Mysterious Island of Beautiful Women makes its Blu-ray debut thanks to those made geniuses at Kino Lorber.
Imagine if James Stewart and the guys in Flight of the Phoenix soft-landed on an island in the south pacific that was populated by beautiful women with a secret. That’s essentially the TV Movie Mysterious Island of Beautiful Women.
Made during the late 1970s push from Television Studios to compete with Movies – think Starlight One. Though Mysterious Island of Beautiful Women with its shot on location sets and all-star cast one up Starflight One. Yes, the story is very run of the mill where a bunch of men encounters a society of women – that they feel they must save. It’s something that’s been done in Sci-Fi to Exploitation to Porn to Parodies. Here there’s a sturdiness to the execution of the concept by screenwriters Gary Sherman and Sandor Stern. Because of the serious tone that’s taken but not so much that the air is sucked out of the livelier aspects of the film.
The cast is key here with a true all-star roster from Peter Lawford to Clint Walker to Jayne Kennedy to Rosalind Chao to Stephen Keats to Deborah Shelton. None of them, even Lawford, phone it in. They all give fully realized performances here. Keats and Shelton are the standouts here playing the leads. They never succumb to the ridiculous nature of the proceedings, rather given the perfectly wrought performances.
You’ll be able to tell where everything is headed but it’s done with the right amount of darkness and seriousness to elevate itself beyond what could have been a terrible execution. Mysterious Island of Beautiful Women is on the better end of the TV Movies of the late 1970s – early 1980s.
Kino has added this disclaimer at the beginning of the film;
The following presentation of MYSTERIOUS ISLAND OF BEAUTIFUL WOMEN was scanned and restored from a variety of 35mm and 16mm prints, as no negative elements are known to survive. Due to the lack of any single complete element for the film, the highest quality sections of several prints were composited. Therefore, you may notice periodic fluctuations in image clarity/sharpness as well as color saturation, due to severe fade in the source materials.
That said the brand new 2K Master of said elements creates a wonderful transfer that has moments of the above issue. Those few moments do not ever distract from the film or the quality of the image itself. Having watched the film multiple times for this review, the quality dips are so infrequent it does not distract from the image as a whole which is sharp, colorful, and handsome.
They include the following;
- NEW Audio Commentary by Film Historian/Author Amanda Reyes and Kindertrauma Co-Founder Lance Vaughn
The all-new Audio Commentary by Film Historian/Author Amanda Reyes and Kindertrauma Co-Founder Lance Vaughn begin with the lack of response on Vaughn’s website. Some of the details include the hogepoge of genre’s that the film works in, the uniqueness of the plot in the realm of TV Movies, the era that this film was produced, the initial airings of the film, what the movie aired against, how the ratings how were very different in the era and a reference to the modern eras, the various TV movies that were released that year, the comparisons to a specific Fantasy Island show, the career and times of Peter Lawford, the career and work of Jamie Lynn Bauer, the career and work of Clint Walker, the work and career of Jayne Kennedy, the various films from the sub-genre of “women’s society without men”, how Reyes views these various types of films and the research she does to produce the content/reviews/commentaries she creates, she also discusses the productions and the lack of historical information when she does research them, a great discussion about the film’s larger themes and context to the backstory tying to the ending, a discussion of how this film treats the men and women characters and how it would have differed between a theatrical release and TV movie, a great definition – from an essay – of what Exploitation films are, the career of screenwriter Sandor Stern – including a great side discussion of his directorial effort Pin, a great discussion about Gary Sherman including his directorial efforts Dead and Buried, Vice Squad, Poltergeist III, the career and work of Stephen Keats, what critics thought of the film and leads to a discussion of Jayne Kennedy – which leads to a discussion of her Sportscasting Career and her acting career, and much more. As anyone who’s read Reyes’ book or listened to another track from the Critic will know the vast amount of information and how thoroughly researched and enlightening, they can be. Here with co-commentator Vaughn is no different. The duo gives us an entertaining and informational track on this film.
Rounding out the special features are TV spots for Fear No Evil (1:35), Scream, Pretty Peggy (0:34), Ritual of Evil (1:38), Kolchak: The Night Stalker (0:34), Night Gallery (1:05)
The Final Thought
Mysterious Island of Beautiful Women is a delight for anyone that loves the golden era of TV Movies. Kino Lorber has done an excellent job with this set. Recommended!