Review of Paradisio

Paradisio (1962)
2/10
A Modest And Somewhat Innocent Piece, Quite A Palatable Effort Of Its Kind, Easily Digested, And Promptly Forgotten.
5 September 2013
Within the course of this solidly carpentered work, six colleagues of the film's protagonist, Professor Sims of Oxford (Arthur Howard, brother of Leslie) are murdered. These dire acts afford no complications for lighthearted Sims, as this is not a mystery story, but rather an international and mildly racy travelogue, with its focus upon European scenic beauty, and also upon a raft of partially undressed young women. These latter serve to classify the film as one among that briefly popular "nudie cutie" cinema phenomenon of 1959/60. Obviously straitened by a small budget, the picture's producers decided that attractive scenery of the film's many geographic locales was of more significance than a plot that is handicapped by thin writing and acting. Professor Sims fortunately retains possession of a pair of sunglasses that were willed to him by the initial murder victim, and he seldom misses an opportunity to scrutinise a pretty damsel through them, because the spectacles magically enable their wearer to ogle people beneath their clothing. The nudity seen therein is not what has become accepted as "explicit" (full-frontal), but the employment of what are obviously hand-held cameras throughout the film results in a mode of cinematic resolution that was lapped up by audiences of the period. Although most of the action is shot in black and white, the unclothed portions are seen through the use of vibrant coloured stock. This was originally issued in "3D", but the only spectacles required for viewers are those that vicariously rest upon the face of Professor Sims. The mentioned six homicides are lost amidst the resplendent scenic attractions of, respectively, Oxford, Berlin, Munich, Paris, Venice, and the French Riviera, with each site notable for its artificial energy, used here by Howard in an attempt to bolster wretched material. Finally, in spite of the diversity offered by appealing locations and ladies, and the mystifying nature of the sunglasses, we are left, with what shall be considered to many viewers a rather silly affair, and Howard at his silliest, a film wherein female beauty and captivating scenery cannot effectively substitute for a plot line.
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