An international variation on the sleazy women in chains genre.
This film is ostensibly about women who were sent as prisoners to the infamous Devil's Island in French Guiana. However, this mostly seems like an excuse to assemble a large group of comely women (often with breasts bulging from their dresses) and have them punished or raped by the men running the prison. Considering this French-Italian picture was made in the early 60s, this means that most of this is done off camera and it's not nearly as sleazy as the genre became in the late 60s and early 70s where they were essentially soft-core skin flicks with strong hints of lesbianism. Here, it's quite subdued by comparison...but still rather sleazy and exploitational.
While the American actor Guy Madison is listed first in the credits, he doesn't appear until almost 40 minutes into the film. He's the new leader of the prison who is shocked to see how depraved the prison has become. He orders the men to stop beating and molesting the women and to treat them humanely (crazy concepts, I know). However, his reforms are short-lived as it turns out he's got a HUGE secret...and the old ways are soon re-instituted. Is there any hope for these 'ladies'?
Like so many European productions of the era, they brought in a token American actor and dubbed the film into multiple languages in order to increase the marketability abroad. Actors such as Clint Eastwood, Anthony Quinn, Richard Basehart, Burt Lancaster and the British actor Dirk Bogarde were lured into these mostly Italian productions. Madison's career by the early 60s was stalled and his making this film was a decent career choice, as some of these films made the actors mega-stars (Eastwood)...plus it offered a paycheck in spite of little in the way of artistic appeal!
Overall, it's a sleazy but not TOO sleazy film...watchable but not much more. "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" it is NOT!
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