Vadim Glowna
Vadim Glowna, Joe Hembus, Leonard Tuck

based on the novel "Victory" by Joseph Conrad

Vadim was an actor and had played lead roles in over 100 movies when he decided to take up directing. I had known him through friends like Roland Gall and Joe Hembus. We had both worked with, but also through, George Panousopoulos, since they wanted to shoot a modern western in Arizona. Finaly Vadim made his "Desperado City" alone, while George shot his "Honeymoon".

Vadim placed the "Devil's Paradise" story in the interwar period on a little Indonesian island with an active volcano, and in the Dutch colonial city Surabaya. He had made a quick scouting trip to Penang and Surabaya, but the first of his troubles was that the insurers categorically precluded the location claiming that Suharto didn’t have control of all 3,000 islands.

The same thing happened to us in the Philippines, where we wanted to look for islands with mines and volcanoes, but after the Marcos-Aquino change martial law was declared in Mindanao, which had many volcanoes, and in Cebu. We saw the National Park near Manilla, where Coppola shot his "Apocalypse Now", and we did a little volcanic tourism around Pinatubo and Mayon. On the way to Magaso we luckily saw what was then perhaps the most primitive coal mine in the country. See LOCATIONS.

So we went to Thailand where Georg Mertensmeyer was waiting for us. He was a German resident of Bangkok running a company servicing foreign productions. We nearly had the same problem here, because in the non-tourist south that interested us, trucks drove in convoys at night in fear of the gangs that robbed cars on highways. Georg's production manager was William Melcher, a Vietnam veteran who stayed behind in Bangkok to prepare the rest of the location scouting while we started for the south. Fortunately, Georg understood exactly what we wanted and took the risk.




After the heroic decision to set up the mine in Ban Nai Phlao, we had to solve some let's say "artistic" issues such as the timber. The expansion of the Ko Samui airport provided us with palm trunks for the pier and ramps, but for the rest of the buildings we would need many cubic meters of sawn lumber: beams, planks, boards, rafters etc. And all this was teak because there was no other hardwood in the region. A decade earlier, teak (Tectona grandis) had become the favorite material of Scandinavian designers, and therefore ideal for middle-class dining and living rooms. In order to save the forests the government had limited logging and the price in the domestic market had gone up. But the worst was that, if built of fresh-cut teak, the scenery would resemble an exhibition of prefabricated cottages. Scenographic wood patination methods, besides being very time-consuming and therefore expensive, would not work in a climate where it rained from morning till night and the humidity ranged between 95 and 97 per cent. On the other hand, on each of our trips in the area we saw old abandoned houses falling apart and rotting.