Island of Lost Girls (1969)

Island of Lost Girls (1969)‘Do you want to look at my crocodile?’

A New York policeman visiting Thailand for a crime conference is engaged by an American tourist to find her daughter, who has disappeared. Somewhat reluctantly, he calls on old friend Joe Walker to help. Together, they uncover a sinister organisation operating a white slavery ring from a remote island.

It’s business as usual in the penultimate film in the ‘Kommissar X’ series. Tony Kendall and Brad Harris settle into their well-worn groove without breaking into any kind of a sweat. After five films, the audience certainly isn’t expecting any new character wrinkles or serious dramatic engagement. Instead, there’s the usual mix of light-hearted thrills, pretty girls, mild danger and smarm from Kendall.

He’s now a private investigator apparently rather than a secret agent; and it would seem a fair assumption that all the later films in the series follow a similar storyline to this entry. In fact, plot wise, this is almost a carbon copy of ‘Death Be Nimble, Death Be Quick’ (1966); the 3rd entry. Harris is on business at an exotic locale, he gets roped into a local case, calls in his old friend to help and the two take on a local crime syndicate (in this case ‘The Three Serpents.’)

Island of Lost Girls (1969)

You know, I get the strange feeling this has all happened before…

The results betray gaps in narrative flow and logic and look loosely assembled. The impression is that the unit turned up on location with a working script and just ‘winged it’ from there. The climax arrives all of a sudden and is fairly idiotic anyway; villains and heroes wallowing about on mud flats after the cavalry turn up. Along the way we’ve enjoyed (endured?) a fair sprinkling of the usual clichés; death by blow dart, drugged cocktails, minor fisticuffs and a villainous dragon lady. It’s all fairly underwhelming really.

Although basing a thriller around the sex trade may seem a little ahead of its time; that element is really little more than window dressing rather than a major factor in the plot. What remains is a tatty scribble of a crime thriller; a typical product of independent European commercial filmmaking of the late 1960s and early 70s.


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