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DVD Review: Lost Lagoon

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Just a few years before he teamed up with fellow filmmaker Max Rosenberg to form Amicus Productions — to wit they produced a number of memorable anthology horror flicks in the ‘60s and ‘70s — Milton Subotsky wrote a modest little screenplay about a man that gets washed overboard during a storm, only to start life anew on a small island in the Bahamas. After being adapted by director John Rawlins, Lost Lagoon went into production with B-Movie actor Jeffrey Lynn (who is also credited with “additional dialogue”) in the lead as Charlie Walker.

Charlie’s a regular businessman whose responsibilities in life are beginning to supersede his life itself. One night, after a powerful storm knocks Charlie into the sea. Washing ashore a small inhabited island in the Bahamas, Mr. Walker is nursed back to health by an attractive young slightly-handicapped local lass named Elizabeth (Leila Barry). Elizabeth is all alone in the world following the death of her grandfather — whom she had started up a (failed) resort with — and the sudden departure of her now ex-boyfriend. Within a few days, Charlie realizes that his new island life is much more peaceful, but returns to the States nonetheless — only to discover that his wife (Jane Hartley) and brother-in-law (Roger Clark) believe him to be dead.

Worse still, Charlie discovers that his presence really isn’t missed by anyone. Deciding to leave his old life behind for good, Charlie returns to the island and helps Elizabeth (whom he has more than a little crush on) to re-open the resort with his brother-in-law’s money; an idea that proves to be successful. They even open up their own gay bar. No, seriously: the lounge they have has a sign hanging outside of it that reads “Gay Bar” (my, how times have changed!). It’s all for naught, sadly, when an insurance investigator (Don Gibson) locates the believed-to-be-deceased man. Will Charlie go back to his old life, or stay on the island? And how will the sudden arrival of Elizabeth’s ex-boyfriend (Peter Donat) change things between our newfound couple?

Lost Lagoon’s script is a well-written one, and presents us with an all-too-realistic (if decidedly dramatic and with too much calypso music) account of that mid-life crisis so many people go through. But, since this is a B-Movie in every sense, most of the acting isn’t up to par. When Don Gibson first pops up on-screen, he looks directly into the camera’s lens as he delivers his line (did William “One-Shot” Beaudine stop in to direct a scene?). Not surprisingly enough — according to the IMDb, anyhow — several of the film’s supporting actors (mainly the actresses) here never did anything prior to this production or went on to do anything else for that matter.

Those flaws, however, do not prevent Lost Lagoon from being enjoyable: it still has that amiable late-night TV quality to it. And, were it not for MGM’s line of Limited Edition Collection manufactured-on-demand DVD-Rs, those of us who aren’t immune to Lost Lagoon’s low-budget charms might actually have had to continuously watch late-night TV just to see it. Culled from the best source material available, Lost Lagoon makes its way-overdue home video debut in a better-than-average widescreen transfer (which looks like it’s framed at about 1.66:1) with a decent accompanying mono soundtrack. Interestingly enough, the photo on the back of the DVD cover is from another movie altogether, The Killer Is Loose.

The only bonus material to be found with this release is an old beat-up theatrical trailer that’ll make you appreciate the feature film’s presentation that much more.

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About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has watched so many weird movies since the tender age of 3 that a conventional life is out of the question. He currently lives in Chico, CA with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Seriously.
  • sburns54

    The sign didn’t say “Gay Bar”, it said CAY bar! A cay is a small island (like a “key” as in Key West- now if the movie was set in Key West, THEN “Gay bar” would be more applicable!). There are many islands in the bahamas with “Cay” in their name.
    Nice review of an unpretentious little film- about the only thing of substance on the whole internet about Leila Barry or “Lost lagoon”. I’m intrigued by the fact that she only made one movie, there is no bio or any info on Ms. Barry available, although she seems to have done one play on Broadway and some acting in Broadway touring companies.
    Kind of haunting- she seems to have slipped through the cracks of time. I hope she had a nice life and found her own lost lagoon.