Sunday, 24 August 2014

Escape from Hell Island (1963)

I'm guessing this was not Fidel Castro's favorite film, as the island in the title is post-revolutionary Cuba.  It's also not my favorite, because it is booooring.

An American boat captain reluctantly accepts a job smuggling some folks off Cuba.  Surprise surprise, it goes awry, and they come under attack by a Cuban patrol boat.  Of course, one American with a tommy gun is more than enough to see off an entire army of commies, so after a singularly unconvincing action scene, he escapes.  There have been some casualties, however, which get him in trouble with the authorities.

More important to the film however is the fact that one of the Cuban refugees is a beautiful woman, played by an actress who sounds like the closest she's ever been to Cuba is filming this movie.  The captain's interest in this attractive stranger earns the ire of her husband, but he's not too perturbed about that.

And that's pretty much it, as far as plot goes, for the first hour of the film.  After reaching the US, the captain meets the young woman in a bar and dances with her, further upsetting her husband.  The woman confides that she does not love or respect her husband, but fears him.  The captain waves this off 'a barking dog never bites'.

This gives the woman the courage to stand up to her husband, and the husband the courage to plot to kill the captain.  It is, however, one of the most ineptly executed plots I've ever encountered on film.  It's also very boring cinema, as it leads to 15 minutes of the captain slowly swimming around his boat, waiting for the other man to lower his guard enough for him to climb back aboard.  The movie seems to be hoping that some obvious stock footage of sharks will be enough to make this tense.  It's  not.

This one is dead in the water.

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