30 June, 2007

Belated Birthday Greetings to Alice Arno


Yikes! What a grisly image for a belated birthday note. Guess how old Marie-France Broquet was yesterday....


She was featured in four Jess Franco masterworks all made in the busy year of 1973: AL OTRO LADO DEL ESPEJO, PLAISIR A TROIS, LA COMTESSE PERVERSE and FEMALE VAMPIRE. She proved to be a terrific actress in all four and swung a mean whip in three of them.
Alice also appeared in five other Jess Franco directed titles in the same year!
Have one for Alice this evening...
(C) Robert Monell, 2007

New Spanish Jess Franco DVD's released







Thanks to M. Kino's wonderful Japanese Jess Franco site for this information and these images.
The noted release date was June 27. 2007. These mid 1980s films were MANACOA productions along with the third DVD release, the Edgar Wallace adaptation VIAJE A BANGKOK, ATAUD INCLUIDO (featuring Howard Vernon). I'll be putting that cover up in a Edgar Wallace related blog soon. This is all the information I have on these new discs at this point.
They are being distributed by FILMAX. If anyone has any further information on video quality, specs, extras, etc please comment below or email me.
JUEGO SUCIO... is especially worth seeing. It's a very moody, stylish neo noir featuring one of the late William Berger's best performances.
Visit M. Kino's essential Jess Franco site:http://hmkino.ld.infoseek.co.jp/franco-home.htm
 

 

 

28 June, 2007

Soledad Miranda film at 2007 Venice Film Fest





SUGAR COLT, Franco Giraldi's 1966 Spaghetti Western will be shown as one of 40 films in a sidebar tribute to that once popular genre; some of the films have been restored and will be projected in 35mm, at the 2007 Venice Film Festival. Soledad Miranda, the smoldering Jess Franco object of attraction in EL CONDE DRACULA, EUGENIE DE SADE and VAMPYROS LESBOS, is second billed with US actor Hunt Powers. She appeared in several mid 1960s shot-in-Spain westerns. I haven't seen this one. Any comments?



Another Jess Franco actress, Emma Cohen, can also be seen at the festival's big screen projection of CUT THROATS NINE, a 1972 ultra violent Spanish western directed by former Jess Franco colleague Joaquin Romero Marchent (1955's EL COYOTE was co written and co directed by JF, along with its follow up). In 1973 Cohen gave an award winning, haunting performance as a woman lost AL OTRO LADO DEL ESPEJO, Franco's essential 1973 occult thriller. Numerous other actors seen in JF films of that era also appear in CUT THROATS NINE, including Alberto Dalbes and Jose Manuel Martin. Marchent was Spain's most prolific and vital Eurowestern specialist. It's a very powerful film and highly recommended.



Jess Franco admirer Quentin Tarantino will be on hand to introduce some of the Eurowesterns.


(C) Robert Monell, 2007

24 June, 2007

Jean Pierre Bouyxou Online!







I've always been a great admirer of the pioneering French film historian, critic, filmmaker and sometimes Jess Franco actor, Jean Pierre Bouyxou. I was watching him closely in FEMALE VAMPIRE [LA COMTESSE NOIRE] last night as the blind Dr. Orlof and was struck by how much elan his mysterious, imposing presence added to the film.


He can be seen and heard online in these videos discussing his career:
bouyxouexpérimentalgodingloupierundergroundDebordrollinfrancoravacholanarchismemoliniercinemabiskennethanger
artsfilm & tv
Duration: 09:24Taken: 13 April 2007Location: Paris, France
Jean-Pierre nous parle des années 60 et du caractère sulfureux du cinéma fantastique, mais aussi de Guy Debord...

Check out his page where you find his bio, filmography and links:
http://www.cineastes.net/c/bouyxou.html





23 June, 2007

The Man Behind Jess Franco

Here's a picture of the very prolific and well known European producer who bankrolled a number of Jess Franco's most popular films. He also contributed to the scripts of several. Can you ID him and the Franco films he was involved with?

We'll be discussing his career and relationship to JF in the future.




19 June, 2007

Happy Birthday, Rosalba Neri!


The legendary Italian actress [aka Sara Bay] suffers her destiny in Silvio Amadio's ALLA RICERCA DEL PIACERE/AMUCK!/MANIAC MANSION/LEATHER AND WHIPS. Not a very nice Birthday picture, but she's very wicked in this memorably twisted giallo. Made in 1971, with Farley Granger and Barbara Bouchet in the lead roles, the plot, characters and even the quirky music score have recycled countless times (a certain Coen Bros. comedy uses a classic cue).

It's definitely Rosalba all the way.
Hard to believe that she's 68 today!


I think my favorite of her performances is as the pathetic nymphomaniac in Fernando Di Leo's SLAUGHTER HOTEL. And there are many other films of this era in which she dominates the proceedings even in minor roles, often stealing the film from the female lead. She's in full bloom in AMUCK!.

I loved you in EVERYTHING you were in, my dear Rosalba....

A graduate of Italy's prestigious C.S.C., she embodied so many favorite characters in European popular cinema from the mid 1950s to the mid 1980s. Nearly 100 roles in films and TV.

She's terrific in her roles for Jess Franco [but she's always terrific, isn't she?]:

Yaka, the Albanian Police official in LUCKY THE INSCRUTABLE.

Lisa, the sullen enforcer dressed in a man's suit and Fez in THE CASTLE OF FU MANCHU.

Zoe, #76 in 99 WOMEN.

The cultist in JUSTINE.


There's nobody remotely like her in contemporary cinema.



(C) Robert Monell, 2007

18 June, 2007

The Candelabrum


Aha! Just noticed the famous candelabrum which plays multiple roles in such 1972 JF productions as LES DEMONS (Lord Jeffries office), DRACULA CONTRA FRANKENSTEIN (Anne Libert's death chamber), THE EROTIC RITES OF FRANKENSTEIN (Cagliostro's drawing room) is seen in the b&w JUNGFRAUENREPORT film within a film (looks like Howard Vernon in there) watched by the delectable Andrea Rau in ROBINSON UND SEINE WILDEN SKLAVINNEN (also 1972).

16 June, 2007

JESS FRANCO VS MOTHRA VS GODZILLA


I was intrigued to hear on the excellent commentary track of Classic Media's MOTHRA VS GODZILLA that a Terry Vantell was mentioned as being a dubber for the some of the female voices, possibly the miniature twins, "The Peanuts." I know that Titan Productions also dubbed some of the Gamera films for AIP in that era. Does anyone know if this is the same Terry Vantell who directed the English version of NECRONOMICON aka SUCCUBUS? I didn't realize that Terry Vantell was a "she" and also directed the English version of Lucio Fulci's THE BRUTE AND THE BEAST aka MASSACRE TIME.
I can't find a Terry Vantell on the imbd or get any further information via a Google search. Does anyone have any more information or what became of this dubber/director? I always have wanted to speak to the person who created the English language version of NECRONOMICON on editing choices, voice casting, sound effects and what the original version they got in was like.
Any feedback would be much appreciated.

(C) Robert Monell, 2007

11 June, 2007

25 Years Ago, Yesterday....



Rainer Werner Fassbinder was found dead from an overdose of sleeping pills and cocaine. He was 37 years old. More significantly, he had directed over 40 films in just in just over a decade of frenetic activity. From his Anti-theater days of the late 60s to his ascension to the status of enfant terrible, he left a legacy which earn him the place of the last great German director of the 20th Century. His seminal influence was Douglas Sirk (who made films for UFA before fleeing the Nazis), perhaps by way of Jean Luc Godard.


I remember hearing about his death in 1982 via a friend who informed me of the fact that RWF had died of an overdose as I was in the midst of acting out my own addiction at the time. I was 30: RWF was 37. He had made 40 plus films; I had made only a few shorts. I immediately recalled my impromptu meeting with RWF in New York City, circa 1975. Dressed in leathers, he seemed introverted, sensitive, "nice" but not particularly communicative. This was before he had become internationally famous and an infamous icon. He seemed uncertain of his physical self but sure of his art. He thanked me, weakly shaking my hand and smiling a smile that didn't seem like one. Later there would be stories.... But what counts is the magnificently heartfelt oeuvre.


I just happened to put on his 1978 IN A YEAR OF 13 MOONS yesterday morning. I sat there becoming simultaneously enraptured and stricken by the cruel fate of Elvira (Volker Spengler), the exquisitely tormented transsexual who feels too much and is lost in a cold, calculating world. I only was reminded of Fassbinder's death anniversary today after reading dwhudson's June 10 blog on http://daily.greencine.com/ quoting this German reviewer's comments on the controversial DVD presentation (from the also controversial FASSBINDER FOUNDATION) of RWF's 15 hour TV broadcast BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ. The description of the imagery and methodology reminded me of Jess Franco's aesthetic in his early to mid 1970s films (ie AL OTRO LADO DEL ESPEJO, LORNA THE EXORCIST, LA COMTESSE NOIRE, etc)....


"A far more rewarding read on the DVD is Jürgen Kasten's in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung. I'll translate just a bit:
'The radicalism of the direction of the figures, unfocused takes and the disturbingly dark lighting values led to a veritable television scandal when it was first broadcast... In Berlin Alexanderplatz, Fassbinder is concerned with the filmic representation of an inner world. The space in which Franz finds himself is abundant but skewed almost all over. A dusky semi-darkness lays over everything, smearing out the bodily contours. There doesn't seem to be any clear delineation between inside and outside, body and surroundings. The director had filters placed in front of the camera so that most of the shots would take on a delirious haziness. '"


Does "The radicalism of the direction of the figures, unfocused takes and...disturbing dark lighting....[culminating in a] ...delirious haziness..." sound familiar? It just about perfectly describes for me the visual style, tone and what drew me to Jess Franco's films in the first place. And, like JF, RWF was an artist fascinated by the mirror and all of its implications.

I had never seriously considered a link between RWF and JF, but there it is....

If he had lived I'm sure he would have caught up with JF's product count by this time.
And I still have to catch up with the epic length BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ, something I have put off for way too long.
Here's an update from DVDBEAVER.com re BERLIN...: "Finnish Digital-TV has broadcasted now 12 of the 15 parts of BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ. The new restoration made by Fassbinder Foundation. I must say that this is the biggest disappointment of the year, I do hope Criterion can do wonders, or postpone the release and make a new restoration. I actually get a headache if I even look at the image for more than two minutes - I'm gonna drop the viewing and wait for the Criterion. If someone have the old tapes, don't throw it away yet!..."


(C) Robert Monell, 2007.

09 June, 2007

What Franco Films Do You Want on R1 DVD?


Although there are over 100 DVD presentations out there of various titles, COUNT DRACULA has had two already this year, there are still numerous important Jess Franco films which have not had a R1 digital presentation including such personal favorites as LUCKY, THE INSCRUTABLE (1967), LORNA, THE EXORCIST (1974), PLAISIR A TROIS, THE PERVERSE COUNTESS, AL OTRO LADO DEL ESPEJO (all 1973). THE SADIST OF NOTRE DAME, SINFONIA EROTICA, EL SEXO ESTA LOCO are also candidates and have already appeared on Spanish DVD. GEMIDOS DE PLACER and EUGENIE 1980 have already been mentioned by me in previous blogs. All of these would be very welcome, especially in the HD formats.

I'll be asking for nominations on a regular basis to gather a consensus...

03 June, 2007

Women In Peril: JE BRULE DE PARTOUT


Translation: I'm Burning Up All Over/Dossier mineures/Rapt de nymphettes
A C.F.F.P. (Paris) Production
Director Jacques Aicrag [Jess Franco]
Producer Robert De Nesle.
Screenplay Robert Hughe [Robert De Nesle]
Photography Alain Hardy
Music Daniel White
CastElisabeth Hemingway [Susan Hemingway], Brigitte Lahaie, Jean Ferrere (Al Pereria), Didier Aubriot, Aida Vargas, Martine Flety, Mel Drogo, Filo Lemoine.

WIP has come to mean a Women In Prison exploitation film. I would add that it can also designate a subgenre which displays many of the same motifs, Women In Peril:

Jenny Goldstone (Susan Hemingway) is abducted after a night at a popular disco. She is the most recent victim to fall into the hands of an international white slavery cartel. The point person is the beautiful, blonde Lorna (Brigitte Lahaie/Van Meerhaegue), whom along with her henchmen bundle the girls aboard a ship fitted with an orgy room into which a sedating "love drug" is piped. They are transported to a brothel in Portugal where one of Jenny's customers will turn out to be her own father, ironically the financier behind the ring.



One of Jess Franco's more obscure sexploitation efforts, this one is of note mainly for the alluring presence of Ms. Lahaie who would go on to be featured in several memorable Jean Rollin titles (FASCINATION, NIGHT OF THE HUNTED). Lahaie, like Helga Line or Rosalba Neri, is one of those Euro-cult actresses whose stunning beauty is equalled by a formidable acting talent. She can be a mean bitch (as here) or a pathetic victim (as in NIGHT OF THE HUNTED), and sometimes a bit of both (as in FASCINATION).



This was shot in less than a week and really looks it! The "love drug" sequences are represented by some smoke being forced through crudely cut rubber tubes. The love drug concept also turns up in Franco as early as THE GIRL FROM RIO , and is also prominent in CAPTIVE WOMEN (1980) (see the self-explanatory still on p.143 of OBSESSION: THE FILMS OF JESS FRANCO to get a taste of the latter title).Lahaie apparently quarreled with Franco on set and she doesn't look like a happy camper, but she does look GREAT!


My favorite part was the opening, set in a glittering disco. Franco pans up from Lahaie's black leather boots to the blinding colored-light show and you immediately know you're in Jess Franco territory (despite the use of one of his rarer pseudonyms [Jacques Garcia, garbled here as Jacques Aicrag] during the amusing spoken credits).Franco even tries to work in his trusted Al Pereira private eye character, but Jean Ferrere's thug-like visage is no match for the more ambiguous mug of Antonio Mayans. Daniel J. White's moody trumpet score adds a dash of much needed atmosphere.

This women-in-peril oddity was one of three hardcore quickies produced by the late Robert de Nesle and directed by Franco in 1978, one of the director's less than favorite years. This may hae been the very last film he shot for the French mogul, who died the same year.

NEW (C) ROBERT MONELL, 2007: ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO PAMELA STANFORD?!


[aka Monique Delaunay]
Just want to know... HAVE to know!
That woman was an ACTRESS! She's quite terrifying in LORNA, THE EXORCIST (1974) and quite charming in LES EMMERDEUSES (1974). But whatever became of her? Someone should start a fanclub!
She was quite sexy and could get down and very dirty or go for elegance and classs. She was by definition an all purpose erotic fantasy. She appeared in a number of Jess Franco films from 1973 to 1980. Her role as "Elizabeth Taylor" in MONDO CANNIBALE, where she gets eaten alive by the titular flesh eaters, was her last appearance in a Franco film. She did go on to make the even sleazier and grosser CANNIBAL TERROR! [Julio Perez Taberno 1981), a bottom feeding Eurocine effort which is just about unwatchable.
Whatever happened to Pamela Stanford?