01 January, 2008


Poster for the original French version of MEXICAN SLAYRIDE.

Coplan III
Coplan cambia de piel
Spain (working title)
Entre las redes
Spain (dubbed version)
Frank Collins 999 - Mit Chloroform geht's besser
West Germany
Mexican Slayride
Moresque: obiettivo allucinante
West Germany
Tulitusta Meksikossa

In its full length, OAR format this is one of my favorite Eurospy films of the 1960s due to the fascinating, stylized direction of the great Riccardo Freda. MEXICAN SLAYRIDE is actually the radically truncated English language version of Freda's COPLAN OUVRE LE FEU A MEXICO. The original French version is reportedly 98m long, I'll be reviewing that alternate version (I have a tape of the letterboxed, but still incomplete longer version in French language only) in a future blog.

French Secret Service Agent Francis Coplan (Lang Jeffries) is sent to Mexico to investigate the murder of a colleague who was about to expose an international art smuggling operation. The famous artworks were stolen by the Nazi's during World War II but another group now controls them and is using the proceeds from art auctions to build an underground installation from which a series of a tunnels will lead to the construction of a secret missile base under the Texas ranch of LBJ!

The basic plot is very similar to one of the James Coburn FLINT films of the same period. Future director Bertrand Tavernier (COUP DE TORCHON) worked on the script for the French language version. It's based on Paul Kenney's novel COPLAN FIAT PEAU NEUVE (Ed. Fleuve Noir). It was Freda's second Coplan film, after 1965's COPLAN CASSE TOUT which featured Richard Wyler in the title role. Both were partially financed/distributed by Robert de Nesle's Comptoir Films.

I really can't discuss the merits (and they are considerable) of this film based on this hideously panned and scanned presentation. Originally lensed in Cataluna, Spain, and Paris in 2.35:1 Techniscope, a format which Freda mastered to create dynamic, efficient, striking compositions, it is both ugly and incomprehensible in this flat, grossly incomplete version. It's just 55 minutes long! That means that 40 plus minutes is missing. After 30 minutes of playing it simply jump cuts to last 20 minutes of action, leaving a gaping 40-plus minute hole in the middle! [World Wide Video Inc. Presents, St. Regis Films International Ltd.] If you happen to dig up this ancient video, avoid watching it at all costs.

I'm not aware of any complete, English language version of this title on any home video format, and I wonder if it ever played theatrically in the US. The French version is available from some grey markets, but also has some problems, as I will outline. I am still looking for the [reportedly longest] Spanish dubbed version, ENTRE LAS REDES. If anyone has it or knows where to find it or a longer version in good video quality please contact me.

(C) Robert Monell, 2007

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