The Omegans (1968)

The Omegans (1968) PosterThere isn’t even any poster art for this one…

An artist and his unfaithful wife join an expedition into the jungle to find a cursed river.

W. Lee Wilder was the brother of famous Hollywood director, Billy Wilder. Big brother won 7 Oscars for films like ‘Witness for the Prosecution’ (1957), ‘The Apartment’ (1960) and ‘Sunset Blvd.’ (1950). W. Lee, on the other hand, gave the world ‘Killers from Space’ (1954), ‘Manfish’ (1956) and ‘The Snow Creature’ (1954). And then there’s his last film: ‘The Omegans’ (1968), a flat, lifeless cautionary tale about the dangers of too much bathing…

Our hero(?) is played by Lucien Pan; a painter with a young wife (Ingrid Pitt) who sells pictures of her to art galleries. Unfortunately, he’s about as animated as one of his pallet knives and she’s already bored and fooling around with tour guide Chuck (Keith Larsen). All of them travel into the jungle with a pair of scientists who are in search of a legendary river. When hubby finally gets wise to what’s going on (the only inventive moment in the film), he insists that wife and her lover pose in the waters, which he knows are radioactive…

This is a film that simply comes up short in every department. For a start, Pan gives a dreadful performance; engaging neither audience sympathy or contempt and, although Pitt looks good, she’s still working on that English accent. The camerawork is mostly static and conversations seem more like exchanges of information than natural dialogue. There’s also more than one scene that simply explains things that we already know.

"It can't be my bath time again surely?"

“It can’t be my bath time again surely?”

The Philippines make for an impressive location but if Pitt took one more dip on our endless crawl to the (anti) climax, she’d probably have wrinkled up like a prune, radioactivity or not… Curiously, within a couple of years she was Hammer’s poster girl and starring as ‘Countless Dracula’ (1970), a film where she bathes in virgin’s blood to stay young; a curious reflection of the events in this film.

And ‘The Omegans’? Well, apparently they are the local tribe that live by the river. They’ve developed immunity to the radiation and glow in the dark. I gather. We see them once or twice…in the distance… they’re probably symbolic or something…?


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