Saturday, 11 May 2013

The Ultimate Female

'The Vengeance of She' is an unusual film that encapsulates the eminently practical approach Hammer took with their art and their uniquely inventive way of overcoming obstacles. New partner / sponsor Warner Brothers wanted a sequel to the mega-successful 'She', so Hammer cobbled one together with only a tenuous link to the original. Original star Ursula Andress wasn't interested, so they simply found a Czech actress called Olga Schoberova who looked just like her. Then, in order to get as much publicity as possible, they made her change her name to Olinka Berova just so that they could say 'introducing' on the poster.

Olinka (or Olga) plays Carol, a young woman who is being secretly mind controlled by a crazy eyebrowed descendent of the the Three Magi who bought Jesus his first Christmas presents. This leads to some atmospheric sequences in which she wanders around in a daze, or strips to her bra and pants and goes swimming. There are also nightmare sequences, but they're a bit pedestrian, which is a pain, as I really like a well done nightmare sequence. Eyebrows wants Carol because she is a dead ringer for Ayesha, the dead 'she who must be obeyed' Queen of legend. In return for her, immortal High Priest Kallikrates (John Richardson, also in the first film) will grant eyebrows eternal life via the mystical blue bonfire. It doesn't much much sense, really, but I just went with it.

Bewigged tough guy / psychiatrist Edward Judd has taken a shine to poor Carol, however (I don't blame him, she's bloody gorgeous), and does his utmost to save her, following her across the desert, crashing jeeps, punching people and knocking them off horses and stuff. In the end, he succeeds, and, in return for her life, as is the way with these things, it means that a whole civilisation is wiped out by explosions and falling rubble whilst the lovers make their get away, job done.

It's a funny production, really, something of an anomaly in that it features a cast and crew who weren't part of the regular set up (and didn't become so), and was shot mainly in Israel rather than in Berkshire. Story wise it's obviously a bit of a concoction, but scriptwriter Peter O'Donnell created 'Modesty Blaise' (and, under a female pseudonym, also wrote gothic romances) and clearly knows what to chuck in the mixing bowl. There are some good actors (Colin Blakely, George Sewell, Andre Morell), some nice locations and, overall, I think it's fine, a decent, different kind of b-picture with all the limitations the category suggests, but with enough flashes of skill and sparks of difference to keep it interesting.

Here's a trailer that may arouse your curiosity, or, if you like sixties lingerie, simply arouse you. As I say, Olga / Olinka is very attractive


1 comment:

  1. i really need to get my arse in gear and watch this one. Like you, I've adored She since childhood, so it's really remiss of me to have not caught up with this yetI