The aging freighter Corita starts its journey from Freetown to Caracas with an illustrious crowd of passengers leaving Africa with different motivations. Eva Peters has stolen a bond to pay a ransom for her kidnapped son. Lawyer Ricaldi follows her to get the bond back. Dr. Webster is accompanied by his daughter Unity and is wanted for illegally performing abortions. Alcoholic Harry Tyler is on the run as a convict and Captain Lansen tries to get a little extra cash for his retirement by smuggling the highly explosive phosphorus B. In addition to internal fights and a failed mutiny attempt, the freighter is caught in a storm that drives it into an area contaminated by mysterious algae, where huge monsters are at work. Further danger is posed by a Spanish galley, from which troops are sent out to take over the ship from Lansen. As it turns out, the galley has been stuck in the algae for many centuries. The survivors have developed a cult based on the Spanish Inquisition and are led by the childish leader El Supremo. Lansen and his crew take up the fight.
The Last Continent is a co-production by Hammer Films and Seven Arts, based on Dennis Wheatley's novel Uncharted Seas. Leslie Norman was supposed to direct it, but he was soon replaced by producer Michael Carreras, who then directed it himself. When the production was over budget, it was finished by Hammer boss James Carreras. The result is a somewhat unusual film, which at the beginning lives mainly from its human dramas. As soon as the greedy algae appear, the horror aspects dominate with partly curious ideas. For example, the Spaniards walk over the dense net of algae with huge balloons attached to their bodies. The strange rites performed by the members of the Spanish Inquisition, led by a child who himself only acts as a puppet. Especially the last part of the film would have had a lot of potential for expansion. The cuddly giant monsters and Dana Gillespie's somewhat too revealing outfit let the film quickly slide onto the trash area. Despite the somewhat unbalanced structure and several trashy scenes, The Last Continent is very entertaining.
US theatrical version and extended cut included on US Blu-ray
On the US Blu-ray, there is a 10-minute extended cut in addition to the theatrical version, in which various plot scenes have been reintegrated into the film. The love scene between Unity and the scene in which Lansen caught naked Eva in her cabin were probably cut just like the torture scene on board the Spanish galley to get a lower rating. The remaining cuts can be traced back to plot tightening. The new footage of the extended cut was reintegrated into the HD Master from a worse SD source. So it seems that only the shorter theatrical version had an HD master available. When the passengers want to leave the ship by means of the dinghy, whereby Tony is squeezed in by a winch, a cut follows the screaming women (time stamp approx. [00:27:56][00:31:21]). This cut to the women was inserted in the theatrical version as well as in the extended cut from the SD source.
Both the US DVD by Anchor Bay and the German DVD by Anolis from the Hammer Edition already contain the Extended Cut. The Blu-ray now offers the possibility to watch the shorter theatrical version for the first time.
The theatrical version was compared to the extended cut.
Runtimes: Theatrical version: 87:04 min. / Extended: 97:04 min.
After the first meeting there is a little more dialogue between Eva and Webster.
Eva: "Was that your daughter who just left?"
Webster: "Unity is a delicate child. The motion of the boat is inclined to upset her. She needs to find her sea legs, you might say."
The next scene shows Unity in bed with Tony. She bites his ear.
Tony: "Little hellcat."
They continue kissing.
Tony: "Hey, look at the time, I must go."
Unity: "Not yet, Tony, not yet."
Tony: "I must."
Unity: "Don't look so mad, darling. I'll be back."
Unity: "You better."
An exterior shot of the ship can be seen.
EXT: 1:05 min.
After the captain orders the passengers to be questioned, a new scene follows. Hemmings and Lansen warn the passengers of the imminent hurricane.
Hemmings: "This was not an ordinary weather report. It was a hurricane warning. Hurricane warnings are extremely accurate. They know exactly the force of the wind, the direction it's taking and its speed. There is no maring for error. I don't suppose any of you have ever been at sea when the wind blows at 100 miles an hour. It's very frightening."
Lansen: "And dangerous."
Hemmings: "In a well found ship of course, it's not too much of a problem."
Lansen: "But this isn't a well found ship."
Webster: "You didn't tell us that when you accepted our passage."
Lansen: "Would it have made any difference, Dr. Webster? Carry on, Mr. Hemmings."
Hemmings: "Well as the Captain has said, the Corita is not in every respect."
Ext: 53 sec.
After Hemmings tells the passengers that they are all crazy, he goes back on deck. On the way, he meets a group of sailors who alert him that there are apparently explosives on board. Hemmings wants to take care of it.
Bosun: "Mr. Hemmings."
Hemmings: "Well, what is it?"
Bosun: "Can we have a word with you a moment, sir?"
Hemmings: "What do you want?"
Bosun: "We've just found out we're carrying high explosives."
Hemmings: "Who told you that?"
Bosun: "The Captain. Well, not in so many words. He also told us in no uncertain words be bloody careful of those drums we're carrying in the four peak store."
Matrose: "And he didn't deny it when we asked him."
Hemmings: "So we're carrying a little explosive. What about it?"
Matrose: "It's illegal, what's what about it, sir."
Bosun: "He also told us to keep it dry."
Bosun: "In this tub? What happens if we hit rough weather?"
Hemmings: "All right, I'll look into it. I'll have a word with the skipper."
Matrose: "He didn't know either."
Bosun: "What does on in this bloody ship?"
Ext: 52 sec.
After the damage to the pump has been determined, a new scene follows in which Lansen informs the passengers. Hemmings shows up agitated to inform Lansen about the danger, but he pushes him out the door.
Kellner: "Coffee, ma'am?"
Eva: "Right away."
Lansen: "I must apologize for the breakdown of the generator. We're doing our best to put it right."
Harry: "Oh was that playing the bongos just, now Captain?"
Lansen: "That's aloose oil drum. It hauled itself overboard."
Hemmings enters the room.
Hemmings: "Generator's blown up. We haven't got any power for the pumps!"
Lansen: "I thank you Mr. Hemmings, I'll see to it."
Hemmings: "You don't understand. The anchor has busted a bloody great hole in the..."
Lansen hits him in the face.
Lansen pushes Hemmings out. Webster gets up.
Kellner: "Coffee, Doctor."
Lansen talks to Hemmings outside the door.
Lansen: "What kind of an officer are you? You wanna start a panic? Now get below and keep that pump working. Soon as the level's low enough, repair the damage."
Ext: 36 sec.
A new scene follows after the arrival on the ship. Pat serves Eva something to drink.
Pat: "There you are, miss."
Harry enters the room.
Eva: "Morning, Harry. Did you sleep well?"
Harry: "No, not really."
Eva: "Will you join me? Vodka and tomato juice."
Pat: "It's called a Bloody Mary sir, if you'll excuse the expression."
Harry: "No, just coffee for me please."
Pat: "I see. Well that's another good man lost to the cause."
Harry: "I may be lost to the cause, Pat, but after your behavior last night I should think we've got a very good new member."
Pat: "Sir. I rather got the flavor for it over the last few days, sir."
Harry: "What happened, Pat? Why didn't you get into the lifeboat?"
Pat: "Well I felt safer on here, sir. The old Corita has always been very lucky to me."
Eva: "Must be very comforting."
Pat: "It is, Ma'am. On a voyage like this. Well I better get the breakfast. There's bacon."
Ext: 1:12 min.
After the scene with Harry and Unity at breakfast, Ricaldi knocks on Eva's door.
Eva: "Come in."
Ricaldi: I've thought of what we talked about and I agree."
Eva: "To what?"
Ricaldi: "50 percent of what you got in there. And I'll say I never found you."
Eva: "I was thinking of 20."
Ricaldi: "Silence is a very expensive commodity."
Ricaldi: 50. And the bonus."
Eva:" What bonus?"
Ricaldi: "The one you promised."
Eva: "When does that become due?"
Ricaldi: "Now. Let's dance."
An exterior shot of the ship can be seen.
Lansen is reading a book in his cabin.
He goes downstairs and sees Ricaldi coming out of Eva's cabin.
Ricaldi: "Good evening, Captain."
Lansen's knocking at Eva's door.
He opens the door and sees her naked on the bed. He throws the booklet to her and leaves. Then he seems to think of something.
Ext: 2:12 min.
After the men marched back to the Spanish ship, a new scene follows. During a mass, a man is tortured on a stretching bench. The leader of the men is pushed forward.
Ext: 38 sec.
After the group has entered the cave on the island, Pat takes his position for the first watch.
Sarah strokes Harry's face and wakes him up.
Harry: "Why did you run away from us?
Sarah: "I have a responsibility to my people. They will be worried about me."
Harry: "They'd done the same for you?"
Sarah: "Of course. Isn't it always so?"
Harry: "I'm afraid not."
Sarah: "But if it wasn't always so, many of us will have no one to worry or to care about. And that would be terrible."
Harry: "Yes, it is."
They kiss each other.
Ext: 1:39 min.
After the monsters attack, there is a new scene on the ship. Lansen and Eva are talking about the supplies on board, then the conversation turns to Eva's son.
Eva: "We cut down to half rations, it should be enough to last us for six days."
Lansen: "Cut down to a quarter, that way we can last 12."
Eva: "And then?"
Lansen: "We go hungry. That is if they don't get us first."
Eva: "If it wasn't for my son I wouldn't care. Doesn't seem much point anymore, does there?"
Lansen: "What would happen to him?"
Eva: "I don't know. I don't know. He has no one."
Lansen takes Eva in his arms. Then there' s a fade to the picture of Eva' s son.
Ext: 54 sec.