• Prisoner Of Paradise

    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: September 9th, 2014.
    Director: Bob Chinn
    Cast: John Holmes, Seka, Jade Wong, Sue Carol
    Year: 1980
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    The Movie:

    Directed by Bob Chinn (the opening credits list Gail Palmer as co-director), 1980’s Prisoner Of Paradise once again pairs the director with leading man John Holmes cast here as Joe Murray, an American soldier serving in the South Pacific of the Second World War. He’s having trouble getting over the loss of his girlfriend, Sue Lee (Mai Lin), but quickly snaps back to reality when his ship is bombed by enemy planes and he winds up a castaway on a remote island. It’s not so bad though – there’s plenty of tropical fruit to munch on and pretty scenery to take in.

    As Joe goes about exploring the island, however, he discovers a Nazi outpost lorded over by the sadistic Hans von Shlemel (Elmo Lavino) and his two equally, though far more attractive, assistants Greta (Sue Carol) and Ilsa (Seka) and a Japanese soldier named Suke (Jade Wong)! He and his fascist friends are holding two beautiful American nurses, Carol (Nikki Anderson) and Gloria (Brenda Vargo), captive and he’s not just going to standby and let that happen. He valiantly tries to break into the compound and save the two ladies but is apprehended by the bad guys and then forced to take care of Ilsa’s womanly needs while Greta takes matters into her own hands scoring bonus points for the creative use of her pistol. Creepy old Hans watches all of this and more and then coerces the female prisoners into getting in on the action too.

    As behavior in the camp becomes increasingly depraved, poor Suke starts to have feelings for Joe and he in turn is reminded by her affections of his late flame. He goes along with her to an extent but soon puts in motion a daring escape plan!

    More of a camp picture than the roughie it might sound like, Prisoner Of Paradise nevertheless does a good job of playing up the Nazi fetish by having Seka and Carol strut around in ‘standard issue’ khakis and leather and looking quite good by doing so. Later in the film they put on fancier SS uniforms. The sex is plentiful and well shot and Chinn (let’s not fool ourselves into thinking Gail Palmer had much of anything to do with this) introduces enough variety into things to keep it interesting. Lots of colorful characters populate the picture and Holmes is in fine form here.

    The movie treats his grieving for dear departed Sue Lee more seriously than it does the rest of the film so there are some odd tonal shifts in that regard but these scenes, even if they stand out in strange ways, actually work in terms of furthering the storyline. They also allow for Mai Lin to appear in the movie, and it’s unlikely that any will complain about that in the first place. Seka and Carol steal the show, they’re obviously having a good time here and definitely get into their work, while Lavino and his obsessions with ‘der Fuhrer’ is genuinely funny. Holmes carries the picture though, getting involved in some minor stunt work and doing his best in the finale to convince as an action hero. This one is a kick.


    Prisoner Of Paradise arrives on DVD from Vinegar Syndrome in a new 2k scan from the original 35mm negative framed at 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen. VCX released it on DVD years ago in a soft and fuzzy looking fullframe transfer and this new reissue easily trumps that ratty old disc. Colors look excellent here and detail is quite strong. Some of the stock footage inserts stick out a bit but that’s to be expected and is hardly a strike against the disc. Skin tones look nice and lifelike and black levels are strong. The image is typically quite clean, there are only a few minor specks throughout and a couple of scratches evident in the first few minutes. Overall the movie looks great, fans should be quite pleased.

    The English language Dolby Digital Mono sound mix, the only one available on the disc, sounds fine. You might notice the occasional pop in the mix if you’re listening for it but aside from that the levels are properly balanced, dialogue is easy to understand and the score and sound effects are mixed in effectively enough. There are no subtitles provided on this DVD.

    Extras are limited to a trailer for the feature, a Caribbean Films promo reel featuring spots for California Gigolo, Hot Legs and Prisoner of Paradise, static menus and chapter selection. It would have been great to get a Chinn commentary on this one but that didn’t happen (you can read our interview where we ask him about it here).

    The Final Word:

    Vinegar Syndrome’s DVD release of Prisoner Of Paradise is light on extras but is an otherwise very strong presentation of one of Bob Chinn’s most enjoyable adult features, a delirious hybrid of smutty couplings, crazed performances and Nazisploitation trappings!

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Nolando's Avatar
      Nolando -
      That cover art...man, alive, that's screaming for an album cover or show flyer, definitely.