An evocation of America in several senses, the earliest and most immediate as well as the later, more abstract.
The bare scenery is a cue to the symbolic action building up pictures of freedmen and wanted men and firstcomers and slavemasters and lackeys and Godfearing men and Puritans and persimmon beer and the New England Primer and Stede Bonnet (James Mason, whose autobiographical estimation of Hero’s Island as “almost very good” is a producer’s reflection on the outlay).
Since there is hardly more to it than actors embodying the screenplay on location (representing Bull Island, Carolina, 1718), they severely express the conditions of the time and place (Kate Manx, Warren Oates, Rip Torn, Robert Sampson, Neville Brand).
The Galaxy Being
The Outer Limits
A speculation on the workaday world, what if the little Top Ten radio station had something else to broadcast, a genius (Cliff Robertson) with the transmitter, what would you have?
A monster from outer space, a Fifties sci-fi movie, even the Army.
The events described are the attack of a succubus, the man’s love in return, the vengeance of an incubus upon the man’s sister, the fight against the incubus, and the love of the succubus for the man.
The poetic script is entirely rendered in Esperanto, recalling Cocteau’s Œdipus Rex translated into Latin for Stravinsky.
The cinematography matches the text in beauty and force. William Shatner leads the cast in fine performances correctly keyed to both.
Varied accents among the players lend a further division to the prismatic universal language that generates a sense of abstracted locality around Mission San Antonio and the California coast.
Stevens’ excellent direction concentrates the wide screen and color of Hero’s Island with its complex historical imagery and largely denuded pictures into dense rich chiaroscuro emulating the effect of films by several European and Scandinavian directors (even the Russians), and subtitled accordingly.