31 December, 2007
A VIDEO VERITÉ DOCUMENTING THE MAKING OF JESS FRANCO'S "BLIND TARGET"
SHOT IN MALAGA, SPAIN IN THE YEAR 2000 BY BRIAN D. HORRORWITZ
ADDITIONAL CAMERA WORK BY KEVIN COLLINS, LINNEA QUIGLEY AND LINA ROMAY ORIGINAL SCORE BY THE UBANGIS
ON SALE DECEMBER 31st, 2007!
2 DISC SET INCLUDES:FEATURE MOVIE (84 minutes) EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH JESS FRANCO (25 minutes) OUTTAKES AND DELETED FOOTAGE (50 minutes) PHOTO GALLERY WITH COMPLETE SCORE (21 minutes)"ANTENA CRIMINAL" WORLD PREMIERE (8 minutes) TRAILER (3 minutes) LINER NOTES BY MONDO MACABRO'S PETE TOMBS
PLUS: A FREE DVD OF JESS FRANCO'S "BLIND TARGET"!
ONLY $11.98 PLUS SHIPPING!
30 December, 2007
(C) Robert Monell, 2007
28 December, 2007
Please click on the Margaret Lee Tribute Site link on the sidebar to examine this site devoted to the British actress who appeared in European spy, war, horror, crime, erotic films of the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Included are numerous images of her in THE ROGUE and other exploitation features of that time period. There is also a video of ARRIVA DORELLIK (1968), an Italian produced fumetti style parody, along with vintage film posters and magazine covers on which she posed.
27 December, 2007
Black Emanuelle's Box 2 (4-Disc Limited Edition)
dir. Brunello Rondi + Adalberto Albertini (as Albert Thomas) + Aristide Massaccesi (as Joe D'Amato
26 December, 2007
25 December, 2007
23 December, 2007
To quote my original imdb review, based on a rather fuzzy video dupe with no English options:
"An erotic, virtual reality puzzle for the adventurous viewer..., 7 August 2000Author: bobmonell from New York
LA BELLE CAPTIVE may be Robbe-Grillet's most entertaining and accomplished film. It dazzles the eye by creating a series of secret encounters inspired by Magritte's surrealist painting, which the director named his film after. You don't have to know anything about art to enjoy this film, though. Motifs from vampire films and erotic thrillers are interwoven with more hermetic scenes, but it's somehow all held together by the repeated image of a black clad woman riding a motorcycle. The central situation of a man on a mysterious sexual mission and some individual scenes bear a striking resemblance to Stanley Kubrick's EYES WIDE SHUT (1999). "
In fact, now that they are both on DVD, a double bill of LA BELLE CAPTIVE and EYES WIDE SHUT would be most provocative. A Master Class on how two geniuses approach the same material.
Let's hope the rest of his compelling filmography (especially his early b&w L'IMMORTELLE, TRANS EUROPE EXPRESS, THE MAN WHO LIES, all of which will be reviewed on this blog in 2008) follows suit, including his most recent GRADIVA, which put local French critics in the attack mode.
Having heard Robbe-Grillet discourse on his cinema I can only hope the octogenarian is invited to do one of his charming commentaries by a enterprising DVD company on a much desired SE digital presentation of any of the above mentioned titles.
(c) 2000-2007 Robert Monell
22 December, 2007
Main title sequence in 2.35:1, from the 2007 Severin Films DVD.
Severin Film's luminous, vividly colorful 2.35:1/16:9 transfer, from the original Golden Films Internacional elements, of Jess Franco's 1982 THE INCONFESSABLE ORGIES OF EMMANUELLE presents this foray into early 80's erotica in its original Spanish language version with optional English subtitles along with the English language track for the rarely seen export version, EMMANUELLE EXPOSED.
A highly underrated and widely misunderstood title which is usually dismissed as a tame rip-off of the French and Italian Emmanuelle series. It may be a rip-off, and Jess Franco himself states in the informative supplemental interview that it wasn't meant to be an Emmanuelle film at all, but discerning viewers and Franco regulars will want this in their collection his unique, iconoclastic critique of those films. Given the limitations of French TV actress Muriel Montosse (billed here as Vicky Adams). Franco made a subversive satire on the moral hypocrisy of the Latin stud in disco era Spain, a subtle comedy of sexual mores, an illustration of how men view and use women. Elegantly designed, circular in structure, it's much more than a mindless rip-off and it's genuinely erotic.
This is a more layered and personal film than another Muriel Montosse-Jess Franco collaboration from the same period, ABERRACIONES SEXUALES DE UNA MUJER CASADA (1981).*
For a much longer review of Severin's INCONFESSABLE ORGIES..just type the title into the blog's search engine. Severin also released a 2.35:1 high quality transfer of Franco's Sadean erotic melodrama, THE SEXUAL STORY OF O (1981), another Golden Films Internacional production which is also very much worth seeing.
There were also a number of R2 DVD releases of Jess Franco films, notably from Spain and the UK. I'll mention them in an upcoming blog. Probably the most disappointing Franco disc of the year was Dark Sky's COUNT DRACULA, which was in excellent video quality but missing some important footage found in previous home video presentations. My review of that DVD is also in the blog archives.
*Blue Underground will release the French language version of ABERRACIONES....(Retitled CECILIA), post production/dubbing supervised by Eurocine and Olivier Mathot(aka Claude Plaut), in January 2008. This version is reportedly around 105m, the longest run time yet. I've seen the shorter, English language alternate of CECILIA, which somewhat alters Franco's intentions. The original Spanish language track of this would be highly desirable, but it should be an interesting release. We'll be covering that and BU's upgraded EUGENIE (1970) asap, in the meantime hit the Video Watchblog link on the sidebar for a preview of the latter. I haven't seen BU's 2007 discs of WOMEN BEHIND BARS (1975) and CANNIBALS (1980) mainly because the only language options were the English dub tracks.
(C) Robert Monell, 2007
21 December, 2007
19 December, 2007
Both the offer and the movie itself are jokes: me kidding the just-got-to-have-it-by-Xmas rush and Jess Franco doing a critique/parody on all the post HALLOWEEN post slashers.
I'll even throw in a quiz. What is the name of the Clinic Director Jess Franco plays in this film?
If you get this you don't get 10% off on postage!
There will be more Jess Franco Christmas items to come...
17 December, 2007
Kimberly Lindbergs, the talented Web Designer and creative force behind the CINEBEATS blog, has given our valued blog readers and myself a very special Christmas present: a terrific new blog design! It's the best kind of present since it can be enjoyed by all who behold it and will last all year round.
I have been a fan and regular reader of Kimberly's elegantly designed, thoughtfully written blog since I came upon it. Her reviews, profiles, essays, perceptively focus on all kinds of cinema from the 1960's and 1970's: mainstream, international arthouse classics, gialli, Eurohorror, Japanese Pink films, to name but a few areas she regularly covers. She also presents informative profiles of cult movie actors from the past, from Hollywood legends to Japanese performers who might not be that well known in the West outside of Asian Cult Cinema collectors. Since I am also a big time fan of all things 1960's and 70's CINEBEATS has become an oasis. A place to go to get away from the stress of the modern world and current Pop Culture, which I really can't relate to very much.
If you haven't discovered CINEBEATS you are in for a treat: http://www.cinebeats.com/
You can meet and greet Kimberly here: http://cinebeats.blogsome.com/2007/11/22/meet-greet/
(C) Robert Monell, 2007
14 December, 2007
08 December, 2007
Transvestites, transsexuals, stippers, prostitutes, sex slaves of a thousand sexes, and combinations of all these categories, populate the low rent world of LES EBRANLEES, surrounding a morally clueless Howard Vernon. This is a difficult film to like, even for the Jess Franco veteran, and it's certainly not for the JF novice/curious. "Vibrating Girls" [there doesn't seem to be an English friendly version on video and it's unclear if it ever played theatrically in any English language print] plays as a rather confusing mess in which some footage may been lost due to an overused source print.
The fullscreen French video under consideration here lends new meaning to the term "squeezed" in that the image is tortuously stretched to fill the frame and beyond, creating an extremely distorted image. It looks like it came from a battered 35mm print which played every grindhouse in France before being buried for a few decades. This seems somehow appropriate considering this an an ultra-sleazy (even for Jess Franco) foray into a feral Euro-underworld uncovered by the director's favorite private eye, Al Pereira.
The detective has been ably portrayed by Eddie Constantine in the 60s (Attack of the Robots) and Antonio Mayans in the 1980s (Camino solitario, etc.). Vernon, usually appearing as a villain in roles for Franco, Fritz Lang (The 1000 Eyes of Dr Mabuse), and Godard (Alphaville) here shows he is just as adept as the lowdown, but somewhat ethical (considering the company) protagonist who eventually earns sympathy just because he manages to keep a haggard dignity in the midst of the human trash he must deal with. I don't think any other actor could have given this grade Z crime obscurity a sense of gravity amid its porno designation. LES EBRANLEES is all about sex and greed with torture and murder thrown in. It's a termite neo-noir/sexy crime number drowned in blood, sweat and tears.
The plot synopsis published in OBSESSION: THE FILMS OF JESS FRANCO bears little or no relation to the version under consideration here. But since the continuity is so choppy, and that it seems to have been designed as a kind of soft-core loop with nude dances, strips, and sex scenes taken as autonomous elements which could be placed at any point within the very brief run time, it's hard then to offer an alternative scenario. Al seems to be investigating a drug/prostitution operation in which a strip club and a nearby hotel are used as staging areas. After brushing off some pimps and thugs, he is abducted by Hansa and threatened by club owner Thomas. Told to shut up and look out for trouble, he hides out with a stripper (Montserrat Prous) attempting to use the sex slave to infiltrate the criminal organization. One could write a separate essay on the delicate beauty of Montserrat Prous in her Jess Franco roles. She has a look which could be described as injured innocence, rather than corrupted innocence. And she plays that role to the bitter end here.
A lot of the runtime is taken up with Al driving his vintage compact from nightclub to nightclub where he lingers to watch live sex performances. This is the world Jess Franco is adept at creating. There is little differentiation between the scenes which telegraph information. Prous' stripper can charm Al out of his isolation, but when she is tortured to death by the club owner [Doris Thomas] and amazon Hansa [Marisol Hernandez] his revenge is impulsive and furious. The final scene has the sexually ambiguous Dany Sam gutting nude sex partner Anne Libert with a mean looking blade only to get the same treatment while the weapon is still dripping with her victim's blood. But there is more to it than that. Al literally sinks into a universe of moral slime as the sea laps at the beach a few meters away. It's a depressing conclusion which is part of a long list of Jess Franco films which end with the protagonist at the edge of the ocean (VENUS IN FURS, NECRONOMICON, etc).
The ending recycles us back to beginning in vintage adult loop fashion: The action commences in the middle of an erotic performance (cf: Succubus (1967), Exorcism (1974) at a trashy nightclub where trashy patrons gawk at leather clad Kali Hansa vibrating over a red and white checkerboard stage to the frenetic Janin and Hermel electrified lounge score. The most erotic segment is a minimalist striptease by Montie Prous (who knows that the tease is more important than the strip) as she removes nothing more than her black leather gloves, taunting the viewer directly as Franco allows her to drink in the camera lens with her wide, seductive eyes. It may be the sexiest scene in Franco's entire filmography, and that's really saying something! The lounge-jazz-rock of Daniel Janin-Robert Hermel goes down a lot easier than the film it supports. I'd certainly welcome it on CD.
Memorable moments include Hansa getting the drop on Al by holding a gun to his private parts, and Al's slow burn when he discovers the stripper has been murdered. These arresting, brief encounters in an episodic, repetitive structure leave brands which play in the memory long after the porno loop design burns itself out. Alternately hypnotic and narcotic, this is a rather grim tidbit which will be of interest to Franco collectors due to its long standing unavailability on video and to those who need to see another chapter in one of the director's longest running roadshows-the Al Pereira Chronicles.Franco's customary appearance is one of his hardest to spot cameos, partaking in some kind of depraved drug/sex orgy, he is seen stoned amidst the nude gamers in the red lit room behind the curtain which Al investigates on his way to bloody revenge. I assume this is the French Videobox release. I've been watching it for the better part of two decades and I would appreciate an upgraded altenative. I would like to see it in its OAR with an English language option to better evaluate the complicated plot and Franco's contribution as director, but don't expect it on R1 DVD anytime soon. Janin and Robert Hermel also composed an equally outre score for Franco's 1973 Sade adaptation, PLAISIR A TROIS.
I have more recently seen a more accurately letterboxed version which reveals even more atmospheric details of the settings, both interior and exteriors. This erotic factor is almost cancelled out by the violence, which resembles the American "roughies" of the 1960s directed by R. Lee Frost, Michael and Roberta Findlay (The Curse of Her Flesh), not to mention the "Olga" series. But this friendless Jess Franco film really does deserve an OAR, HD restoration.
(C) Robert Monell, 20020