This forgotten British Lion film of the fifties has come out on DVD after probably not having been seen for 60 years. It is an exceptionally good film, expertly directed by John Guillermin. It begins dramatically with a huge flash of lightning on the screen and the sound of a thunderstorm. The female lead is played by Linda Christian, who was very 'hot' indeed in the 1950s and 1960s, but who tends not to be remembered today. However, her sultry and mysterious glamour makes her perfect for this film, which centres around her sudden and unexpected appearance as a stranger, and her effect on men which is like that of a mythological siren. There is even a scene where as a staring siren she stands on the rocks and one of the men who is obsessed by her becomes so transfixed at the vision of her that he crashes the boat he is piloting. She drives men wild, literally, and the mythological undercurrent of the story is strong. The film is based on a novel by George St. George, and is filmed on location on the Spanish coast, as the story is set in a small Spanish fishing village. Linda Christian manages throughout to maintain a strangely impassive face as all the men bang on doors to get into her room and try and rape her, fight nearly to the death over her, and basically go insane because of her. She never becomes truly personal but behaves as if she is a force of nature instead of a person. She keeps trying to tell the men that she always brings bad luck and disaster to men, but of course they do not listen. At the beginning of the story, she is found unconscious, floating alone on a small sail boat, and is brought to the village. We later learn that the man who had been crazy about her had just died, as all the men who have wanted her in the past appear to have done. And indeed, one of the men in this village, having failed to rape her, is driven so wild with frenzy that he dies in a storm. The women of the village call her a witch, and perhaps they are not far wrong. But there is nothing sinister about Linda Christian, she does not try to drive men mad, they drive themselves mad without any encouragement from her as she looks at them without any sign of what she is feeling or thinking. This lack of any response is intolerable to them. The story really is very bizarre. George St. George also co-wrote Anthony Asquith's excellent film ORDERS TO KILL 1958, see my review).
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