20 July, 2011
The beginning of yet another new series! Now, I know you guys have mostly heard Franco movies dubbed into English, but recent DVD releases in the Anglophone world, regardless of region, either contain a Spanish option or, whenever an English-language soundtrack was unavailable, just the Spanish soundtrack, duly subtitled. In other words, many of you have been exposed to the vocal efforts of vintage Spanish dubbing actors.
Now, some background explanation may be necessary for the present series. Until quite recently, Spanish films, like their Italian counterpart, have been shot MOS (without sound) and then had a soundtrack added later on in a sound studio – indeed, only in the mid-eighties did the use of direct sound start to attain a certain regularity until evolving towards its dominance in the present day, when it has finally become the rule rather than the exception. Back in the days of post-synched Spanish soundtracks, the performers heard were sometimes the same as those seen onscreen, sometimes not. There were various reasons for two actors being used for the same role: the onscreen player not knowing Spanish or speaking the language with an accent; the actor in question having limited vocal skills; a lack of ease with the dubbing process (which even afflicted experienced stage performers); just plain unavailability… Only the latter would explain that even some career dubbers, whenever given visual roles, would find themselves with somebody else’s voice in the final film.
Jess Franco’s Spanish films were almost invariably sound recorded in Madrid: some rare exceptions include Lucky, el intrépido and The Castle of Fu Manchu, both given sound in Barcelona. Among the sound studios employed for Franco’s films we find Magna, Roma, Cinearte, Exa, more rarely Sincronía or Sago-Exa, but most commonly, especially with the passing years, the now-defunct Arcofón.
And now to the artiste of this entry, the still-active Matilde Conesa Valls, born in Madrid on 13 April 1928.A leading radio actress from 1947, she took up dubbing in 1951 and became identified, by dint of her deep voice, with strong, domineering actresses, most notably Bette Davis, but also Lauren Bacall and Anne Bancroft, not to mention Jane Wyman in the TV series Falcon Crest, Stella Stevens in Flamingo Road and Nancy Marchand’s Livia Soprano in The Sopranos. It seems inevitable that, in the context of Franco movies, she should voice prison governors in WIP flicks. Outside Franco, she also supplied the voice of the mother in Miguel Madrid’s Necrophagus (1971) and that of Paul Naschy’s formidable wife in The Devil’s Possessed. What follows is a gallery, probably incomplete, of her Franco roles.
Rosanna Yanni in Kiss Me, Monster (1969)
Rosanna Yanni in Two Undercover Angels (1969)
Mercedes McCambridge in 99 Women (1969)
Beni Cardoso in La venganza del doctor Mabuse (1972)
Rosa Palomares in Devil’s Island Lovers (1972)
Yelena Samarina in Night of the Skull (1973)
France Nicolas in El sádico de Notre Dame (1979)
Ajita Wilson in Sadomania (1981)
Sample of Matilde Conesa’s voice, dubbing Rosanna Yanni in Kiss Me, Monster:
Sample of Matilde Conesa’s voice, dubbing Rosa Palomares in Devil’s Island Lovers:
Other, non-Franco vocal roles essayed by Ms. Conesa for Spanish soundtracks include that of Jeannine Mestre in Grau’s No profanar el sueño de los muertos, Miriam Karlin's Catwoman in A Clockwork Orange, Maria Pia Conte in Merino’s Orgía de los muertos, María Kosty in Night of the Seagulls, Shelley Winters in Tentacles, the medium in Fulci’s Paura nella città dei morti viventi, Mary Freudstein at the end of the same director’s House by the Cemetery, Louise Fletcher in Flowers in the Attic and the character of Mrs. Fortune in Piquer Simón’s Slugs. In addition, she has often been heard in TV redubs of old films: Joan Crawford in Johnny Guitar, Jacqueline Pierreux in Black Sabbath, Maria Ouspenskaya in Universal horror movies, Margaret Rutherford in Blithe Spirit…
A very young Matilde Conesa (right), with Rafael Rivelles and Julia Lajos in Rafael Gil’s version of Don Quijote de la Mancha (1947).
Link to a partial list of Conesa’s films as a voice actress:
Text by Nzoog Wahrlfhehen
Franco’s apparent fondness for shooting on location in the Canary Islands (usually Gran Canaria) inevitably brought him in contact with local talent, including Albino Graziani, whose craggy face (sometimes with, sometimes without a scraggly beard) obviously appealed to the director. His film experience at the time seems to have been confined to appearing in a little-known German film called Alcaptar (1978).
At the very beginning of his Franco filmography, in 1980, Graziani was offered the sole sympathetic male part in Sinfonía erotica, as well as a tough-guy coin-juggling act (inspired by George Raft?) in Ópalo de fuego. Other roles: the professor in Oasis of the Zombies (1981), the dying general in La noche de los sexos abiertos and the eccentric hotel waiter in Mansion of the Living Dead. In the latter role, he is clearly dubbed by Jess Franco himself, affecting a Canarian accent.
Sinfonía erotica (1980)
Two Female Spies with Flowered Panties (1980)
Pick-Up Girls (1981)
La noche de los sexos abiertos (1983)
El tesoro de la diosa blanca (1983)
Mil sexos tiene la noche (1984)
Mansion of the Living Dead (1985)
A link to Graziani’s imdb entry:
09 July, 2011
07 July, 2011
Remember Jess Franco as the fey witness in El siniestro Doctor Orloff (1984)? Well, this very same role had been played by a woman in the same film’s prototype of over two decades earlier, The Awful Dr. Orloff (1961) The woman in question was María Elena Mellado del Hoyo, better known as Elena María Tejeiro, basically a TV and theatre actress.
Born in Murcia on 25 October 1939, she was among the very first actresses to appear on Spanish TV and in was a prominent actress in the sixties, as well as the recipient of three acting awards. The noted film directors she worked for include Fernán-Gómez, José Luis Sáenz de Heredia and Roberto Bodegas, not to mention Antoni Ribas, whose first wife she was. Ribas, in fact, was to direct her in the comedy-drama De picos pardos a la ciudad (1969, see cap below), produced by Ignacio F. Iquino, but he soon left the project and Iquino himself took over as director, showing as much of Tejeiro’s anatomy as was possible in a Spanish film of the time.
For the purposes of the present blog, it is worth noting that in 1975 , Tejeiro starred in a TV sitcom called Pili, secretaria ideal, alongside José María Prada (who was Palafox in Franco’s Night of the Blood Monster of 1969) and Venancio Muro (Janot “The Tanker” in, once again, The Awful Dr. Orloff).
Elena María Tejeiro’s TV and film work dwindled progressively in the eighties. Her last recorded appearance seems to have been her brief role in Pedro Costa Musté political thriller Redondela (1987), from which the image below is taken.
Text by Nzoog Wahrlfhehen
04 July, 2011
Revisited this 1977 Erwin C. Dietrich produced epic lensed in Switzerland and Portugal (for the jungle exteriors). It's probably the most political of Franco's WIP's with the director himself playing a dissident Physician who attempts to expose the horrors of the prison system which has employed him.
This is not really another of the ILSA series but was originally titled GRETA: HAUS OHNE MANNER, with Dyanne Thorne playing Greta Del Pino, the sadistic, depraved wardress. This is actually a better written, photographed, scored, directed and acted film than any of the ILSA films.
The real thing...
The cannibal climax with Greta as the main course at the flesh feast while the meal is turned into a snuff film by her own strong arm man (Eric Falk) is high genre satire. Or could it be a self-critique of his own participation in the WIP/Cannibal subgenres?
Jess Franco as Doctor Milton Arcos plots to expose Greta's crimes...
A Jess Franco film (Who else?)...