fans of comic book superheroine Wonder Woman, there's pretty much only
one live-action Amazon Princess, and that's the statuesque,
raven-tressed Lynda Carter, who played the role on television between
1975 and 1979.
But before Carter inherited the golden
tiara and star-spangled swimsuit, blonde ex-tennis star Cathy Lee Crosby
portrayed a very different incarnation of the character in a failed
1974 TV pilot film. That unsuccessful attempt, simply called Wonder Woman,
aired as a TV movie and showed up occasionally in syndication during
the 70s and 80s, but never garnered a home video release until just
recently, as a Warner Archive manufactured-on-demand DVD.
Diana Prince (Crosby)
is secretary to U.S. government spymaster Steve Trevor (Kaz Garas). But
she is also - secretly - super agent Wonder Woman, an Amazon princess
from the mysterious, females only, Paradise Island. When top secret
books containing lists of American undercover agents are stolen from
several U.S. embassies, Wonder Woman goes into action, tracking the
mastermind responsible, a suave International criminal named Abner Smith
(Ricardo Montalban, Khan of Star Trek II).
In the course of her mission, she
comes into conflict with Smith's skeevy henchman Calvin (Andrew Prine)
and a renegade Amazon named Ahnjayla (sexy brunette Anitra Ford). Can WW, in her star-spangled track suit, retrieve the secrets
before they can be auctioned off to America's enemies?
and developed by John D.F. Black (Star Trek - TOS, Shaft) and
directed by TV veteran Vincent McEveety, this Wonder Woman appears to be
inspired by a then-recent run in the comics where the heroine had lost
her powers and costume, and was portrayed as a Diana Rigg-inspired
adventurer. The familiar, red, white & blue cleavage-baring
costume, magic lasso and tiara are nowhere to be seen, although the
famous bullet-deflecting bracelets do appear, tricked out with a variety
of superspy gadgets.
The pace of the film is relatively brisk, but the
script is far too talky and coincidence-riddled, and the resolution of
the case is an anticlimactic fizzle. The action - what little there is -
is underwhelming as well, with the anticipated battle between WW and
her Amazon "sister" ultimately consisting of a lethargic, poorly-choreographed
stick fight between obvious stunt doubles.
commercial & creative failure, the movie has long been desired
by comic book buffs and superhero movie completists (and I count myself
as both). The burned-to-order DVD from Warner Archive features a very
bright and colorful transfer from a reasonably clean print, presented in
its original 4x3 television aspect ratio. Audio is a clear Dolby
Digital Mono. There are no extras or bonus features provided.
Cathy Lee Crosby Wonder Woman is an amusing 70s genre curio, of interest
really only to diehard fans of the character and the genre. That said,
those fans should be quite satisfied with Warner Archive's disc.