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La diosa virgen (1974)

5.6
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 16 users  
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A white "goddess" lives among the tribes of South Africa and can enjoy eternal life as long as she remains a virgin. Enter adventurer Bo and the trouble begins.

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Title: La diosa virgen (1974)

La diosa virgen (1974) on IMDb 5.6/10

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Cast

Cast overview:
Isabel Sarli ...
Virgin Goddess
Victor Bo ...
Mark
Ken Gampu ...
Gampu
Jimmy Sabe ...
Makulu
Gabriel Bayman ...
Desai
Dirk de Villiers ...
Flint
Armando Bo ...
Hans
James Ryan ...
Eric (as Jeff du Preez)
Sandra Senne ...
Thandi
Paddy Norval ...
Chiquita
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Storyline

A white "goddess" lives among the tribes of South Africa and can enjoy eternal life as long as she remains a virgin. Enter adventurer Bo and the trouble begins.

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19 August 1974 (South Africa)  »

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La diosa virgen  »

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User Reviews

 
Ultra-ultra rare Sarli film, among her worst
9 August 2010 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

I've seen over 1,400 films released by Columbia Pictures and its many subsidiaries, but thanks to the Film Society of Lincoln Center I finally got to see among the rarest, THE VIRGIN GODDESS, courtesy of a 35MM print from Sony Archives unveiled in Manhattan for the first and undoubtedly the last time.

I've enjoyed Sarli's work ever since seeing her biggest hit FUEGO at the Heights Art Theatre in Cleveland Hts. back in 1969. It was hot stuff at the time, and like the Scandi hit WITHOUT A STITCH was an odd case of a foreign sex film shown with English subtitles.

Sarli's success led to Columbia bankrolling this, her only English-language movie and shot on location in South Africa by local filmmaker Dirk DeVilliers. Not to worry, her common-law husband Armando Bo is on hand as "guest star" and co-producer, and his son Victor Bo is her handsome romantic interest (no, it ain't quite incest).

Sadly, some shelved (and permanently shelved) films are left in the vaults for a reason. Dirk did a terrible job pulling an Orson Welles in writing, producing, directing and even co-starring in this bad joke of a travelogue with sex.

Sure, it's an imitation/ripoff of H. Rider Haggard's SHE, wonderfully filmed in the '30s by RKO and having a perfect leading lady in Ursula Andress in the '60s Hammer version. (I've seen later ones, too, that stunk.) Much of his best, and enduring work was published in the 19th Century so it's all public domain by now.

After an opening teaser of Victor Bo wandering around either Jo'burg or Capetown looking forlorn, film proper begins in a phony Argentine setting of a bar with big Argentina posters on the wall, but undoubtedly also shot in the land of Apartheid. A wise guy is telling a tall tale about a 15th Century shipwreck (illustrated with a cheap model & meager SPFX) that landed a woman (Sarli) on the shores of Africa. I thought the format was a bit like Welles so often favored, be it LADY FROM SHANGHAI or THE IMMORTAL STORY, but it plays more like a road-company Bunuel.

When she revives, the bountiful beauty Sarli is adopted by the natives as a white queen, dubbed the Rain Goddess by a nutty local witch doctor. And she's plenty white -very pale in this outing, more the better to contrast with the African cast. The crafty witch doctor conjures a spell, cursing Sarli with immortality and never-fading beauty (though she is a little plump-faced and long-in-the-tooth already), and links himself with her fate -death to one kills both of them. He's immortal too, and a further premise is that she remains a virgin -if no longer intact she & he will both die. Kinda complicated, but not exactly brain surgery.

Drunker and drunker, the barflies decide they will fly from Argentina to South Africa in search of the legendary queen and her legendary treasure trove. Along for the trip are Hans (good ole Armando Bo, looking after his nest egg Sarli), handsome young Marco (Victor Bo, please don't call me Sonny) and of all people Eric (James Ryan, with shoulder length hair here, and not yet the action superstar he was soon & just briefly to become).

Meanwhile, 500 years have elapsed and a tribal feud between the witch doctor and nearby folks is being currently carried out by warrior Gampu (Ken Gampu, a wonderful local star who was memorable in Cornel Wilde's classic THE NAKED PREY). Gampu's girlfriend (played by a lovely Yvonne Makhbatra) is up for some human sacrifice by the witch doctor, but we know Ken will save her before the long-awaited final reel unspools (and I mean LONG -this movie is mighty tedious).

Our Western misfits trek across sand and forest, finally finding the Rain Queen's domain, and along the way most of the genre's clichés are trotted out - native fauna, ritual native dances, greed, treachery, low budget volcano sort of erupting to bring the house down, and of course ogling the sexy Sarli. There's even Sarli's long-ago-stolen ring that Victor ends up with, a souvenir of an overall harrowing experience.

Very dull travelogue lacks any sort of pace or interesting incidents -it's mediocre filmmaking by the numbers on a low budget, not useful for a spectacular. Sarli is dressed and made up to look like a very threadbare road company version of her idol, Liz Taylor as Cleopatra, which must have cost about 100 times what this one's budget was. I felt sorry for her posing, her more than ample bosom hanging out with asp-like jewelry strategically placed. Her acting was poor this time out, but so is that of the entire cast, save perhaps Gampu.

For the fans Sarli lets her nipples show at odd moments, carelessly rather than dramatically. She skinny dips with Victor Bo in a lovely watering hole, but we are spared any simulated sex with Mr. Second Generation. No, she has pet cheetahs, not cougars.

The Lincoln Center curators regaled us with the anecdote that both Armando and Victor did kind of an-in-joke protest by reciting soccer lineups rather than their dialog (an old Fellini type trick) for this MOS shoot, post-synched in original version in English (not counting the untranslated natives' chants and verbal exchanges amongst themselves). This proved to be a false old-wives-tale; both Bos were trying to articulate in English, matching the rest of the cast equally sloppily. Both Bos do ham it up at the film's expense. I didn't catch the witch doctor's credit, but he also tried too hard.

Needless to say, action maven Ryan, wasted in a no-fighting role, has not been asked to come out of retirement for the cast of Stallone's THE EXPENDABLES. Yep, like van Damme he was expendable.


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