14 September, 2011

From Albert Zugsmith to Jess Franco

Thanks to Robert Guest for assisting me in finally catching up with Albert Zugsmith's legendary 1962 fever dream, CONFESSIONS OF AN OPIUM EATER. This delirious mixture of slave girls in peril tropes, B movie surrealism, Tong war action and Allied Artists eroticism is presided over by a black clad Vincent Price as a relative of Thomas De Quincey, who wrote the book upon which this is supposedly based. I haven't read it but I did note that Robert Eisen is listed one of the editors. The name rang a bell and I realized that Eisen aka Robert S. Eisen is also credited as "Post Production Supervisor" of two Jess Franco-Harry Alan Towers productions, ISLAND OF DESPAIR aka 99 WOMEN (1969) and VENUS IN FURS (1970). Both films have some interesting similarities of the Zugsmith movie, especially the extended nightmare format of VENUS IN FURS, which like CONFESSIONS... features a befuddled protagonist (James Darren) wandering around in slow motion through a fragmented scenario. 

Both 99 WOMEN and VENUS IN FURS appeared in America in versions fashioned for the culture of their time, the narration in VENUS is especially of its era and is charmingly dated. The director speaks of his reservations about the final cut in the Blue Underground VENUS IN FURS DVD interview with him included as an extras. It would be interesting to know Eisen's exact contribution.

Eisen also is credited as editor on INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS and THE BIG COMBO, two of my favorite 1950s genre pieces, along with many other interesting films. 

Confessions Of An Opium Eater | Flickr - Photo Sharing! | http://www.flickr.com/photos/28285678@N00/...

Watch Venus in Furs (1969) Online | http://www.freemoviedb.com/watch/25566/venus_in_furs.html

An interesting double bill!

1 comment:

dfordoom said...

Confessions of an Opium Eater sounds absolutely wonderful.