Cast & Crew
In the waters around Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Bill Buchanan dives for sunken treasure. His sole crew member is young, native boy Ti Flute. Elsewhere on the island, Carl Dexter sneaks into a secret voodoo ceremony, steals a small idol and a miniature, jewel-encrusted, gold skeleton and escapes, pursued by enraged natives. Dexter shows his loot to his visiting daughter Ann, a New York model, and tells her that the idols are the key to a fortune in gold and precious gems. However, Dexter fears that the houngan, or voodoo high priest, may seek revenge for the theft. Dexter asks Ann to tell Bill that he has the key to the treasure of the Untamed and to charter his boat. When Ann locates Bill, he wants nothing to do with the project, because he considers the treasure to be a myth and has been cheated by Dexter in the past. After an angry Bill tosses Ann in the ocean, she has him arrested for assault. Later, Ann receives a note from her father, who has disappeared, asking her to bring Bill and his boat to San Marc. She then drops charges against Bill and shows him the jeweled skeleton. Intrigued, Bill agrees to go with her. Meanwhile, the houngan performs a voodoo ceremony using Dexter's hat and stabs it. Miles away, as Bill's boat approaches him, Dexter, still carrying the idol, falls from a cliff to his death in shark-infested waters. After recovering the idol, Bill tells Ann about the legend of the Untamed in which an African tribe settling in Haiti, buried its dead with miniature gold skeletons to prevent their spirits' return. Bill then suggests that they talk with a young houngan, Iznard, who knows the tribe's history. When they reach the island where Iznard lives, Bill receives a very warm welcome, as he had earlier helped the people during an epidemic. Iznard is stunned by the sight of the skeleton and warns Bill and Ann that it belongs to Domballa, the god of air, land and water, whose earthly entity is a snake. During a night-till-dawn ritual ceremony, Iznard seeks advice from Domballa but then informs Bill and Ann that he must keep Domballa's counsel secret. Meanwhile Christofe, Iznard's young son, visits Ti Flute on Bill's boat, dons the diving gear and plunges into the water, where his foot becomes trapped in a giant clam. Ti Flute alerts Bill, who arrives in time to save Christofe from a shark attack. Iznard is so grateful for his son's rescue that he reveals to Bill how the Untamed stole gold and jewels from Henri Christophe, the former slave who became King of Haiti, and then explains that the idol is only half of the clue to the treasure's location on the Untameds' secret island. Bill and Iznard journey to the ruins of Christophe's Palace Sans Souci, where Iznard locates the other half of the idol, then to the Citadelle de la Ferrière, an impregnable fortress also built by Christophe. There, at a specific site, Iznard combines both halves of the idol so that it points to the location of the distant, secret island. Though no land is visible, Bill takes a compass reading of the direction. As it is dark, they decide to spend the night there, but later, Bill awakens and discovers that Iznard has died. Despite Ann's fear of further voodoo magic, they sail toward the island, which appears to be a solid rock with no landing spots. After Ann discovers an underwater cave, which appears to be the entrance to the island, they don aqua lungs and set off, leaving Ti Flute in charge of the boat. They eventually reach the island's interior and, from a hiding place, witness the natives performing a ceremonial trial in which the gold skeleton is hung around the necks of a man and a woman, who are then killed with spears. The bodies are then thrown into a lake. When the natives leave, Bill and Ann dive underwater, locate dozens of skulls on the lake bed and pick up many gold skeletons. However, they are discovered by the natives and are subjected to a ritual, identical to the one they witnessed. They are about to be killed when the natives throw their oxygen tank on a fire, causing widespread panic and fires after it explodes. Bill and Ann escape during the confusion, but are forced to leave the treasure behind. Later, during the voyage home, Bill and Ann, who have become romantically involved during the adventure, decide to spend their lives together.
The Players Of The National Folklore Theatre Of Ha
Sam X. Abarbanel
Edward B. Barison
James R. Connell
William C. Thompson
TCM Remembers - John Agar
Popular b-movie actor John Agar died April 7th at the age of 81. Agar is probably best known as the actor that married Shirley Temple in 1945 but he also appeared alongside John Wayne in several films. Agar soon became a fixture in such films as Tarantula (1955) and The Mole People (1956) and was a cult favorite ever since, something he took in good spirits and seemed to enjoy. In 1972, for instance, the fan magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland mistakenly ran his obituary, a piece that Agar would later happily autograph.
Agar was born January 31, 1921 in Chicago. He had been a sergeant in the Army Air Corps working as a physical trainer when he was hired in 1945 to escort 16-year-old Shirley Temple to a Hollywood party. Agar apparently knew Temple earlier since his sister was a classmate of Temple's. Despite the objections of Temple's mother the two became a couple and were married shortly after. Temple's producer David Selznick asked Agar if he wanted to act but he reportedly replied that one actor in the family was enough. Nevertheless, Selznick paid for acting lessons and signed Agar to a contract.
Agar's first film was the John Ford-directed Fort Apache (1948) also starring Temple. Agar and Temple also both appeared in Adventure in Baltimore (1949) and had a daughter in 1948 but were divorced the following year. Agar married again in 1951 which lasted until his wife's death in 2000. Agar worked in a string of Westerns and war films such as Sands of Iwo Jima (1949), Breakthrough (1950) and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949). Later when pressed for money he began making the films that would establish his reputation beyond the gossip columns: Revenge of the Creature (1955), The Brain from Planet Arous (1957), Invisible Invaders (1959) and the mind-boggling Zontar, the Thing from Venus (1966). The roles became progressively smaller so Agar sold insurance and real estate on the side. When he appeared in the 1988 film Miracle Mile his dialogue supposedly included obscenities which Agar had always refused to use. He showed the director a way to do the scene without that language and that's how it was filmed.
By Lang Thompson
DUDLEY MOORE, 1935-2002
Award-winning actor, comedian and musician Dudley Moore died on March 27th at the age of 66. Moore first gained notice in his native England for ground-breaking stage and TV comedy before later building a Hollywood career. Like many of his peers, he had an amiable, open appeal that was balanced against a sharply satiric edge. Moore could play the confused innocent as well as the crafty schemer and tended to command attention wherever he appeared. Among his four marriages were two actresses: Tuesday Weld and Suzy Kendall.
Moore was born April 19, 1935 in London. As a child, he had a club foot later corrected by years of surgery that often left him recuperating in the hospital alongside critically wounded soldiers. Moore attended Oxford where he earned a degree in musical composition and met future collaborators Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller and Alan Bennett. The four formed the landmark comedy ensemble Beyond the Fringe. Though often merely labelled as a precursor to Monty Python's Flying Circus, Beyond the Fringe was instrumental in the marriage of the piercing, highly educated sense of humor cultivated by Oxbridge graduates to the modern mass media. In this case it was the revue stage and television where Beyond the Fringe first assaulted the astonished minds of Britons. Moore supplied the music and such songs as "The Sadder and Wiser Beaver," "Man Bites God" and "One Leg Too Few." (You can pick up a CD set with much of the stage show. Unfortunately for future historians the BBC commonly erased tapes at this period - why? - so many of the TV episodes are apparently gone forever.)
Moore's first feature film was the 1966 farce The Wrong Box (a Robert Louis Stevenson adaptation) but it was his collaboration with Peter Cook on Bedazzled (1967) that's endured. Unlike its tepid 2000 remake, the original Bedazzled is a wolverine-tough satire of mid-60s culture that hasn't aged a bit: viewers are still as likely to be appalled and entertained at the same time. Moore not only co-wrote the story with Cook but composed the score. Moore appeared in a few more films until starring in 10 (1979). Written and directed by Blake Edwards, this amiable comedy featured Moore (a last-minute replacement for George Segal) caught in a middle-aged crisis and proved popular with both audiences and critics. Moore's career took another turn when his role as a wealthy alcoholic who falls for the proverbial shop girl in Arthur (1981) snagged him an Oscar nomination as Best Actor and a Golden Globe win.
However Moore was never able to build on these successes. He starred in a passable remake of Preston Sturges' Unfaithfully Yours (1984), did another Blake Edwards romantic comedy of moderate interest called Micki + Maude (1984, also a Golden Globe winner for Moore), a misfired sequel to Arthur in 1988 and a few other little-seen films. The highlight of this period must certainly be the 1991 series Orchestra where Moore spars with the wonderfully crusty conductor Georg Solti and leads an orchestra of students in what's certainly some of the most delightful television ever made.
By Lang Thompson
TCM Remembers - John Agar
An opening title card states that the film was: "Photographed in its entirety in the Caribbean through the generous co-operation of the Government of Haiti." Although the black-and-white print viewed bore a "Copyright 1954" notice, the film was not registered. A 7 August 54 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that the independently made film had been acquired for distribution by United Artists. A correction to the film's SAR implies that Lee Hewitt should have been credited as Lew Hewitt. A modern source states that writer/director "Joel Judge" was a pseudonym of actor Abner Biberman.