4.6/10
25
6 user 1 critic

Paradisio (1962)

An English professor interested in photography is given a pair of special sunglasses by an Austrian colleague. To his surprise and boyish delight, he discovers they're X-ray specs, which ... See full summary »

Director:

H. Haile Chace (as Henri Haile)

Writers:

H. Haile Chace (as Henri Haile), Jacques Henrici | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Photos

Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Arthur Howard Arthur Howard ... Professor Sims
Eva Wagner Eva Wagner ... Lisa Hinkle
Edit

Storyline

An English professor interested in photography is given a pair of special sunglasses by an Austrian colleague. To his surprise and boyish delight, he discovers they're X-ray specs, which allow him to see through people's clothes! As he ventures across Europe, he is pursued by spies who're after the glasses. He eventually manages to elude them, and settles down to a life of ease, ogling naked women on beaches... Written by Cynan Rees <cynanrees@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Adults Only! See more »


Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Eva Wagner receives an "introducing" credit. See more »

Goofs

While Arthur Howard is touring around Europe he always has a cardigan on under his jacket but at a German club he hands over his jacket leaving him in his cardigan but when he sits down at a table the cardigans gone and he's in his jacket. See more »

Crazy Credits

Apart from the two stars listed, the rest of the cast is just billed as "20 international beauties" See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Remade as Like Wow! (1962) See more »

User Reviews

Early Brtish nudie cutie
9 July 2005 | by FilmFlaneurSee all my reviews

Paradisio is the single film co-written and directed by the obscure Jacques Henrici. As such some of it falls within a contemporary wave of films called 'nudie-cuties' of which better-known examples today are Russ Meyer's Immoral Mr Teas (1959), and Herschell Gordon Lewis' The Adventures Of Lucky Pierre (also 1961). Nudie-cuties were a fairly short lived phenomenon, combining the characteristics of the burlesque and nudist films which sprang out of the changing market for on-screen titillation. It lasted for five or six years before in turn being rendered obsolete, at least in the US, by the growing hardcore market.

The new, more sophisticated type of adult film offered an easy variant of previous grind-house material, and became a genre that often featured playful or whimsical content. Thus Meyer's Immoral Mr Teas featured a hero who, being previously anaesthetised, is suddenly able to see women naked. Paradisio's sunglasses offer similar advantages to the professor. Via this device he gains special licence to ogle - if not to touch, as nudie cuties were always naughty rather than explicit, a coyness which these days makes a film like Paradisio quaint, almost family, entertainment.

At the centre of Paradisio is Arthur Howard, brother to Leslie, Britain's late, gentlemanly star who appeared as The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934), another character who also acts one thing but is secretly another. Obviously a modest success in its own terms (or perhaps just an idea too good not to repeat), Paradisio was remade shortly afterwards, as Mr Peek-A-Boo's Playmates, 1962). Whoever Mr Peek-A-Boo was, one doubts he would have the same impact today. Besides having brother Leslie, Arthur's son is the respectable Shakespearian Alan Howard - a fact that, for British viewers at least, adds to the ironic pleasure which Howard senior's mugging, reminiscent of a mildly depraved Alistair Sim, brings to the film.

When, two years later, Roger Corman made X: The Man With The X-Ray Eyes, he gave an ability to 'see through' things some interesting overtones; his hero eventually tore out his own organs of sight in philosophical anguish. More recently still, John Carpenter's They Live!, offered its own sunglasses, which revealed to shocked wearers an alien presence on Earth. In such films the heroes find changed perceptions upset their world vision, provoking critical, drastic response. By contrast, Henrici's film is nowhere so ambitious, focusing instead on a generally comfortable world full of near adolescent fantasy, in which pleasure, not danger, is ultimately reaffirmed. Its supporting plot is endearingly ramshackle, a peg upon which to hang chaste visions of nudity, even though whose internationally based, glamorous, espionage action reminds one that the genre-setting Dr No was just around the corner.

Boasting no less than six directors of photography, Paradisio was clearly parceled out, and then assembled, for the wider international market - leading one to wonder if stronger versions exist. Sections of the film were shot by turn in Oxford, Berlin, Munich, Paris, Venice and the Riviera. Overdubbed throughout, and with extensive narration by the professor, such a vehicle would have ideal for re-tracking for continental distribution. More interestingly, while the film's normal scenes are shot in black and white, those seen through the famous glasses are always colour tinted. Originally issued in 3D, this is one of the few remaining indications of the process, which is barely exploited in composition elsewhere. Still, such a striking device handily partitions 'reality' from the mild fantasy in view. Specifically, the visual warmth of these glamour sections sets them apart from the grey, world in which the professor finds himself, either in Oxford or later, in postwar Berlin. At the start, the professor regrets being stuck "in the austerity of our British universities" and later again talks of Oxford's "stultifying atmosphere." There's a report that Paradisio has since been colourised. One hopes not, as such tampering would undoubtedly reduce the impact of moments displaying liberating sensuality in such useful visual shorthand.

As a British nudie-cutie Paradisio succeeds well enough, a little more tentative than its American cousins perhaps but, despite or because of this, possessing an endearing quality of its own. It also contains some fairly surreal moments: for instance in the cabaret club when a nude lights the professor's long cigar using a pair of extendable hands (a rare 3-D inspiration), or later when he drunkenly contemplates another woman, this time to discover she has three breasts. The professor is also able to use his glasses to detect contraband, spot chastity belts and, most oddly to 'disrobe' famous paintings in The Louvre such as the Mona Lisa ("so that's why she's smiling!"). When we first see the hero he is photographing a different kind of 'bird', using mathematics to achieve the best results. His skills in calculation, the only indications of his academic specialisation, will later prove useful during a gondolier chase in Venice. His contemplation of more seductive nature is the point of the piece, one that the spy plot - growing more and more predominant, until it concludes with a chase round the Brandenburg Gate - only serves to interrupt. Thus, as the professor is confronted by a succession of corpses those colleagues murdered by the pursuing agents so he and the audience also contemplate, with more enthusiasm, the persuasive charms of warmer bodies elsewhere.

Paradisio today remains a curio, a relic of a time when the modern adult industry was still finding its feet. A British co-produced film from this date, that combines elements of a espionage drama, nudie-cutie, as well as a couple of mild burlesque acts among its attractions remains an interesting experience. In the UK at least Naked As Nature Intended, made the same year, was more significant but I'd argue Henrici's film is the more interesting.


10 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 6 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 February 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

パラダイス(1962) See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed