Monday, January 4, 2010

Martine Beswick’s Nupondi: One You Might Have Saved

Over at the fab Arbogast on Film, back in the ancient year of 2008,
a sort-of semi-reoccurring feature/call-for-a-blogathon got started:
One You Might Have Saved.

This refers to a supporting or minor character in a film (usually of the genre variety) who gets killed, that you, as an audience member, have for some reason liked (had empathy for; an attraction for; etc.), and are sad to see go.

For example, in the one and only original The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, the novice conductor gunned down by Robert Shaw as retribution for the failed police sniper attack—when I was a kid and saw Pelham for the first time, I was shocked and very saddened. I was used to cinematic slaughter, but that death seemed so wrong.
And it was a moment of, gosh, I wish I could’ve helped that guy get away.

A more well-known (or infamous) “One You Might Have Saved” might be Marge (Martha Swatek) in Jaws 2. She’s the cute tomboy who took charge and wore those sexy aquatic workgloves, and because she’s so cool, she saves one of the Brody brats instead of herself—and gets eaten for her troubles.

But today we’re talking about the sexy and mysterious Martine Beswick in One Million Years B.C. (1966), playing the brown-haired sexy cavegirl of the Rock Tribe, Nupondi.

Sure, everybody goes on about Raquel Welch, and yeah, she’s hot blah, blah, blah.

But Martine is hotter: more feral, more animalistic, more lithe—also there’s cunning in her eyes, a slyness: by hook or by crook, she’s gonna try and get what she wants.

But there’s a sadness to the character of Nupondi, as well: she just wanted to make babies with Tumok, but then he gets kicked out the tribe, and his gross brother chases Nupondi—and when Tumok returns, he brings back that blonde bitch! Meanwhile, dinosaurs are everywhere trying to eat people!

No wonder Nupondi has to be smarter and tougher than everyone else.

And then, because this is a “Lost World” flick and those always end with the volcano exploding,
when the prerequisite-volcano-explosion-conclusion occurs,
does unlucky-at-love Nupondi get cut some slack?
Does she manage to make a getaway, to start a new life somewhere else in Pangaea, create her own tribe perhaps?

No way.

Nature is red in tooth and claw, and
after a new mountain range bursts out of the ground,
Nupondi is devoured by the earth, in an almost ignoble way:
falling on her (admittedly cute) butt as the ground shifts and opens; swallowed without a trace.

Goodbye Nupondi!
I wish your bloodline had been the one to continue--maybe the world would be a better place now!

If I had a time machine, and if you were a real historical person instead of a beautiful cavewoman played by an actress I have a crush on in a very well-made B-movie, with some of Ray Harryhausen’s best animation
Then Nupondi,
I would rescue you.

In retrospect, I’d already seen flicks she’d been in (like Thunderball), but the awesomeness that is Martine Beswick didn’t reveal itself to me until I saw her in Hammer Films 1971 production of Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde.

I remember seeing this flick as a little kid in one of those giant movie palaces in Downtown Brooklyn—now one of the movie theaters of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM).
And it was then that I got my humongous crush on Martine Beswick.

Oh, Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde is a bad movie, but damn, is Martine hot as the supremely evil Sister Hyde, a bloodthirsty Morticia who looks great in corsets.

Hey! Martine’s on Facebook! Maybe she’ll let me be a pal!


  1. more on Martine at


  2. Steve:
    Thanks! And Cinefantastique rules!

    Yes, that is a good article about Ms. Beswick; I linked it under her name at some point above.

  3. Martine is certainly hot, but i would have to see her in motion pictures before i could agree that she's hotter than Raquel was back in those days. I hate to be one of the 'everybody's, but RW was some serious shit!

    POSEIDON ADVENTURE came out when i was eight, and i wanted to save Carol Lynley's hippy singer character. sad but true, and she DOESN'T EVEN DIE in the movie!

  4. Rodinosaurus:
    Funny you should mention The Poop-Side-Down Adventure (as Mad called it), b/c that flick DOES have a genuine One You Might Have Saved: Sexy Stella Stevens; her death is a genuine bummer in the flick--although it gives the great Ernie Borgnine a chance to really emote as he chews out Hackman's Preacher.

    And I call it Poop-Side-Down out of love--of both the movie, the Mad spoof and its place in history.

  5. we had seen the movie in Des Moines, and then, when my grandmother in Michigan was croaking of cancer, we trekked out to watch, and along the way we stopped in Chicago. my mother was wacked out from the stress and we went to a theater on a street packed with neon-lighted theaters to see the POOPSIDEDOWN again! of course my brother and i loved seeing it again.

    Stella was great and sexy in the movie, and Borgy was awesome in his passion. but still, it was the misty-eyed hippy that needed saving, from the mind-numbing, 70s malaise of the mind-numbing 70s!!!

    Once we got to Michigan and watched Granny check out, we had nothing to do, so my mother, catatonic from watching her mother die, offered to take us to see THE GETAWAY. we kids weren't dazzled by the title, and she freaked out and really laid into us ungrateful little bastards. well, we went to see the movie and of course it was just awesome, even better than Poseidon. we didn't even have to tell her how much we liked it.

    A little trip down twisted memory lane.

  6. Great stills! Here's my appreciation of this wonderful B movie babe:

  7. Great stills! Here's my appreciation of this wonderful B movie babe:

  8. Cliff, thanks for visiting! Nupondi rules!