The Film Detective announced five new film restorations for the collectible DVD market place over the July 4th holiday week … street date for these will be on July 11.
Legendary filmmaker — director, writer and producer – Roger Corman is in the lead position with one of his early directing assignments, She Gods of Shark Reef. The production was the second half a month-long gig in Hawaii in 1956 that saw Corman deliver Naked Paradise (with Beverly Garland and Richard Denning) and Shark Reef, starring Bill Cord and Don Durant as brothers on lam, who get shipwrecked on an island full of beautiful women (Lisa Montell among them).
The former, Naked Paradise, was released theatrically in 1957, but Shark Reef found no takers. In the meantime, Corman delivered a string of hits, which included It Conquered the World, Not of this Earth (once again with the incredible Beverly Garland), Attack of the Crab Monsters and Machine-Gun Kelly (with a young Charles Bronson) and then in 1958 Nicholson and Arkoff over at American International Pictures needed a second feature to go with director Bernard L. Kowalski’s Night of the Blood Beast (produced by Corman) and so they bought Shark Reef and spiced it up a tad by adding “She Gods” to the title.
She Gods of Shark Reef is born, arrives in theatres (mainly drive-ins) in the summer of 1958 and gets tagged for all time as something of a horror film, but it’s actually an adventure film with scantily clad women. For Corman fans, this is a keeper.
Also heading to the collector’s market on July 11 is director Albert Parker’s 1927 silent film, The Love of Sunya, produced and starring Gloria Swanson as Sunya Ashling, as a dead Egyptian maiden, whose soul inhabits a young woman faced with many choices … the priest (John Boles), who wronged her, is reincarnated as something of a footloose and fancy free fortune teller, who finds her in the present day and grants her three visions of her future (each choice that she is faced with).
It is an interesting film in the lexicon of Swanson’s starring roles — not really a financial success — in that the troubles with the production aspects of The Love of Sunya proved to be far more valuable — something like a doctorate-level education — to the aspiring producer and film star. Her next film was director Raoul Walsh’s Sadie Thompson, which earned her first of three Best Actress nominations (The Trespasser and Sunset Blvd.).
Rounding out the July 11 quintet of film restorations heading to the DVD marketplace from The Film Detective are director Christy Cabanne’s 1932 film release of Hearts of Humanity (starring Jean Hersholt), Lucky Ghost (1942 with Mantan Moreland) and Randy Rides Alone (1934 John Wayne B-Western, directed by Harry Fraser and co-starring Gabby Hayes, Yakima Canutt and Alberta Vaughn).