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 TERMINAL ISLAND (1973), New on DVD from Code Red
Marty McKee
Posted: Sep 15 2010, 09:30 PM


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TERMINAL ISLAND (1973)--Directed by Stephanie Rothman. Stars Don Marshall, Phyllis Davis, Barbara Leigh, Sean Kenney, Roger E. Mosley, Tom Selleck, Marta Kristen, Geoffrey Deuel, Randy Boone, Albert Cole, James Whitworth, Frank Christi, Clyde Ventura, Jo Morrow, Richard Stahl. Seven years before MAGNUM, P.I. premiered on CBS, Tom Selleck and his co-star Roger E. Mosley (T.C.) appeared together in TERMINAL ISLAND. The director was Stephanie Rothman, who made this highly entertaining drive-in picture for Dimension Pictures, the studio she helped found with her husband, producer Charles S. Swartz, and former Roger Corman colleague Lawrence Woolner.

Selleck, who plays a doper doctor convicted of a mercy killing, has poked fun at TERMINAL ISLAND on talk shows, but he appears to be a good sport about it, and, really, he has no reason to be ashamed of it. It bears an outrageous premise, and dishes out steady portions of nudity and violence, but with an offbeat feminist twist. Itís close, but not exactly a women-in-prison picture, and since Rothman is the director, the misogyny and meanspiritedness often found in the genre are absent.

In addition to Selleck and Mosley, the cast is packed with familiar faces, many from television shows future and past, that provide the loony premise with credibility. After the death penalty is rescinded in California, convicted murderers are sent to an island to serve their life sentences. There are no guards or walls, and the prisoners (male and female) are free to set up camp, grow their own food, and fend for themselves.

The prisoners have split into two camps: one sadistic, led by the vicious Monk (Mosley) and Bobby (Sean Kenney), in which the women are used as sex slaves, and one peaceful, led by A.J. (LAND OF THE GIANTSí Don Marshall). Phyllis Davis (VEGA$), Marta Kristen (LOST IN SPACE), Barbara Leigh (THE STUDENT NURSES), and Ena Hartman (DAN AUGUST) are the women who escape to A.J.ís side, which spurs guerrilla warfare between the two sides.

Rothmanís direction is not clever, but itís colorful, sharply paced, and delivers the action with tongue slightly in cheek. Shot (almost?) entirely on location in Malibu and on the Paramount Ranch, TERMINAL ISLAND is silly, lively fun, despite its faults.

The script by Rothman, Swartz, and James Barnett (DEATH AT LOVE HOUSE) is oddly structured, as it starts out from the point of view of the Hartman character, but switches its focus to Kenney and Marshall, and then finally makes Selleck the hero at the end of the movie. The schizophrenic music score, credited to Michael Andres, rarely fits the action, though it admittedly matches Rothmanís comic-book tone. The bizarre country song performed under the opening titles does neither.

Rothman directed only one more film after TERMINAL ISLAND, the sex comedy THE WORKING GIRLS, though she did write the screenplay for another comedy, STARHOPS, which was directed by Barbara Peeters (SUMMER SCHOOL TEACHERS). Itís interesting that the two filmmakers would be drawn together, as Rothman and Peeters were among the few woman directors working in exploitation movies during the 1970s and almost certainly the best. By the time STARHOPS was made, Rothman and Swartz had left their executive positions with Dimension.

Code Redís DVD of TERMINAL ISLAND is the best the picture has ever looked on home video. In fact, the source print is a 35mm master belonging to Stephanie Rothman. The chief extra is a scene-specific audio commentary reuniting Marshall and Kenney and moderated (moderately) by William Olsen and filmmaker Scott Spiegel (INTRUDER). Unfortunately, the four spend the first five minutes trying to identify character actor Richard Stahl, even to the point of wondering if heís Albert Cole. If youíre moderating a commentary track of a picture like TERMINAL ISLAND, you need to be able to know who Richard Stahl, who isnít exactly an obscure performer, is.

Marshall and Kenney also sit for lengthy on-camera interviews in which they talk about other projects, in addition to TERMINAL ISLAND. Phyllis Davis appears via telephone only for a brief chat. Code Red has also included a full-frame TERMINAL ISLAND trailer, as well as previews of several other Ď70s drive-in flicks that may or may not receive Code Red releases. Also, props to Code Red for dressing the DVD box with the filmís original arresting poster art.


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Patrick Lefcourt
Posted: Sep 15 2010, 10:41 PM


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QUOTE (Marty McKee @ Sep 16 2010, 03:30 AM)
Rothman directed only one more film after TERMINAL ISLAND, the sex comedy THE WORKING GIRLS, though she did write the screenplay for another comedy, STARHOPS, which was directed by Barbara Peeters (SUMMER SCHOOL TEACHERS). ItÔŅĹs interesting that the two filmmakers would be drawn together, as Rothman and Peeters were among the few woman directors working in exploitation movies during the 1970s and almost certainly the best. By the time STARHOPS was made, Rothman and Swartz had left their executive positions with Dimension.

Rothman explained the whole STARHOPS mess over at AV Maniacs a month or two back. She took a pseudonym, and she really doesn't want her name associated with it.

http://www.avmaniacs.com/forums/showpost.p...361&postcount=7



This post has been edited by Patrick Lefcourt on Sep 15 2010, 10:41 PM
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Marc McCloud
Posted: Sep 16 2010, 11:18 AM


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Marty, I got these for my stores but didn't put them on the shelves due to the reviews on Amazon. Is this a complete print of the film?

Great review btw. I can't wait to see it.
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John Charles
Posted: Sep 16 2010, 12:49 PM


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The Amazon reviews complaining about a censored version are dated 2005 and 2008.
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Marc McCloud
Posted: Sep 16 2010, 12:59 PM


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QUOTE (John Charles @ Sep 16 2010, 12:49 PM)
The Amazon reviews complaining about a censored version are dated 2005 and 2008.

I saw the dates, but just want to make sure. Looks complete to me...
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Marty McKee
Posted: Sep 16 2010, 07:09 PM


Mobian Idol


Group: Moderators
Posts: 7,998
Member No.: 19
Joined: 17-October 04



QUOTE (Marc McCloud @ Sep 16 2010, 12:18 PM)
Marty, I got these for my stores but didn't put them on the shelves due to the reviews on Amazon. Is this a complete print of the film?

Great review btw. I can't wait to see it.

Those reviews must be referring to the bootleg DVDs that Amazon used to stop. The Code Red DVD is the R-rated cut with bloody squibs and bare breasts.


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Wade Sowers
Posted: Sep 18 2010, 01:24 PM


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. . . I have no idea if this Code Red DVD is complete, but it would seem everything you would expect to find in an exploitation movie about men and women prisoners running around half-dressed/undressed killing each other on a place called TERMINAL ISLAND is certainly there . . . after reading about this one for years and years, it was a pleasure to finally see it and to find that it is well worth the wait - nice transfer (a bit soft, but I am sure we are lucky to have this fine a print) of an excellent genre movie . . .

This post has been edited by Wade Sowers on Sep 18 2010, 01:29 PM
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Marc McCloud
Posted: Sep 19 2010, 11:14 AM


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I guess this is the first time that I've noticed Amazon reviews that don't apply to a specific release of a movie. Is this common practice and I wonder if Code Red can perhaps get them removed. I'm sure I'm not the only person who was fooled by this.
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Marty McKee
Posted: Sep 19 2010, 12:17 PM


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Group: Moderators
Posts: 7,998
Member No.: 19
Joined: 17-October 04



QUOTE (Marc McCloud @ Sep 19 2010, 12:14 PM)
I guess this is the first time that I've noticed Amazon reviews that don't apply to a specific release of a movie. Is this common practice and I wonder if Code Red can perhaps get them removed. I'm sure I'm not the only person who was fooled by this.

Like the IMDb, I rarely pay attention to Amazon reviews anyway. I find 3/4 of them have no idea what they're talking about.

What does everyone else think? IMDb and Amazon reviewers: credible or no?


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Brian Camp
Posted: Sep 19 2010, 12:58 PM


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QUOTE (Marty McKee @ Sep 19 2010, 12:17 PM)
Like the IMDb, I rarely pay attention to Amazon reviews anyway. I find 3/4 of them have no idea what they're talking about.

What does everyone else think? IMDb and Amazon reviewers: credible or no?

I review a lot for Amazon but I make it a rule to only review the exact edition being sold on the page. If I have a different edition, I don't do it. A significant number of other reviewers don't seem to care. Also, the number of reviewers who state, "I haven't seen this yet," at the start of their review is mind-boggling. On IMDB, you get a lot of people reviewing something they haven't seen since childhood and wondering if there's any way to find it to see again.

I started reviewing regularly for IMDB back in 2001 because there were no comments for most of the kung fu films I was immersing myself in back then. So I would generally be the first with a comment. Years later, many of them still only have my review up. I keep urging Marty to review for IMDB. He has covered tons of titles for Mobius over the years that, when he first wrote about them, had no comments up on IMDB. Your reviews would get a bigger readership that way, Marty.



This post has been edited by Brian Camp on Sep 19 2010, 01:01 PM


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Wade Sowers
Posted: Sep 19 2010, 01:06 PM


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Posts: 1,974
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QUOTE (Brian Camp @ Sep 19 2010, 12:58 PM)
I review a lot for Amazon but I make it a rule to only review the exact edition being sold on the page. If I have a different edition, I don't do it. A significant number of other reviewers don't seem to care.

. . . well, Brian, you are obviously in the 1/4 Marty was not talking about - by the way, have you ever noticed if your review for ar DVD has been automatically carried over to a subsequent release? I suspect this might be happening if the review is tired to a movie's title by the Amazon computer . . . I have read a few Amazon reviews and they are obviously talking about a release other then the later one they are currently tied to (the couple I have checked are also still listed among the reviews of the old release) . . .

This post has been edited by Wade Sowers on Sep 19 2010, 01:13 PM
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