• Dangerous Cargo (Mondo Macabro) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Mondo Macabro
    Released on: February 18th, 2019.
    Director: Kostas Karagiannis
    Cast: Kostas Karagiorgis, Nikos Verlekis, Deborah Shelton, Stavros Farmakis, Ilis Gigontis, Giorgos Hristodoulou
    Year: 1977
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    Dangerous Cargo – Movie Review:

    A ship’s captain (Nikos Verlekis) has recently been wed to his beautiful new wife (Deborah Shelton) when he’s tasked with navigating a Greek cargo ship to a destination in Asia – he isn’t given any more specific information than that, and is told that details will come in along the way. At any rate, the captain foolishly lets his pretty young wife parade about on the ship in skimpy outfits, knowing full well that his crew is made up entirely of men who are, well, less than trustworthy. He’s also unaware that there’s a criminal – a pirate, really - in their midst (Kostas Karagiorgis), and when his first mate (Giorgos Hristodoulou), tries to warn him, he ignores it, in fact, he has the man punished (coincidently, the first mate also happens to be the ex-boyfriend of his new wife).

    Before you know it, the captain is dead and the criminal has cause a mutiny on the ship, which gets re-routed to Sudan where it’s cargo – nitroglycerine – will be unloaded… should it all arrive in one piece. The wife finds herself alone against a small army of rough and tumble men and decides to use her feminine wiles to try and save her own skin.

    Directed by Kostas Karagiannis, the same man who directed The Wife Killer and Tango Of Perversion (both available on DVD from Mondo Macabro), the film is infamous for one reason only and that’s the presence of former 1970 Miss U.S.A. winner and one time star of TV’s Dallas and Brian DePalam’s Body Double, the lovely Deborah Shelton. How she would up in this sleazy Greek exploitation thriller is anyone’s guess (sadly there are no extra features documenting how this happened included on the disc) but it’s her presence – and frequent nude scenes – that make the film memorable. She’s got a genuinely alluring screen presence here and handles the material, even the stronger stuff, with a naturalness that goes a long way. The rest of the cast? they play surly sailors well enough. The captain is a bit of a bone head, but that’s how he was written and not a fault of Nikos Verlekis’ performance. Giorgos Hristodoulou is decent enough as the first mate, we know early on from the way he looks at Shelton’s character that they have a past. Kostas Karagiorgis, however, steals the show from the rest of the male cast. His bushy white hair and dark eyebrows, he looks a bit like Dermot Morgan, the late Irish actor who played the title character in UK Channel’s 4’s hilarious Father Ted series! Regardless, he chews a good bit of scenery here and throws his weight around rather well.

    Karagiannis’ direction is okay. He paces the film reasonably well and does a decent enough job on the clearly very limited locations he had to work with. A scene depicting a brawl on the top deck of the ship features some ridiculous fight choreography, but, overall, this is pretty entertaining stuff. Oh, and there’s a pretty neat plastic gun and a drag queen in here too.

    Dangerous Cargo – Blu-ray Review:

    Dangerous Cargo comes to Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.33.1 and taken from a ‘new HD transfer from original negative.’ The feature opens with a disclaimer noting that the transfer was provided by the licensor and that it is below Mondo Macabro’s usual standards, which is true, but this is hardly an unwatchable disaster. There is some minor noise reduction noticeable through much of the film and some obvious black crush in the darker scenes, but the brighter scenes can often look very good, especially the ones that take place outside in the sunlight. You might spot a bit of flicker in the opening few minutes, but it’s subtle and doesn’t return. Close up shots can provide pretty solid facial detail and overall, colors look pretty good here.

    The only audio option on the disc is a Greek language Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono mix. Optional subtitles are provided in English only. While lossless tracks are always preferred on Blu-ray discs, this Dolby Digital option does sound very good. It is clean and clear and nicely balanced and there are no noticeable issues with any hiss or distortion. There’s a bit more depth to it than you might expect as well - all in all, in sounds quite good.

    Extras are slim, but the disc does contain menus, chapter selection and the always amazing Mondo Macabro preview reel.

    Dangerous Cargo – The Final Word:

    Dangerous Cargo is a reasonably sleazy thriller with a couple of neat twists and a whole lot of Deborah Shelton to keep things interesting. It’s well-paced and the ending came as a legitimate surprise. The disc is light on extras to be sure but the presentation here is better than you might expect, given what Mondo Macabro had to work with.

    Click on the images below for full sized Dangerous Cargo Blu-ray screen caps!