Sunday, 12 June 2011

Trader Hornee (1970)

Trader Hornee, released in 1970, is fairly typical of the sexploitation movies David F. Friedman was making around that time. A mix of silly but oddly engaging humour and copious nudity and with a suitably outlandish plot holding it all together.

Hamilton Hornee (pronounced Horn as the e’s are silent) is a private eye, and business is not exactly thriving. He’s prepared to take any job that’s offered and jumps at an assignment to go to Africa to look for a missing heiress. She’s been missing for about twenty years, along with her missionary parents.

Hamilton and his faithful assistant and girlfriend Jane set off into the steamy jungles.

They are accompanied by two of the missing girl’s relatives, Max and Doris Matthews (whose main interest is to make sure the young woman isn’t found so they’ll inherit her fortune instead), a scientist named Stanley Livingston who hopes to find the legendary white gorilla known as Nabucco, and a slightly oversexed journalist named Tender Lee. They have as their guide the less-than-intrepid Kenya Adler.

They hear rumours of a beautiful white princess. Could this be the missing girl?

It’s all pretty tame, and must have been so at the time. But it’s actually a rather good-natured movie and it’s amusingly non-PC. Deek Sills, in her one and only film role, makes a suitably bodacious white princess. The acting is over-the-top which is really the only way to approach this sort of material. Julie Conners is particularly good as Jane.

There’s lots of stock footage of course and that’s the only footage that remotely resembles Africa. Again it just adds to the fun.

Dave Friedman wrote the script for this one as well as producing (and even acts in a cameo role). Friedman was one of the great characters of the exploitation movie business and his immensely entertaining autobiography A Youth in Babylon is essential reading.

Hardly a classic but if you’re in the mood you’ll get a giggle out of it.

Rather surprisingly this movie actually got a Region 4 DVD release.

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