Love Slaves? In This Economy?!



One has to approach a movie named Love Slaves of the Amazons with a certain set of expectations. You assume there will be Amazons, and you can assume said Amazons will have Love Slaves. You might also assume, though it might be pushing things, that the movie will feature some amount of adventure getting to and then getting away from the Amazons. Love Slaves does contain all of those elements, yet not in the way one might expect. This is not to praise Love Slaves for its originality — indeed it doesn’t have any — but to chide it for not living up to even the most basic expectations of its genre.

For a movie written and directed by Curt Siodmak, the screenwriter behind classic genre films such as The Wolf Man, I Walked With a Zombie, and Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers, Love Slaves can only be considered a disappointment. It’s not exciting. Its action sequences are fairly rote, much of the danger is only suggested by liberal use of stock footage, and the Amazons prove to be less than worthy adversaries. It’s not sexy. Even for the standards of the 1950s, the Amazons are school-girlish and cutesy, with nary a hint of exotic sultriness among them. 

None of the Amazons have any definable traits beyond ‘look like a swimsuit model,’ and some are not even called upon to do that. Even their queen, the mysterious Queen Conori (Ana Maria Nabuco), does nothing more than just lounge about, watching her subjects dance for their male captive.

As the aforementioned captive, Don Taylor is just fine as far as it goes. Once he actually encounters the Amazons, however, his firm leading man demeanor is suddenly replaced by that of a five year old boy afraid of cooties. The biggest threat the Amazons present to him is when they give him a … *gasp*… BATH! “I just took a swim yesterday!” he pouts.

So what is he doing in the land of the Amazons, you ask? Taylor plays Dr. Peter Masters, an archeologist who comes to visit a museum in Brazil. While there, he encounters a strange little man named Dr. Crespi (Eduardo Ciannelli) who claims to have evidence of a real-life tribe of Amazon warriors! Intrigued, Masters follows Crespi into the jungle. Along the way they are menaced by river pirates and stock footage of snakes and alligators. Eventually Masters, now separated from Crespi, stumbles into the Amazon hunting grounds and is taken captive. There he finds two members of a previous expedition that disappeared four years ago: Mario (Tom Payne) and Gina (Gianna Segale). Mario warns Masters not to be fooled by the Amazons’ giggly charms, they’re really quite ruthless warriors! No, really, you have to trust Mario on this. Masters must escape the Amazons before he, too, becomes a Love Slave! 

Though his words are never matched up to what we see on screen, Payne is quite effective as a man who is haunted by the horrors he has witnessed. It’s on his shoulders alone that we get the sense that life with the Amazons is not all hot baths, rum drinks, dance recitals, and pool parties. The other notable standout in the cast is Ciannelli as Crespi. Ciannelli is prickly and evasive, and as a result Crespi’s allegiances are never certain. Is he playing some kind of long con, or is he genuinely offering up the discovery of a lifetime? 

Neither of these two characters are in enough of the movie to help it overcome its limitations, however. For a ‘men’s adventure’ movie, Love Slaves has precious little adventure. Of the adventure it does have, precious little of it actually involves the Amazons. Siodmak reportedly made the movie because he had 10,000 feet of unused color film left over after he finished his previous movie Curucu. He couldn’t import the film back to the States, so he just shot another movie. Economical, but I do wish he had spent some effort crafting a smarter script.

Love Slaves of the Amazons is out on Blu-Ray from Kino Lorber’s Studio Classics line. Packaged in a cardboard slipcase, it features a brand new 2K transfer (all the better to show off the lush colors of the Amazon rainforest and the lush greens of the Amazons’ warpaint!). It comes with a feature-length audio commentary from authors Bryan Reesman and Max Evry. Like most movies of this sort, the audio commentary is more entertaining than the movie. It also has a collection of trailers.