07 April, 2014

EUROCINE 33 CHAMPS-ELYSEES; Un Documentaire De Christophe Bier

Future Eurocine CEO Daniel Lesoeur stands behind Spanish director Joaquin Romero Marchent on the set of the Spanish lensed Eurowestern, LA VENGANZA DEL ZORRO (1962), co written by Jess Franco and co-produced by Eurocine, Paris.
TWO FEMALE SPIES WITH FLOWERED PANTIES, ZOMBIE LAKE, ORLOFF AND THE INVISIBLE MAN, HELLTRAIN, THE AWFUL DR. ORLOF, CANNIBAL TERROR, CRIMSON, GOLDEN TEMPLE AMAZONS, MANIAC KILLER, PANTHER SQUAD, THE HOUSE OF THE LOST DOLLS, OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES, the list of lurid titles goes on and on. And they all were produced or co-produced by the same French company, Eurocine, located on 33 Champs-Elysees in Paris, France, and still operating as an archive for DVD and Blu-ray releases of European Trash Cinema cult items directed by such legendary European tyros as Jean Rollin, Jess Franco, Pierre Chevalier, to name to a few. Women in Prison films, Nazi sexploitation, no-budget westerns, cheap horror movies, tacky crime films, white slavery epics, mad doctor tales were the stock in trade from the 1960s onward

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For those of us who collect, watch, rewatch and treasure these films, Eurocine was an overflowing font of twisted joy. This lovingly put together, highly amusing and information packed documentary tells the story of this wayward company from the days following World War II when a carnival exhibition hustler named Marius Lesoeur began renting out rides and sets to small film companies in Spain and then in France. Eurocine was founded by Lesoeur in the early 1960s and is now run by his son, Daniel.

Presented and narrated by Cinema Bis enthusiast Christopher Bier, who has amassed a fascinating and entertaining array of rare film clips from such obscure Eurocine productions as BILLY THE KID, a 1963 French Spanish western featuring future Jess Franco actor Jack Taylor (SUCCUBUS, FEMAL:E VAMPIRE) as a black clad villain, the lurid Parisian sex thriller, PIGALLE CARREFOUR DES ILLUSIONS with Alice Arno (THE COUNTESS PERVERSE), the atrocious Le Bad Cinema cannibal classic, CANNIBAL TERROR, Jean Rollin's Z minus zombie epic, LE LAC DES MORTS VIVANTS [aka ZOMBIE LAKE], the terror rampage of an invisible ape in Peter Knight's ORLOFF AND THE INVISIBLE MAN and Jess Franco's first horror film, GRITOS EN LA NOCHE. Everyone from American TV western (THE RIFLEMAN) actor Chuck Connors to Sybil Danning (PANTHER SQUAD) to WALKING TALL's Bo Svenson (MANIAC KILLER) ended up working for Eurocine as the 70s and 1980s progressed. Name directors like Jess Franco and Jean Rollin found homes there when other work opportunities dried up.

"Dan Simon" Eurocine beard for Jess Franco...

We are shown through the closets of Daniel Lesoeur which still contain the zombie masks from OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES, among other rubber treasures. A tour is also given by Lesoeur of the family country estate which hosted the shoots of ZOMBIE LAKE, Jess Franco's BRUTAL NIGHTS OF LINDA and many other enterprises. We see the staircases and rooms where many familiar scenes were lensed at double time at reduced rates of payment for crews and actors. Monica Swinn (the wardress in BARBED WIRE DOLLS), Roger Darton (the investigator in WOMEN BEHIND BARS), Jean-Pierre Bouyxou (Dr. Orloff in FEMALE VAMPIRE and the writer of a Eurocine Nazi exploitationer) talk about the ins and outs, ups and downs of working for such a company. Patrice Rhomm (FRAULEIN ELSA SS), Alain Deruelle (CANNIBAL TERROR) and Gilbert Rousel explain how they managed to direct feature films with little or no time and resources. It's all very entertaing and instructive to those who may want to do likewise. As Bouyxou points out, any company which could have produced a no-budget masterpiece like Jess Franco's FEMALE VAMPIRE can't be all bad.

DVD Eurociné 33 Champs-Elysées, Le Film DVD Eurociné 33 Champs-Elysées en vente sur RDM-EDITION, achat et vente du DVD Film Eurociné 33 Champs-Elysées de Christophe Bier.

The RDM EDITION DVD is 16/9 color, stereo. French with optional English subtitles.15 minutes of Bonus materials including a stills gallery.

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