The Face of Eve on DVD

Wednesday, 15 June 2016 23:00 Written by 

The Face of Eve out now on DVDMike Yates (Robert Walker Jr) is a pilot and adventurer on the trail of lost Inca treasure in “The Face of Eve”. He goes searching for his business partner, Sean Moore, lost while out in his plane. During the hunt, he is saved from savages by Eve, a beautiful white jungle goddess who wields a strange power over her subjects. Soon, both Yates and Eve are involved in a dangerous race deep in the wilderness to locate the hidden treasure, in this new DVD release from Network.

Christopher Lee and Herbert Lom also feature in this adventure on a budget, but the star is the captivating Celeste Yarnall – to Star Trek fans forever Yeoman Martha Landon from the episode “The Apple”, as well as guesting as Andrea Fouchet in The Man from UNCLE story “The Monks of St Thomas Affair”. She was later immortalised as the blood-thirsty temptress Diane LeFanu in the 1971 cult horror classic “The Velvet Vampire”.  This is Tarzan with curves, in an yarn which has a sub-plot which lets it rise above the standard type of production in this sub-genre.

Mention of Star Trek means we should also turn our attention to the male lead Robert Walker (sometimes with ‘Jr’ on the end), who was the eponymous star of the episode “Charlie X”. He was something of a popular choice for Cult TV shows of the era, appearing in the likes of The Big Valley (“My Son, My Son”), The Time Tunnel (“Billy The Kid”), The Invaders (“Panic”), Bonanza (“The Gentle Ones”), and The FBI (“Quantico” and “The Messenger”).

Parallel to these small screen appearances, it looked like he could have become big at the box office. He looked set for a meteoric rise when he took over Jack Lemmon's Oscar-winning role as seen in the 1955’s “Mister Roberts” with his take in 1964’s “Ensign Pulver”. Critics weren’t impressed, and despite other breakout attempts such as “The Happening”, “The Savage Seven”, and “Killers Three” (all made around the same time as “The Face of Eve”), as well as the title role in “Young Billy Young” opposite Robert Mitchum, nothing really lit the blue touch-paper. However, he was well received when he and his wife Ellie Wood Walker appeared in roles in the 1969 cult film “Easy Rider”.

By the way, Ellie played Diana Prince in a pitch William “Batman ‘66” Dozier put to the networks for a series of Wonder Woman in 1967, entitled “Who’s Afraid of Diana Prince?” at the height of Adam West and Burt Ward’s popularity, although this pilot was more comedy than camp. Unlike the previous year’s The Green Hornet, this idea didn’t get commissioned.

Robert Walker would later go on in the 1970s to guest star in episodes of Columbo (“Mind Over Mayhem”), Cannon (“The Avenger”), The Streets of San Francisco (“The Asylum”), Police Woman (“Tender Soldier”), The Six Million Dollar Man (“Date with Danger” parts 1 and 2), and Charlie’s Angels (“Angels at the Altar”). The 1980s was not much quieter, with roles in CHiPs (“Ice Cream Man”), Matt Houston (“The Outsider”), The Fall Guy (“Boom”), Simon & Simon (“Slither”), Riptide (“The Bargain Department”), Dallas (three episodes as Harding Devers), Dragnet (“Where’s Sadie?”), and Murder She Wrote (“Shear Madness” and “The Corpse Flew First Class”).

Things petered out at the start of the 1990s, with a handful of appearances in the likes of In the Heat of the Night (“An Execution of Trust”), L A Law (“Good to the Last Drop”), The New Lassie (“The Gathering of the Clans”) and FBI: The Untold Stories (“Kill for Love”).

“The Face of Eve” is very much Walker’s vehicle, getting the lion’s share of the screen time, and giving him plenty of emotions to channel through his performance.  

There is a sub-plot to the treasure hunt involving Anna, who is a girl claiming to be Eve (played by Maria Rohn), who is planning to take Christopher Lee’s wheelchair-bound former adventurer Colonel Stuart for everything. Assisting her in her subterfuge is Herbert Lom’s Diego, who knows the truth about what’s actually going on. And later in the day, club owner John Burke (played by Fred Clark) sees a way to exploit the legend of the jungle goddess as the ultimate money-making scheme.

Scripted by legendary British B-movie mogul Harry Alan Towers, the story of who directed it is a little more complicated. Jeremy Summers (Jason King, UFO, The Protectors) took on the footage filmed in Spain, and Robert Lynn (Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, Space: 1999) handled the Second Unit Direction in Brazil.  Despite what is said on Wikipedia, horror director Jesus Franco was not involved in the director duties on the film – this seems to have emanated from a misquote from “Harry Alan Towers: The Transnational Career of a Cinematic Contrarian” by Dave Mann, where there was talk of Franco being drafted in to look after a Towers Fu Manchu movie.

The only issue with this production is that Celeste Yarnall is simply not athletic enough to be believable as a survivor in a jungle. Incredible eye candy undoubtedly, in her lemur skin bikini, but in a far more delicate way than what was really needed (not quite in the Raquel Welch league, which is probably what was being thought about in the original script). Filming wasn’t a pleasant experience for her - she had a bought of dysentery, a host of mosquito bites, and did herself some damage when a branch snapped on a tree she was swinging on. She noted to anyone who would listen that she had never been a ‘tomboy’, having never even climbed a tree before!

According to Dave Mann’s book on Towers, the reason Celeste is absent for a lot of the film is because of financial problems Towers found himself in. She stopped work when the completion guarantor went bankrupt, and Towers had to suspend payments of wages until he lined up another guarantor. Towers did insist in a quote that everybody did agree to continue working on the project, and according to him with Celeste’s manager and husband being more concerned with the credits then, if they could finish the film.

The solitary special feature on this DVD is an image gallery, featuring 29 pictures of mainly the various international posters for the film, which had various titles, one of which was “Hula Hula” and another which changed the female star’s character name to Diana!

“The Face of Eve” is presented here in a brand-new transfer from the original film elements in its as-exhibited theatrical aspect ratio. It is part of ‘The British Film’ collection which was launched by Network Distributing as part of a plan to release over 450 vintage British films through a deal with Studiocanal. Titles include works from studios including Associated Talking Pictures, Ealing Studios, London Films, British Lion, Associated British Picture Corporation and EMI.

“The Face of Eve” is out now on DVD courtesy of Network.  It has a ‘PG’ certificate, a running time of 92 minutes approx, and a RRP of £9.99, or get it for less at


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