11 July, 2008

LES GRANDES EMMERDEUSES (1974): Part 1


Lina Romay and Pamela Stanford up to no good in LES GRANDES EMMERDEUSES...

[This is Part 1 of a planned multi-blog on this 1974 sexy-comedy-spy adventure-Eurocrime tidbit. Updated in 2008 from Robert Monell's Jess Franco Archives]

LES GRANDES EMMERDEUSES
82 MINUTES (NTSC conversion runtime)
[VHS availability: European Trash Cinema (French language tape, U.S. import)]

PRODUCED BY ROBERT DE NESLE/C.F.F.P. PARIS-1974
DIRECTED BY CLIFFORD BROWN [JESS FRANCO] WITH: LINA ROMAY, PAMELA SANFORD, WILLY BRAQUE, RAYMOND HARDY (RAMÓN ARDID), MONICA SWINN, LISA FRANVAL [Lisa Ferrara], BIGOTINI, FRED WILLIAMS, JESS FRANCO

(a.k.a. LES EMMERDEUSES; LES PETITES VICIEUSES FONT LES GRANDES EMMERDEUSES)

Tina and Pina, a couple of air headed diamond smugglers (guess where they hide the diamonds?!) travel to Istanbul to fence the jewels, as two secret agents track them. The women are captured by a criminal gang also on the trail of the diamonds. The women manage to elude their pursuers through the use of the oldest trick in the book: sex.

This minor spy/sex comedy-adventure starts as a hardcore romp with the camera locked in close-up on the private parts of Lina and Pamela as they talk directly to the camera and explain how they eluded ruthless international criminals and got away with a stash of diamonds. Yes, this is yet another interactive, self parodying, no-budget mid 70s Jess Franco sex film with thriller elements thrown in which is very much in the style of THE MIDNIGHT PARTY (1975).

The film is amusing, mainly due to the charms of Lina Romay and the immortal Pamela Stanford (Monique Delaunay), who really ham it up. Franco's telezoom is as active as ever, zooming in on everything from jets passing overhead to more intimate places. Romay spends most the time nude (except for black gloves pulled up to her elbows), while Stanford dons an outrageous wrap-around cat mask and leopard skin tights in order to distract the enemy.

The Eurospy element is confined to the presence of two bumbling agents, played by Franco regulars Bigotini [Richard De Conninck] and Ramón Ardid, who both look like they had a few before each take. Franco recycles the Andre Benichou score from his sexy peplum LES GLOUTONNES (1973). Curiously enough, the music is credited to Robert Viger in that film while here Benichou is listed as the composer. The same haunting theme can also be heard in several other Franco titles from that period, including LE MIROIR OBSCENE (1974), the French version of AL OTRO LADO DEL ESPEJO (1973).

It's fast and doesn't give you a hangover. What more can one ask for? Some would say... a lot more.

A few updated comments on this 1999 review:

Seeing this nearly a decade later made me appreciate Franco's sheer creativity in the face of dire poverty all the more. It looks like this was shot in Super 8mm, or maybe just regular old 8mm! I highly doubt there was a script and most of it takes place in cheap looking hotel rooms (hmmm... where I have seen those rooms before?).

There's even a "monster" who shows up in this. The "thing" is created by yet another evil "Radeck" who uses it to threaten our heroines. It's really just a very ugly guy (I hesitate to use the word "actor").

Jess Franco (who may or may not be playing Dr. Radeck [hey, it's in French and there's a lot of talk and utter confusion throughout!] looks really spaced out or hyped up on something, pacing around yet another sleazy hotel room somewhere in the South of France.

Willy Braque (Guy Peraud), a familiar face from a number of Jean Rollin films (DEMONIACS; LIPS OF BLOOD), is even stranger looking than Jess Franco! This guy looks like he hasn't had a decent meal in his life. In other words, he's perfectly credible as the "connection" Kashfi.

Don't expect to see this on R1 DVD anytime soon [But you never know...]

And over ten years on I still can't get over Pam Stanford's cat mask....

(c) Robert Monell 1999-2008




1 comment:

scott said...

another Franco title i've not seen...someday!