The Film Detective has ten new film restorations ready for delivery on DVD on Apr. 11.
Leading the charge is director — and that is always a subjective evaluation — Denis Sanders’ summer of 1973 sci-fi thriller, Graveyard Tramps (aka: Invasion of the Bee Girls).
Are we looking at a satire of the woman’s rights movement of the 60s and 70s? Or, could it just be what it is, a make-a-buck sci-fi tale using sex as something akin to an alien invasion “death ray?”
In the end it just doesn’t matter the reason, this is a rare gem that is to be savored … the short-lived theatrical distributor Centaur, who also gave us Switchblade Sisters, Girls Are for Loving and Naughty Nymphs, was responsible and when you consider these Invasion of the Bee Girls stable mates you might just have your answer.
They are dropping like flies at Brandt Research, a government-sponsored research facility, so it falls to government agent Neil Agar (William Smith — The Losers, Chrome and Hot Leather, Grave of the Vampire, Scorchy, etc.) to investigate the ever-increasing body count of male researchers and local town’s people — all male!
It is, of course, a diabolical invasion led by the beautiful Dr. Susan Harris (Anitra Ford — The Big Bird Cage, The Longest Yard), who is secretly building an army of human female-bee mutants who drive men to their deaths with their sexual prowess. When Harris tries to mutate Agar’s new love interest, Julie (Victoria Vetri — When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth), it is now or never. So it is bring Harris down and end her plans of world domination, for once the alluring Julie is fully mutated Agar knows that he will be a goner!
Also on the Apr. 11 film restoration list from The Film Detective is director Henry King’s 1934 film adaptation of French writer Jacques Deval’s 1931 novel, Marie Galante, which teamed a pre-MGM Spencer Tracy with French actress Ketti Gallian (a short-lived Hollywood film career included Under the Pampas Moon and smaller parts in Shall We Dance and Kurt Neumann’s 1937 film release of Espionage before returning to France).
The story has Gallian’s character, Marie, accidently kidnapped from her French village, who then travels by steam ship to Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, where she bails. Lost and confused in a strange land, this beautiful waif heads south and eventually ends up in the American-controlled Panama Canal Zone, where she wanders into an international conspiracy.
It’s agent Crawbett (Tracy) to the rescue as he is also onto a plan to trap the American fleet in the canal locks. No one else would believe the ditzy French girl, but he does. Fleet saved!
Also from 1934 is director Frank Strayer’s haunted house mystery, The Ghost Walks, which features the likes of John Miljan (who played Custer in Cecil B. DeMille’s 1936 film release of The Plainsman) and June Collyer (A Face in the Fog, Murder by Television, etc.) in a breezy story that will keep you guessing.
On the Western front on Apr. 11, we have Wagon Wheels (1934, Randolph Scott and Gail Patrick), the Three Mesquiteers ride in Hit the Saddle (1937, Robert Livingston, Max Terhune and Ray “Crash” Corrigan … and Rita Hayworth), Luck of Roaring Camp (also from 1937), In Old Colorado (a 1941 Hopalong Cassidy entry starring William Boyd) and writer/director Alan Le May’s 1950 film release of High Lonesome starring John Drew Barrymore.
Rounding out the selections are the film version of 1932 serial, Hurricane Express, featuring a very young John Wayne, and director John Brahm’s 1944 noirish Guest in the House, starring Anne Baxter and Ralph Bellamy.