Lana – Königin der Amazonen (1964)

Rating: C

Dir: Cyl Farney and Géza von Cziffra
Star: Christian Wolff, Catherine Schell, Anton Diffring, Michael Hinz
a.k.a. Lana: Queen of the Amazons

Someone needs to do a study about survival rates in jungle plane crashes, because between this and Tarzana, the Wild Girl, it appears you’ve got a 100% chance of coming through if you’re a blonde child. This predates Tarzana by about four years, and is an altogether classier production: there’s a sense they may actually have gone to the vicinity, at least, of its supposed location (the Amazon jungle in this case), rather than faking it with stock footage and some decrepit zoo refugees. The plot is more or less the same, however – as is the intent of boobies. Professor Van Vries (Diffring) and his nephew Peter (Wolff), are exploring, when they team up with another, more profit-inspired group.

Both are captured by a native tribe, who seem to have a partnership with the nearby Amazons, and their queen, Lana (Schell), the aforementioned crash survivor. However, you can take the small child out of Western civilization, but you can’t take Western civ… Oh, you get the picture. She falls for Peter, and escape is plotted, as greedy eyes are cast elsewhere on the Amazons’ treasure-house. This German-Brazillian co-production paints a rather idyllic picture of life: in particular, the Amazons main daily activity appears to be frolicking in the river. I was going to say “frolicking topless,” but that would imply they do anything with their tops on, which isn’t the case. It’s likely a good thing, given this, that there appears to be a Logan’s Run style society here, with no-one over the age of 27 to be found in the Amazon village.

In story-line terms, this is as thin as any nudist-camp volleyball pic, despite vague efforts to give the plot some impetus. They really shouldn’t have bothered. Schell, who’d go on to appear alongside Joanna Lumley, Jenny Hanley and Anouska Hempel as Bond girls in OHMSS, does what’s required of her – which isn’t much, beyond looking pretty and occasionally pouting in vaguely-concerned fashion. Diffring, who has been in much better and must have needed a mortgage payment or something. keeps an admirably-straight face through the ludicrous climax. It’s almost entirely forgettable, yet done with just enough skill to make it not even worthy of significant mockery.