A blog dedicated to the archaeology of Jess Franco's films and discussion of cult, arthouse, classic, genre and sometimes mainstream films from around the world. Send your reviews to the new email posted below and I will post them or comment below each blog. BLOG CREATED, MODERATED AND EDITED BY ROBERT MONELL: Est. July 2006. The written content of all posts (excepting quotes from reviews, books, other publications) COPYRIGHT ROBERT MONELL and the authors. CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org Art Direction/Blog Design: Kimberly Lindbergs
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TWO FEMALE SPIES WITH FLOWERED PANTIES - The Spanish soundtrack
Below you will find the acting and Spanish dubbing credits of this Jess Franco film. Although it is known in the Anglophone world as Two Female Spies with Flowered Panties under which guise it has circulated in the DVD-R trading market, it may be better known now among Jess Franco fans the world over via the Spanish-language version, known as Ópalo de fuego (Mercaderes del sexo), released on DVD by Manga. For this reason, I have thought that some of the following may be at least of some interest to Franco followers regardless of mother tongue.
Made in 1978, legalized in 1979 and eventually premiered in Spain in 1980, Ópalo de fuego appears to be the first film Jess Franco made on returning to his home country in 1978. The credits on the Spanish version, the only one known to me, state that it is a co-production between Spain and Portugal, although other sources and much of the cast suggest a participation from France’s Eurociné outfit. This is not acknowledged in the Spanish credits. The English-language version appears to stem from the French cut, which is reportedly different in some details from the Spanish equivalent. I am only familiar with the latter.
Among Franco’s films with a Spanish soundtrack, about a third were given sound at the Arcofón studios, and this includes both his Spanish (or partially Spanish) films and a number of entirely foreign productions that got shown on Spanish home video in the 1980s. In this, his homecoming debut, however, Arcofón had no involvement. Either on Franco’s decision or that of the production company Tritón P.C., the studio chosen for the occasion was Sincronía, which had already provided Spanish-language versions of Kubrick’s films, with that director’s personal supervision, and was at the time busying itself with the Spanish-language soundtracks of the Charlie's Angels TV series – itself, like Franco’s film, concerned with female investigators. Sincronía does not figure often in Franco’s filmography: to my knowledge, only two other films of his were dubbed there: the Swiss production Love Letters from a Portuguese Nun and, much later, the eighties spy movie Dark Mission (Flowers of Evil). In Ópalo de fuego, none of the actors, even those who had Spanish, were recalled for post-production. Although Lina Romay was eventually to act as her own preferential voice in the 1980s, the woman we hear in her part here is Paloma Escola – among other occupations, the Spanish voice of Kate Jackson.
Now, Paloma Escola (whose dad, the late Joaquín Escola, can be heard as the voice of Albino Graziani) may come comparatively closer in this role to Romay’s real tones than any her other vocal substitutes – including, in fact, Escola return to the same actress in Aberraciones sexuales de una mujer casada, let alone the high-powered likes of Mari Pe Castro (of El sádico de Notre-Dame) or María Luisa Rubio. It could well be that a guide track was recorded during the shooting of Ópalo de fuego or perhaps it is sheer coincidence but the vocal performance occasionally introduces some high-pitched mannerisms of the sort one would associate more with Romay than Escola.
For many, of course, the most distinctive voice will be that of Víctor Agramunt, who essays the part of Milton, played onscreen by the presumably Portuguese actor Mel Rodrigo. Milton starts out as a screeching caricature gay man until he is later revealed to have been a “straight” undercover agent all the way through, using his effeminate manner as a disguise, whereupon Agramunt’s natural voice can finally be heard – indeed, I was unable to recognize him until this point. Prior to this revelation, audiences had no reason to doubt that Milton was indeed what he appeared to be, particularly in one scene so idiotic as to border on the sublime, wherein Nadine Pascal’s Brigitte attempts to “rape” the poor man on a couch (“Ooooh, how indecent! I’m a virgin and this wicked woman is perverting me!”). I have no record of what comments were made between the voice artists (Agramunt and María Dolores Díaz, who doubles up as one of the kidnapped women) and the other staff present during the dubbing of this scene. It does look, incidentally, as if there was a change of mind during post-production about which of the two personae Milton should be enacting in at least one particular moment: in the epilogue, with Milton at the wheel, Agramunt is heard in his usual voice but Rodrigo is clearly performing the gestures of the character’s fey alter ego. Agramunt, in any case, was later to be heard in more typical form, directing himself as the voice of José Llamas in Viaje a Bangkok, atáud incluido (1985).
Other voices of note include those of the esteemed Claudio Rodríguez, Juan Miguel Cuesta, Luis Porcar and Francisco Arenzana, whose delivery is attached to the character of the police inspector. Arenzana, who was later to dub Franco himself in the video release of Female Vampire, had performed in a film Franco had worked on long before, namely León Klimovsky’s Miedo (1956), starring the Portuguese actor Antonio Vilar with Arenzana’s voice.
As opposed to all of these players, mainly free-lancers, the rest of the vocal cast consists mainly in the in-house talent of Sincronía at the time, starting with its star dubber Luis Carrillo (Olivier Mathot and a very minor waiter role), plus Federico Guillén, Juan Antonio Gálvez (sometimes unrecognizable in the different roles he voices), and Celia Honrubia, who, back in the early sixties, had done narration work in one of Franco’s documentary shorts, acted as the voice of Diana Lorys in The Awful Dr. Orloff). The very deep-voiced Miriam De Maeztu (in real life, incidentally, a former political prisoner) dubs three roles - among them, the Forbes' two female bodyguards (a rare case of doubling up within the same scene, which forces her to slightly distort her natural voice when dubbing the blond henchwoman). María del Puy, no longer a Sincronía exclusive artist but still a regular, is heard briefly as the largely unseen woman held captive in a mansion. The regular voice at the time of Jaclyn Smith and Laura Gemser, among many others, María del Puy also appeared onscreen as the lead in Jorge Darnell’s horror film Devil's Exorcist (1975). Her vocal work for Franco was infrequent: she had dubbed Dina Loy in Rifif in la ciudad and was later to do the same with Catherine Lafferière in Habitación prohibida, the 1980s Spanish release of Les nuits brûlantes de Linda (1975).
After Ópalo de fuego, Franco’s filmography was briefly linked to Fernando Mateo’s Magna studios, this time with more vocal participation from the original actors, not least Franco himself, whose El sádico de Notre-Dame featured what may have been his first vocal performance in Spanish except for his turn in Fernando Fernán-Gómez’s El extraño viaje back in the sixties. After his term at Magna, Franco turned to Arcofón and there he was to remain for most of the remainder of the eighties.
Anyway, here is the list of the actors, vocal players and characters of Ópalo de fuego. They are arranged in the following order from left to right: onscreen actor / voice dubber and character. Most of the film’s characters are listed here, except for a few. I haven’t been able to determine the voice of the guy reading the newspaper at the beginning, the hotel employee who exchanges a few words with Milton after the latter has been talking to the receptionist, the small role of a hippy wearing a beret and the background hippy voices. Acknowledgements to NGL for helping me with this listing.
LINA ROMAY / PALOMA ESCOLA / Cecile Lepaine NADINE PASCAL/ MARÍA DOLORES DÍAZ/ Brigitte Lemoine OLIVIER MATHOT/ LUIS CARRILLO / Senator Connolly MEL RODRIGO/ VICTOR AGRAMUNT/ Milton JOËLLE LE QUÉMENT/ CELIA HONRUBIA / Irina Forbes CLAUDE BOISSON/ LUIS PORCAR/ Ralph Forbes ALBINO GRAZIANI/ JOAQUÍN ESCOLA / Carlos Morales DORIS REGINA / MIRIAM DE MAEZTU/ Dark Forbes henchwoman (VOCAL ROLE)/ JUAN MIGUEL CUESTA/ Cecile’s boss (VOCAL ROLE)/ FEDERICO GUILLÉN / Voice-over presenting Irina’s act (VOCAL ROLE)/ JUAN ANTONIO GÁLVEZ/ Morales’s mad son (ACTOR UNKNOWN) / MARÍA DOLORES DÍAZ / Estrella Shelby (ACTOR UNKNOWN) / MIRIAM DE MAEZTU/ Blonde Forbes henchwoman (ACTOR UNKNOWN)/ FRANCISCO ARENZANA / Inspector (ACTOR UNKNOWN)/ CLAUDIO RODRÍGUEZ/ Consul Baxter (ACTOR UNKNOWN)/ JUAN RAMÓN TORREMOCHA/ Juan, Milton’s hippie friend (ACTOR UNKNOWN)/ JUAN ANTONIO GÁLVEZ/ Elder hippy (ACTOR UNKNOWN)/ MARÍA DEL PUY/ Joan Simon (ACTOR UNKNOWN)/ FEDERICO GUILLÉN / Agent Hernández (ACTOR UNKNOWN)/ MARI LUZ OLIER/ Hippy girl who brings dress (ACTOR UNKNOWN)/ FEDERICO GUILLÉN / Morales bodyguard 1 (ACTOR UNKNOWN)/ JUAN ANTONIO GÁLVEZ/ Morales bodyguard 2 (ACTOR UNKNOWN)/ ÁNGEL EGIDO/ Recepcionist (ACTOR UNKNOWN)/ MIRIAM DE MAEZTU/ Lesbian audience member (ACTOR UNKNOWN)/ JUAN ANTONIO GÁLVEZ/ Porter (ACTOR UNKNOWN)/ LUIS CARRILLO / Waiter