13 July, 2008


A female predator (Rocio Fexias) moves toward a fateful encounter in Jess Franco's GEMIDOS DE PLACER (1982), a remake of PLAISIR A TROIS (1973), credited as "based on the writings by the Marquis de Sade." The impressive villa where the action is set was owned by the film's producer, Golden Films Internacional S.A. founder/CEO, Emilio Larraga.

Franco has said there are approximately 20 shots in this film, but I have counted over 30 at various times based on my viewings of the old Caliente Video from Million Dollar Video Corporation (cropped at 1.33:1) Spanish language VHS and this 2006 Spanish DVD. This DVD version is part of the CINE EROTICO ESPANOL series- CLASIFICADA "S", licensed from VIDEO MERCURY FILMS S.A., Formato 4:3 [non-anamorphic, and it shows]; Mono; Multizona "0"; DVD5; aprox. 83 min. Genero: Erotica; Boutique Multimedia S.l. Grupo Edider 88, S.L. there's even a Madrid ground mail, and this web address www.internacionaldersa88.com


"Una presumible orgia con un desenlace soprendenta" [or, as I said to Jess when we first met: "Lo siento, no hablo Espanol"]

Back copy: [Un liberal matrimonio quieren probar a realizar un trio sexual con una amiga de ambos. Pero en relaidad la utilizan para matarse el uno al otro con argucias y todo tipo de artimanas. El desenlace es sorpendente."]

Anyone who has seen it knows it's a great film, one of Franco's most personal and experimental works. It unfolds in flashback, narrated by mentally challenged guitar player, Funol (DP Juan Soler Cozar, dubbed by Jess Franco himself]. The extended takes suggest a link to Hitchcock's ROPE, also a story of murderers and their victim. The opening take, zooming slowly back from a yacht in Alicante Bay to pan over the villa, its swimming pool and a floating dead body (cf SUNSET BOULEVARD), is a tour de force.  A tale told by an idiot signifying the corruption of its four main characters, two of whom will die in paroxysms of sexual violence during the course of the film.

This opening immediately recalls the stunning plan sequence which opens Orson Welles' noir masterpiece TOUCH OF EVIL. The constantly probing camera here is as much of a character as the occupants of the villa. Like Hitchcock and Welles, the director wants to make us complicit in the following action, which is a study in casual amorality. The camera is always a voyeur in any film, but Franco takes this concept to its absolute limit here. With very little dialogue and an overwhelmingly toxic ambiance, offset by Funol's wandering guitar improvisations, the film becomes a kind of Sadean daydream ending in death, decay and a silent scream recorded from a final God's-eye camera angle.
 I find this DVD to be lacking in the kind of sharpness, detail, luminosity and color I prefer (cf. Severin's glowing releases of MACUMBA SEXUAL; LA MANSION DE LOS MUERTOS VIVENTES). The opening reel is plagued with visible print damage involving specs, which recurs at reel changes, but it's not very distracting, but it IS there. Also, this doesn't seem to me to be a full 2.35:1 presentation. Maybe closer to 2.20:1. I don't measure these things, but that's my approximation. The only extra is a scene access.

Still, it looks very good compared to the DVD-R's and videos going around, it's acceptable, but not ideal, and, of course, there are no English options of any kind.

So, let's see if there's any interest in a new anamorphic 2.35:1 OAR R1 release w/English subtitles available.

I wish for a new, HD transfer of this. That's why I keep bringing it up here.

Thanks to Francesco Cesari for sending this DVD and the screenshot.

(C) Robert Monell, 2008-2016 [Updated]


Unknown said...

I'd love to see this one on an English subtitled DVD.

Steve Langton said...

One of many Franco flicks that has thus far eluded me, and also one that I've yearned to see for ages. Good to see you trumpeting this one for release.

Tim Lucas said...

It would rank high on my Severin wish list, as well.

scott said...

yes, does severin read this blog??? I mailed them when i got the first Golden set telling them to release it. I don't know... can we start a petition, Bob??

Robert Monell said...

yes, does severin read this blog??? I mailed them when i got the first Golden set telling them to release it. I don't know... can we start a petition, Bob??

Severin most certainly does read this blog, Scott. I'm not certain if a petition would work but it might get some attention if enough people spoke up. I'm especially pleased to see that a well known and repected critic like Tim Lucas has come here to give it his support.

scott said...

I still find it disheartening though... :( seems we'll never get a proper version of this LORNA