22 December, 2007

Best Jess Franco DVD of 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

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