17 February, 2009

THE FILMS OF JEAN MARIE PALLARDY: UNE FEMME SPECIAL (1979)


[Jean-Marie Pallardy's feature films include:
• Emmanuelle Goes To Cannes
• Naked And Lustful
• Emmanuele 3
• A Very Special Woman*
• Erotic Daughters Of Emmanuelle
Details


ProductID HALP700059DVD
Number of Discs 5.00 Disc(s)
Format DVD
REGION CODE All Regions
Studio HALO PARK PICTURES
Release Date 11/18/2008
Actors Jean-Marie Pallardy
Video Widescreen; COLOR
Audio Dolby Digital Stereo
Language: English
Availability in stock

www.haloparkpictures.com]

REVIEW:
Video Quality: Poor (1.76:1/16X9)
Sound Quality: Fair to Poor (DOLBY DIGITAL; English language version)
Summary: This All Region Anamorphic widescreen presentation looks and sounds like it was transferred from a videocassette source.


This 1979 short feature (65m) has now appeared here in the US as part of the Erotic World of Jean-Marie Pallardy boxset with four other DVDs. I purchased this as a single to check it out before investing in the box. In English 16X9 Enhanced (doesn't look it, though); 1.66:1. The boxset retailed for under $60 and I found it in the Adult XXX room of a CD/Music store.

A Very Special Woman [UNE FEMME SPECIAL] (1979)
Starring: Karin Schubert, Georges Gueret, Mike Monty, Gordon Mitchell.
Director: Jean-Marie Pallardy

What attracted me to this was the presence of the cult actress (some would say sleaze-queen) Karin Schubert, along with the presence of Gordon Mitchell, who appears as a gangster wearing a very bright orange windbreaker. I had a brief but memorable email friendship with the late, legendary bodybuilder-actor until the time of his death. And I had never seen a Pallardy film before, so I decided this was a good place to start.

The plot is a sleazy mixture of crime and sexual encounters (softcore in this version). Schubert plays the wife of a gangster (Georges Gueret) who is compelled by him to smuggle illegal all over the world. She herself is hooked on heroin, kept addicted by him and gets into all kinds of sordid situations until she catches him in bed with another woman. Deciding she has had enough she dumps a small fortune in narcotics into the ocean. The disappearance of the drugs triggers the associates of his husband to send thugs in pursuit (Gordon Mitchell and Mike Monty) to get the drugs back/carry out a gangland sanction. At the end Karin kicks Gordon's ass before blasting him with a shotgun (Gordon's reaction is priceless! and walks off into the sunset with her supportive lover (Pallardy)... The abridged runtime is just under 66m, but most of the runtime involves Pallardy and Schubert romping on beaches, etc. Look for Brigette Lahaie in a small role.

There's a lot of softcore action in seaside seetings but it's all pretty tame. It looks like a series of 1970s continental nudie calendar photos. The score is an amusing mixture of retro funk, disco, synthesizer and the bizarre inclusion of the spiritual AMAZING GRACE to indicate the heroine's redemption. The high pitched bleating of the song will make you want to wish it's over as soon as it begins!

This is the first JM Pallardy film I've seen since WHITE FIRE (1985), also with Gordon Mitchell, and it struck me as cheap looking, tacky, but very entertaining and briskly paced Eurosleaze, and I enjoyed the roughly staged crime elements. Co starring Pallardy himself, a former male model whose directorial style here doesn't contain the sometimes artful personal touches of Jess Franco or Joe D'Amato imparted to similar material/projects. The poor cinematography, or maybe it was the dupey looking materials or transfer, is by Maurice Fellous and the very ragged editing by either Bruno Zincone or whoever edited the English language version. Is there a longer version on DVD or VHS? The box incorrectly lists a 72 m runtime and the imbd lists a 90m runtime. Could this be the length of the hard version?

The 1.66:1 anamorphic transfer is very unsharp with distorted, sometimes bleeding color (check out Mitchell's orange windbreaker), it's sometimes washed out with a general Grindhouse look/ambiance, complete with dropouts and numerous video glitches, which is somewhat appropriate, but the film quality looks very worn, beaten up, like it was taken from a much used videocassette, as do the trailers for the other titles in the set, EMMANUELLE 3, EMMANUELLE GOES TO CANNES, etc. I remember the old video I had of WHITE FIRE which looked better than this. The opening credits are in French and windowboxed, except for an insert of the main English language title, A VERY SPECIAL WOMAN. It all looks very cut and paste...

But I still enjoyed it. It's always good to see my late friend Gordon Mitchell (named "Gordon" on the English soundtrack)as a leering heavy. And it can be purchased as a single for under $12.00 on Amazon.com.

(c) Robert Monell, 2009




2 comments:

mandingo said...

What an excellent site! I am going to need some time to explore this one!! I have seen only a half dozen of J.F.'s films, which qualifies me to say...nothing.

Except well done, and I look fwd to learning more about the creater of the criminally underrated "99 Women".

Robert Monell said...

Welcome to the blog, mandingo. Thanks for your generous feedback. It's good to have Franco newcomers here and we explore all his periods from the 50s to the present. If you desire more discussions on his and other Euro genre films of the past please visit and join in the conversations at my CINEMADROME site. www.cinemadrome.yuku.com

I like Franco's LOVERS OF DEVIL'S ISLAND and OUTLAW WOMEN, among his other WIP films.