Tuesday, February 7, 2012

45. PLAISIR A TROIS (1974)

"Pleasure For Three" is one of many films that writer-director Jess Franco signed in the 1970s with the name Clifford Brown, which invoked the memory of a bop trumpet genius who died in a 1956 car accident when he was only 25 -- circumstances similar to those attending the 1970 death of Franco's great star discovery, Soledad Miranda. It's a story that he told several times in several forms, adapted from the writings of the Marquis de Sade (uncredited here), previously as EUGENIE... THE STORY OF HER JOURNEY INTO PERVERSION (1969) and later again as GEMIDOS DE PLACER (1983), among other films.

Martine de Bressac (Alice Arno, pictured) is released from a mental hospital after committing a razor murder and returns to her family chateau, where her husband Charles (Robert Woods) intrigues her in the acquisition of an innocent houseguest (Tanya Busselier) with the intention of first corrupting her, then adding her to Martine's dungeon "wax museum" of paralyzed conquests. The film focuses more on erotic excess than its scary synopsis might imply, and shows that Franco's mind was still haunted by the loss of Soledad four years earlier; much time is spent on an extended restaging of the "Dare" game sequence from EUGENIE DE SADE (1970). The film also features Howard Vernon in an unusually thankless role as the family chauffeur (he doubled as the film's stills photographer under his real name, Mario Lippert) and Lina Romay, still early in her association with Franco and only beginning to surface to more prominent roles, this time playing a mute, halfwitted maid of the Bressacs. Released in the UK under the deceptively frivolous title HOW TO SEDUCE A VIRGIN, this film never had a US release and it has only surfaced on video as VHS releases from Videobox and Fil à Film (France). Certainly intriguing, but not equal to the best work Franco was making for producer Robert de Nesle during this extraordinarily fertile and rewarding period, which yielded something like 25 films between 1971 and the end of 1973. The Amazonian Arno, always better in supporting roles, was put to more effective use in the subsequent "Hounds of Zaroff" pastiche LA COMTESSE PERVERSE.

Viewed as a Cinemageddon download, in French with fan-subtitles.

3 comments:

  1. Coming soon from Mondo Macabro!

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  2. I look forward to Mondo Macabro's release. A cleaner-looking presentation might make some difference as to how I feel about it.

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