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The island of New Guinea in its recorded history seems to be in a bad
location. The western half of it was colonized by the Dutch and is now
part of Indonesia.
The eastern half now Papua has been at some point English, German, Australian. Walk Into Paradise was made while Australia held a mandate from the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations. Who run's the island is a big concern in Canberra. Spread over the northern shore of the Australian continent like a canopy, New Guinea was the scene of some of the fiercest fighting in World War II. A lot of Australian lives were lost so that the Japanese never mounted an invasion of Australia proper. That being said, for those natives in New Guinea, some of the most primitive people on Earth, they suffered as well because of geography.
I saw this film as a youngster as a second feature of a double bill back in the early 60s. Very few Australian films were shown in the USA then. This one was particularly relevant because the news at the time was filled with the disappearance of Michael Rockefeller, son of Nelson Rockefeller. Americans got to see on the movie screen just what Michael Rockefeller had gotten himself lost in. Made the tragedy all the more real for the general public.
It's one of the most realistic jungle pictures ever done. You can't count the studio Hollywood product before King Solomon's Mines or The African Queen. Americans are terribly ignorant of Africa and most of the rest of the tropical world because of Hollywood.
America also got to see Australia's biggest film star, Chips Rafferty. On the occasions I have seen him, Rafferty never disappoints and definitely not here. He plays a district officer who's sent into the jungle to locate a gold strike.
There are no Hollywood style heroics here. Rafferty plays a man who's just doing a very difficult job under trying conditions of heat, rain, and occasional fever. Gritty and realistic is the word here.
Papua got its independence in 1975 so that world is gone now. But the jungle is there and should be seen in this film.
With the right marketing this film could be re-released in Australia
and France, and possibly elsewhere. It's a solid entry into the
"adventure" genre, with slightly wooden but totally endearing
performances by the cast.
Chips Rafferty is quite charming in a blue-collar no-nonsense sort of a way, and it's extraordinary to see how the Australian film persona has evolved since then.
Some of the imagery of Papua and New Guinea is breathtaking, and would be utterly impossible to film now in light of security problems there now.
Come on Village Roadshow, do some forward-thinking PR and distribute this gem!!!!
Long before Australia had a real film industry, Chips Rafferty and Lee
Robinson made movies in an old picture theatre at Bondi Junction (Sydney).
They began modestly making small budget films for the Australian markert
soon realized the importance of International distribution.
With no help from the government, they arranged their own co-production deal with a French company. WALK INTO PARADISE (HELL) and THE STOWAWAY with Martine Carol were two of the joint ventures.
Rafferty and Robinson made no money from these films because the French took all the cream but both films are to tribute to Rafferty, Robinson and the fledgling Australian Film Industry of the time.
WALK INTO PARADISE is an epic adventure on a grand scale and was filmed almost entirely in the wilds of Papua/New Guinea. It still has a lot of entertainment to offer.
Seen as WALK INTO HELL, as apparently doctored up by Joseph E Levine.
35mm print still blazing with color. The mademoiselle doctor is
charming, though the romance is tepid. The real-life District Officer,
Fred Kaad, is a screen natural! Excellent picture of colonialist
society of Papua-New Guinea at the time. Compare with MOGAMBO?
Camera-work is fluent and lively, scenery looks as spectacular as
producers intended, and almost as it really is.
Several crew had earlier worked with Robinson on Australian Government documentaries -- good way to scout a production! Auric's music is ordinary, a pity, obviously he came in at the end.
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