Saturday, April 29, 2006

Venus In Furs

1970. What a year that must have been!
My initial reaction to this film ran: "if I see one more "Incident at Owl Creek Bridge..."--Then I relaxed. This hit theatres in 1970, no need to bash the first few versions..And this one had a great jazz soundtrack. I picked the film up because Klaus Kinski is in the film, forever on my must watch list since "Little Drummer Girl" -- or was it "Fitzcarraldo"? This film has an Italian Director, Jess Franco, apparently known for his better than average "exploitation" films. This is apparently one of them..
Nice images and some worn psychedelic images accompany the softcore, James Darren plays his own solos and peppers his narrative with hip cat phraseology. Some risque interracial romance, 2 great songs and a delightful jazz coda mix with the blood and the sex and the calling of the demons. Klaus is reduced to a patrician madman orchestrating the erotic violence that sets the picture in motion.
My reaction mellowed and tempers itself on reflection and watching the extras. A nice interview with the director reveals that he initially intended for the main character to be a black trumpeter. His backers, in their eternal wisdom, assured him that was the fast track to disaster. Not an unsatisfying film on the whole, and I will look for more "Franco" films.

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