08 December, 2009


The 2006 Manga R2 DVD is the real thing...

But what about this one?

I finally got a look at the "Televista" DVD, THE GIRLS OF THE COPACABANA. It has been speculated on this blog by some readers than this is a port of the 2006 Manga R2 LAS CHICAS DE COPACABANA DVD by JEF Films using the Televista name as a cover. The title THE GIRLS OF THE COPACABANA only appears as the title on the box cover, on the print itself the onscreen title is LAS CHICHAS DE COPACABANA.

The first thing I noticed is that there is no DVD company name on the box, the Televista logo is printed on the DVD itself but is so small that it's impossible to make out the name. That's enough to make one suspicious. The logo does appear onscreen before the menu screen and the Televista name appears at the end of the presentation with a 2009 Copyright trademark .

I didn't know what to expect but the Menu screen raises more questions. It's in Spanish, including the main title, menu options [which include English subtitles, a slide show of a few dozen fair quality stills and scene selection guide [all the individual scenes are also titled in Spanish]. English translations of the main title and menu options are provided in parenthesis. The menu screen artwork shows the three main characters, Juan (playing a guitar), Juanita and Hans (the latter two nude and in bed together with Juanita's image vibrating over Hans). Their images are superimposed over a vista of Rio's famous coastline seen from the sky. Since I haven't seen the R2 disc I can't report if this is the same as that menu screen. It suggests a US 1980s era sex comedy, which I guess the film itself was made in response to. The theme song, which plays an important thematic role in the film is heard over the menu.

Reading some reviews of the R2 disc which noted a 1.66:1 aspect ratio I was somewhat surprised to see that this disc is dysfunctionally displayed with very thin, irregular black bars at the top and bottom. At least that's the way it plays back on my monitor. It's certainly not 1.66:1 and will appear full frame or 1.33:1 to the untrained eye.

The color and general video quality is highly variable, ranging from fairly good to washed out. It's not exactly bursting with primary colors and as razor sharp as the best Severin Franco DVDs have been (cf Severin's MACUMBA SEXUAL). And the transfer, or the print, lacks detail and is rather dark/grainy at times. This may have something to do with the shooting conditions. OBSESSION: THE FILMS OF JESS FRANCO reports the film was shot in 16mm and reconstituted in another format two years later!

LAS CHICAS DE COPACABANA was a low-budget French (Eurocine)-Spanish (Triton P.C./Madrid) co production which includes a lot of inconsistently graded stock footage of the Rio Carnival, but the film certainly deserves a less questionable presentation. The print does appear to be complete. I'm awaiting the Spanish R2 DVD to make a more definitive comparison. If the fault lies with the film itself, that's one thing, but I did enjoy it even though it's obviously not a candidate for tier one.

I'll be returning soon with my comments on the film itself.

Thanks to Robert Guest and Francesco Cesari.

(C) 2009 Robert Monell


ecc said...

I no longer have the Spanish DVD but like SINFONIA EROTICA and SEX IS CRAZY, it is from an older master. I don't think it was framed exactly at 1.66:1; rather it has the irregular in-camera hard mattes rather than new video matting to properly center the image.

I think the reason that the menus and such are in Spanish on the Televista release is probably because it is going under the guise of being marketed towards Spanish speaking U.S. audiences (like Venevision titles or some of the BCI Mexican titles that were also released with alternate Spanish covers) even though WE all know that it is really being primarily aimed at Franco fans.

Robert Monell said...

irregular in-camera hard mattes

That's what the TELEVISTA looks like, although it's pretty much a full-frame with very, very slight mattes. It's not 1.66:1. At least that's the way it looks on my monitor. Generally, this DVD lacks luminosity but isn't bad. It's very watchable.

Spanish speaking U.S. audiences

That's an interesting possibility, although the English language title appears on the cover of mine. I have seen it marketed on some sites with the Spanish title.