WEISSE HAUT UND SCHWARZEN SCHENKELN (1976)
Robert Kuhn (Khunne?), a customer at an upscale strip club in Zurich watches a dancer closely one night. She comes over to his table and invites him to her apartment. After making love, the dancer suddenly jumps out of the upper story window. She is hospitalized and the customer is jailed. His wife (Pilar Coll) visits him, tells him it is over between them, but promises to help him.
Above: the template?
The wife then visits the club where she meets the owner, Lena (Kali Hansa), who also performs there and was the lover of the hospitalized performer. She invites the wife to her apartment, they make love and she tells the story behind the attempted suicide of her lover. The dancer-lover of Hansa (Diatta Fattou) also appears in the opening credits of DIE SKLAVINNEN (1976), another Dietrich produced, Franco helmed softcore.
A severe, budget imposed minimalism was imposed by producer Erwin C. Dietrich on this quickly made softcore, which was also made into a hardcore variant, as was sometimes the case with Franco’s Dietrich productions, most notably DAS BILDNIS DER DORIANA GRAY, also made in 1976.This is nowhere near the quality of that film. One gets the impression that the hardcore inserts, which inflate this films runtime by about 5 minutes, from 74/75 to 75/80m, were offered to various venues, depending on the law and clientele.
Basically a remake of the much more personal LE JOURNAL INTIME D’UNE NYMPHOMANE (1972), this film represents yet another phase of the director’s career, between the early 1970s burst of personal creativity and looking toward the 1980s Spanish restoration, including the verdant Golden Films Internacional period.
The only real acting comes from Kali Hansi, an always welcome presence in Franco’s universe, who tries her best to create a credible character, mostly succeeding. The budget limits the action to club, apartment, jailhouse interiors which all look like one constantly redressed set. Cheap. But the smoke and mirrors onstage performances, opening with the display of flesh and the gaze of the customer, refreshes memories of the director’s primary theme of the dynamic between performance and watching. Basically, it’s a series of rapidly composed, ingeniously placed cubist compositions within a minimalist framework. The hand of Jess Franco is visible, but the film was doubtless completed in post produced by producer Dietrich. Still, it’s as throwaway of MONDO EROTICO, made the same year under the same circumstances.
This film was thought to be a lost Erwin C Dietrich film (OBSESSION: THE FILMS OF JESS FRANCO and other references) but was rediscovered and remastered in HD in 2014 by the producer and released as part of his JESS FRANCO GOLDEN GOYA COLLECTION. The package includes the soft and hard versions, along with interviews with Eric Falk and Franco.
This is definitely a Jess Franco film, if a decidedly minor effort in the workaday world of the Dietrich porn operation.
(C) Robert Monell, 2015