Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 1, 2015


CAXAMBU! (1967). Director: W. Lee Wilder.

"Back, Peggy!"

Vince Neff (John Ireland) and his cronies have stolen a bunch of diamonds but need Emil Garrett (Keith Larsen), a diamond cutter from Antwerp, to make them salable. The honest Garrett is appalled by their criminal intentions and tries to take over the plane they're on with the help of his wife, a trained nurse named Peggy (Carol Ohmart). Unfortunately, the result is that they all crash-land in the jungle in an area near Caxambu where headhunters prowl, and where it soon becomes obvious that there is little honor among thieves. The first thing you notice about Caxambu! is that it has a very low budget even for a W. Lee Wilder film. The "sky" in which the plane flies is just a back drop, and when the aircraft crashes it is not a miniature but a literal toy. There are several other unintentionally comical scenes, such as when Peggy gets hysterical when she sees a crocodile that is just minding its own business and Emil needs to club it to death as if it were just about to clamp its jaws on his wife, who is many feet away. But the shame of Caxambu! is that it has a good script, interesting situations, and with a little more effort and directorial finesse this might have really amounted to something. Ireland [Queen Bee] and Larsen are okay, Ohmart [House on Haunted Hill] is excellent (in a role much less sensual than what she usually plays), and Gordon Blackman is rather effective as nasty Simon, who is willing to sacrifice virtually anyone for the diamonds -- the actor never appeared in another film, however. Wilder directed movies of variable entertainment value, but he really socked one out of the ballpark with his excellent Bluebeard's Ten Honeymoons.

Verdict: After a bad start this develops into a fairly entertaining movie with a good story. **1/2.

No comments: