Joseph W. Sarno – Pandora and the Magic Box (1965)
Believe it or not, director JOE SARNO, the master of serious psycho-sexual drama, actually made a goofball comedy. Pandora and the Magic Box is a parody of Italian muscleman movies, ancient Greek mythology, and a continuous burlesque gag all in one. The well-known myth of Pandora’s Box is interpreted by Sarno’s familiar skinflick ensemble wearing skimpy sequined togas and playing the roles of legendary gods, goddesses, heroes and characters – with more than a bit of poetic license. Filmed entirely on a make-shift stage set (complete with enormous Styrofoam boulders and fake foliage), Pandora and the Magic Box is about as low-budget as it gets, and comparable to the joys of a small-town community-theatre production.
Lovely Aphrodite, the goddess of love and narrator of this tale, is played by Sarno regular, ALICE LINVILLE (of Sin in the Suburbs and Flesh & Lace.) Aphrodite is keeping an eye on things on earth from Mount Olympus while bumbling hero, Theseus (WILLIAM DONALDSON), and his two muscle-bound buddies, encounter danger and crack corny jokes on their way to King Minos’ palace. King Minos (flamboyant actor W.B. PARKER who also camps it up in Sin in the Suburbs and Olga’s House of Shame) is married to the vulgar and voracious Queen Scylla. Minos discovers that his long-lost niece is the rightful ruler of Greece and devises a plan to keep her from being found… after dutifully watching his horny wife do a hootchie-coochie dance. Minos plans on having his servant Pandora (RIA MILAN) use her charms to distract Theseus from his mission and lead him to the land of the Amazons where, hopefully, he’ll most certainly be killed.
Meanwhile, on Mount Olympus, Zeus is in search of a “gullible schnook” to guard a wooden chest “full of trouble” and decides Theseus is the man for the job. Zeus tells Theseus to protect the box with his life, and the gods proceed to create mischief and mayhem for the unwary mortals. King Minos, dressed in drag (!?!), infiltrates the glamorous Amazon tribe to check on how his plan is going. And in the end, Theseus gets more than he bargained for… including Pandora and the Magic Box!
Needless to say, this extremely rare find is not only one of Sarno’s oddest, but an absolute hoot for any Sarno fan! — Lisa Petrucci