MAN FROM DEEP RIVER (1972)
posted 00/00/2009

Directed by:
Umberto Lenzi

Starring:
Ivan Rassimov ... John Bradley
Me Me Lai ... Marayå
Prasitsak Singhara ... Taima
Sulallewan Suxantat ... Karen

Country: Italy
Runtime: 93 min
Original title: Il paese del sesso selvaggio
AKA: Deep River Savages
Sacrifice!
 

What we have here is not a cannibal picture. These are the adventures of a curious, English photographer in an exotic land who falls in love with a "froth at the crotch" hot primitive girl, played angelically by Me Me Lai. He is "seeking adventure" I guess when he takes a trip to Thailand and takes pictures of everything exotic he sees. His name is Bradley and he’s fashioned after the Charlton Heston character from Planet of the Apes. The movie title is accurate because that’s where the story takes place...down river in the jungles that border Thailand and Burma. Although not being a cannibal film may disappoint some, rest assured that there are ridiculous amounts of nudity to feast on, insane scenes of animal torture (if that’s your thing) and sadly only one (but good) cannibal attack scene.

In order for us to get to know that Bradley is a bad ass he gets into a fight in a bar with a man that wants to kill him for no apparent reason. Bradley in turn kills the man, good ol’ bad ass Bradley! He hires a local boy to take him down river (what else are local boys in strange places good for?), but just as they are almost there they get attacked by some primitives. The boy is killed and Bradley is caught in a net and taken to the village. Bradley hangs from his net for a while, witnesses some tongues getting sliced off, and catches the eye of the hottest, rarely seen clothed, primitive girl Maraya. When they lock him away in his cell Maraya often strolls by to see him and he befriends an old woman that can speak English.

After a couple of months he’s set free to wander about. I don’t understand this reasoning but who am I to question primitive people. The first thing he sees is Maraya and half a dozen other beautiful girls bathing by the water. The two lock eyes and communicate their lust for each other. In the following scene a woman’s husband dies when a large stone crushes him to death. According to primitive ritual the widow must now be raped on the ground by all the tribe’s men. You see like two of them go at it, fierce shit! I don’t remember what Bradley was doing at this point. But later Bradley tries to escape but is quickly caught and put in some torture devices for a long time. In one device his arms are outstretched on a cross that spins and the natives shoot blow darts at his body. Forgive me but I have never heard of or will ever hear of this because it doesn’t exist. As I mentioned there are several animal cruelty scenes and the weasel killing the cobra snake which happens at about this point is the sickest! Maybe the tribe will never learn that when you let Bradley loose to roam the village again he will escape. Either way, after long months of torture they set him free. He must be in their favor because they eat monkey brains together and they offer him a sword. Bradley now routinely helps out around the village and even performs a makeshift tracheotomy to save a boy. Since when is he a doctor?

Now comes my favorite part of the film. I call it the "groping for a wife" scene. Let me explain. I guess it’s about time that our beautiful young Maraya be seeing a mate for marriage. So they stick her inside a hut and the two female helpers inside undress her and act all giddy. Then they blindfold her and sit her down in a corner of the hut. Now there is a hole by where she is sitting and all the tribes men are waiting outside the hut. When it’s their turn the man sticks his hand in and is free to grope Maraya wherever he pleases. All the men grope her firm boobs and lower areas of her body. The thing is that Maraya is to say stop when the man with the hand that has groped her has pleased her and therefore she will marry. When it’s Bradley’s turn he respectfully avoids her privates (both top and bottom) and feels her arm and clasps her hand with fingers intertwined. Bang! Maraya knows the man she wants, and it’s Bradley. I don’t think we even see the marriage ceremony, we just see them hump allover the jungle, on the ground and in the water like rabbits. They have their own hut built and they hump on the ground. Later they are in a vacant room humping it up again. Eventually she’s pregnant, cannibals attack and burn a part of the village and Maraya starts to go blind. The tribe gets revenge on the cannibals. Maraya gets worse but the tribe does not let them go back to civilization. Maraya gets weaker and weaker. She manages to give birth to a boy then dies shortly after. Bradley gets depressed and has visions of her naked and love-making. Finally he decides to leave civilization behind and raise his son here in the village.

The movie was fun no matter what I may say, it was a good ride. I give it two stars because of the poor direction and the whole feel of the movie trying to be Planet of the Apes didn’t do it for me. I just even recently realized that the characters of Maraya and Nova (from the Planet of the Apes film) are carbon copies down to the fact that they both had the language barrier with their man. I also did not like the main character. I hope that explains why I gave it two coffins. I still would recommend it because the story was nice and the nudity nicer!

- Jorge Antonio Lopez

 

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