A young European boy living in San Francisco is reluctant to marry his long-term girlfriend because he wants to travel around the world first. His wealthy uncle agrees to send him on a ... See full summary »
A young European boy living in San Francisco is reluctant to marry his long-term girlfriend because he wants to travel around the world first. His wealthy uncle agrees to send him on a global expedition aboard his ship, but en route the boy and his travelling companion are shipwrecked on a remote island, populated by countless prehistoric creatures as well as gold-hunting bandits. Written by
Jonathon Dabell <J.D.@pixie.ntu.ac.uk>
MYSTERY ON MONSTER ISLAND (Juan Piquer Simon, 1981) **
Unfortunately, this one constituted another gaffe within my ongoing Halloween challenge since it's not really a horror film despite title, director (he'd later make the gory PIECES ) and presence of genre icons Peter Cushing and Paul Naschy! In fact, it's a typical Jules Verne adventure (based on his much-filmed "Mysterious Island") which proves surprisingly palatable thanks also to a lively score though unbalanced by comedy relief from the youthful hero's bumbling/cowardly sidekick, a Professor of Elocution whose name is constantly mispronounced ("T. Artelet not tartlet!").
Cushing is the protagonist's rich uncle who has purchased an island, to which the boy is sent and where he meets a variety of dangers (pirates, cannibals, monsters) eventually, there's a twist with respect to most of these, which thankfully explains the sheer poverty of the creatures on display! On the other hand, Naschy has a very small role at the start as a man who has struck gold which is then coveted by his associates. The latter include Terence Stamp who, for obvious reasons, was Cushing's chief rival for the acquisition of the island; later on, he turns up on it (ludicrously shrouded from top to bottom complete with anachronistic goggles!) with his bandit horde to take the gold by force to this end, he even plants a female 'shipwreck victim' to lure the hero into divulging the loot's whereabouts.
Coupled with the far better GORILLA AT LARGE (1954; see above) on Fox's-by-way-of-MGM "Midnite Movies" banner, it offers the film both in English and Spanish. At first, always the stickler for a film's native country being its original language, I started watching the film in Spanish but when a narrator began translating the credits into Spanish and the English subtitles proved to be of the descriptive "hard of hearing" variety, I soon gave up my puritan pretensions and watched it with the more 'user friendly' English soundtrack on. At least, one does get to hear Cushing and Stamp reciting their own lines this way...
3 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?