and a released giant squid (a carnival gimmick) puts our heroes in peril. Some manage to escape, some die and some are trapped. Thus Skardon heads an impromptu rescue mission. The book is an ambitious, unwieldy and ultimately awful mix of boardroom melodrama, disaster and Peter Benchley-ish maritime peril. It gets maritime terms wrong, features Cockney stereotypes, scenes where pistol-carrying PCs attach harpoons to their arms to lift a door, and where dogs swim into the depths, biting the arse off the aforementioned squid in the process. It ends with the survivors escaping, as the pier is miraculously pulled up, and the revelation is lacklustre. The pier is the plan of a vengeful frustrated Czechoslovakian architect whom Merkilzey got jailed for tax fraud.Unusually for Robinson, sex is limited to one tawdry sex scene featuring Merkilzey's Irish terrorist secretary. Best avoided. 

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Harold Robinson's Hong Kong Man (1979)

Hong Kong Man is Harold Robinson's best novel in years. This isn't saying much. The sex and sleaze is almost absent. It is a relatively straitlaced adventure, set in 1940. Australian adventurer I.Q. Chunder, a strapping Rod Taylor-type is sent by British authorities in Hong Kong to find a missing Nazi spy, Reginald Mergrave who is selling secrets to both Japanese and German intelligence. Aided by Colette Baguette, a saucy French Resistance minx, Chunder eventually tracks Mergrave on board the liner Queen Victoria, where the German's plan to collide the liner into a Japanese warship into the coast of Hawaii is designed to trick the US into joining the war. Mergrave falls over, is eaten by sharks, and the plan is set back.

See also:

Pornographic Muzak (1977)
Gottscheid Weichermann is one of the biggest musicians in the world, an easy-listening composer and arranger who has sold dozens of millions of albums, and has packs of adoring fans. But while performing in London, an attempted assassination at the Royal Albert Hall worries Weichermann. Someone knows about his past. And when Weichermann is invited to play at the Shapat Song Festival in Poland, he believes someone wants revenge. A Jewish Nazi hunter wants Weichermann dead. Did Weichermann actually serve in the SS or is someone mistaken?
Review: "Pornographic Muzak tells of beloved bandleader Gotti Weickerman, a James Last-ish purveyor of middle-aged musical mana whose reputation is threatened when a tour of Israel and a failed London assassination attempt leads to revelations of a past in the SS. Facing abandonment by his fans, he tries to heal wounds by betraying fellow Nazis in hiding, leaking their whereabouts to Nazi hunters, but during a comeback concert in Cologne, a young Jewish girl violinist successfully shoots him. Another Harold Robinson yarn. It is predictable, plainly written despite its lurid topic and brainless dreck.


The Sin (1980) is Harold Robinson's sacrilegious ode to the Bible. Set in Israel, it is about two young lovers who elope to a life of debauchery in a small village, situated on the site of the Garden of Eden. Are Adam and Eve alive and living in Israel? Or is it all the work of a British tabloid newsman? It turns out of course to be a curiously feeble ode to sex and sin.

The Girl fromYugoslavia (1977) and Waldorf Salad (1978) by Harold Robinson

Harold Robinson's the Girl from Yugoslavia is an ill-fated attempt at arty erotica from the King of Crap. It is a simpler, quieter tale than Harry's usual mix of peril and pornography. It is set in the Med, where we meet Alistair, a depressed, terminally ill Anglo-American writer. Divorced and oversexed, he is a clear avatar for Robinson himself. Swanning around in a Lotus sports car, he settles down on the small, idyllic isle of Meridia. There he meets a young Yugoslavian nun named Maria, but though they fall in love, neither know of each other's secrets. Maria and Harry elope, but then Harry has a heart attack and dies. His death reinvigorates Maria who now having found true love, rejoins the nunnery. Trite, easily melodramatic, it lacks Harold's usual global flair.

Harold Robinson's "Waldorf Salad" is a back to basics potboiler, after the failure of the highbrow Girl from Yugoslavia. Set in the kitchens of the Cunard liner "Princess Margaret", it tells of a chef whose recent dismissal from the Waldorf hotel forces him to go on an obsessive quest to make the perfect Waldorf Salad, so he can get his old job back. But finding the perfect ingredients at sea proves difficult and this drives him to alter the ship's couse until he is fired once more, thrown overboard to the shores of Australia where he continues his quest. Staying at a mental hospital, he pieces together the right ingredients and finally creating his masterpiece, he sneaks back onto the Princess Margaret with a wheelbarrow full of his creation, doling it out and forcefeeding it to those who spurned him before he returns to New York. There, he becomes chef of the Waldorf, brothel that is. Marvellously grotty, terribly written. Welcome home, Harold.