Buxom Dutch brides and beauteous New Zealand

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Waldemar Torenstra and Karina Smulders in "Bride Flight." The post-WWII characters in the lusty, schmaltzy flick don't develop much.

Bride Flight is a retro, lusty bodice-ripper about Dutch emigrants to New Zealand after World War II. One man, three women, and the secrets that bind and come between them are the subjects of this one about pioneers who leave their war-ravaged country for the island nation to build a future.

The film introduces its principals midflight into a historic air race from Europe to the Antipodes. The human cargo on the Dutch plane includes women bound for Wellington to meet their fiances, hence the movie's title.

There is the flirty Esther (Anna Drijver), a fashion designer who has lost her family in Nazi concentration camps. There is the sensible Marjorie (Elise Schaap), already planning how many children she will have. And there is the shy Ada (Karina Smulders), a voluptuous blonde who catches the eye of Frank (Waldemar Torenstra), a farmer who has lost his family - Dutch colonials in Indonesia - in Japanese concentration camps.

The beauty of the actors and the ravishing landscape of New Zealand goes a long way to make Ben Sombogaart's sudsy film so eminently watchable. But it's fair to say that, despite an indiscretion or three, the characters don't develop much beyond our first impressions.

Still, one should never discount the appeal of pretty people in pretty places. This, even though Bride Flight's plot is reminiscent of the hoary 1950 women's film Three Secrets.

Like that film, Bride Flight is schmaltz with illicit sex. For men of a certain age, there's the added attraction of ample female nudity. For women of a certain age, there's the bonus of Frank, played by Torenstra, a handsome hunk of Gouda, maturing into Rutger Hauer. Double-hubba!


Contact movie critic Carrie Rickey at 215-854-5402 or crickey@phillynews.com. Read her blog, "Flickgrrl," at http://www.philly.com/flickgrrl/

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