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The Golden Goddess of Rio Beni

(Lost on the Amazon)

Director: Eugene Martin
Screenplay: Gustav Kampendonck, Eugene Martin
Camera team: Paul Soulignac, Mel Sanjuan
Sets: Wolfgang Burmann
Costumes: Josef Sparz
Head of Production: Franz Thierry
Producer: Dr. Alfons Carcasona

Jim, Chief pilot of the
  Amazon Oil Company
Pierre Brice
Tom, his friendHarald Juhnke
Bernard, a drinker and
  friend of the Indios
René Deltgen
Dinah, his wifeEmma Penella
Jeff, an adventurer Sand
  captain of an Amazon boat
Hans von Borsody
Aloa, a white girl in the jungleGillian Hill

and others

The Plot

The management of the Amazon Oil Company decides in view of the rainy season just starting to break off the 14-day unsuccessful search for the lost plane that has apparently had to make an emergency landing in the Amazon region. A radio message from headquarters calls the searchplanes back to their bases. Jim and Tom who just happen to be over the Green Hell of Rio Beni protest against the order. But without success. So they start to prepare a rescue expedition of their own, in order to help their friend and colleague, Harry.

They travel up the Amazon in a motorboat driven by a dubious character called Jeff until they come to a village on the edge of the jungle which is supposed to mark the starting point for the search. The only clue which Jim has is a hand-drawn map which was found in Harry’s flat and containing mysterious hints at the location of a Golden Goddess of Rio Beni . Although Jim does not believe in the existence of such a treasure despite reports from the time of the Spanish conquistadors referring to it, he establishes that particularly in this area there are numerous adventurers hanging around whose ambitions of finding the gold in the God-forsaken village drove them there. Jim and Tom who obviously are suspected of being after the treasure do not deny it, because they hope that this will make it easier to find men willing to help them on their expedition.

In a shop also serving as the bar in the area known as Centro Comercial, where Jim and Tom stock up on provisions, they become involved in a fight with two undesirable characters Trent and Snake, who try to steal a talisman made of precious stones from the young Indio Ary. The pianist Bernhard, who has taken to drink following a severe illness, and his wife Dinah come out openly on the side of the two friends. Jim and Tom manage by force of strength to make their opponents see sense.

And who would have guessed that it is just these two Trent and Snake who apply to accompany them for the sum of 200 Dollars. Together with Captain Jeff who also wants to join them, they suspect that the two fliers are after the Golden Goddess.

Even Dinah who has a command of the local Indio dialect from working for years on the Indio Aid Organisation and her husband want to join the expedition. And so it evolves that the very mixed bag of people each with their own motive for participating sets off into the Green Hell .

Using several boats they first head off further upriver. It is not long before a huge waterfall prevents them from continuing further. The young Indio Ary, who has followed Jim and Tom out of gratitude for what they did for him, helps as skilful guide to overcome the waterfall. Under tremendous suffering through the heat, mosquitoes, snakes and constant thirst, the expedition makes its way through the jungle. At a clearing, several young Indio women appear and they are seen by Jeff and Snake as a welcome distraction and promptly start to annoy them. When Jim intervenes enabling the women to flee, there appears a large number of heavily-armed Chayenga warriors who have rushed to the scene upon hearing the calls for help by the women. The group is taken captive by the Indios and brought before the tribal chieftain who calls for restitution following the insult to their womenfolk. Jim in his role as leader and Jeff the main culprit are forced to fight one another to the death. The weapons chosen by the chieftain are poisonous snakes. Against a magnificent background ringed by fire, the deadly fight starts. Using every means of cunning and cheating, Jeff tries to win the fight for himself. Jim cleverly manages to counter Jeff s attacks, until he manages to dodge the snake thrown at him by Jeff leaving Jeff helpless on the ground. Undecided, Jim stands above his opponent on the ground. Should he kill him as the chieftain had ordered? At this moment the daughter of the chieftain appears and requests her father to have the fight stopped. She has long, blond hair, blue eyes and white skin. Her name is Aloa.

The fight is ended. Jim explains to the chieftain the purpose of his expedition. Through him he discovers that in the vicinity of the neighbouring tribe, a large burning bird had been seen falling from the sky a short time ago. However, the neighbouring tribe belongs to the still existent wild head-hunters so there is very little hope that they will manage to find their friend alive.

The re-establishment of friendship is celebrated by the Chayengas with a big festivity during which Jim dances with Aloa. Through this dance Jim unwarily enters into a bond which according to the customs of the tribe is equivalent to an engagement for marriage. Refusal to accept the fiancee would be equal to a deadly offence, so Jim sees himself forced to take along with him his bride and several Chayenga tribesmen offered to him by the chieftain for protection. Albeit the company of the young woman is quite pleasant. It also becomes apparent that she is the daughter of a German doctor and his wife who had been killed in the region several years previously. The child was brought up by the chieftain of the Chayenga.

On route to the head-hunters, the group comes across a village of the dead. Here in an urn, Jim finds several objects from amongst the possessions of his lost friend Harry. In spite of this he decides to continue the expedition to make absolutely sure. Jeff, Trent and Snake now decide that the moment is ideal, having stolen Harry s map, to detach themselves from the group to look for the “Golden Goddess”. But they are overcome by the scream of the warriors and an attack by the head-hunters. There is now an almighty fight during which Jeff, Trent and Snake manage to overcome Aloa and to make off with her. During their escape, they come across a worshipping place of the head-hunters and the statue of the Golden Goddess. Using a stretcher, they drag the gold down to the river, but constantly feel the presence of their pursuers whose shrine they had stolen. Each of the three finds his death in a gruesome trap. Aloa finishes up in captivity with the head-hunters.

In the meantime, Jim and his friends are able to free themselves from the clutches of their attackers. At the village of the head-hunters a chance emerges to free Aloa. In a hut they also find the almost starved and sickly-looking pilot Harry. During the escape from the hostile Indios, Bernhard who up to the last had felt like the friend of all Indios, is mortally wounded by arrows. It is almost a sacrificial death, because he manages to render safe a dangerous charge of explosive which otherwise would have cost many of the head-hunters their lives. In recognition of Bernhard s deed, they allow the white men to move on in peace.