EL FRANCONOMICON / I'M IN A JESS FRANCO STATE OF MIND

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LA NOCHE DE LOS SEXOS ABIERTOS (1981)

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NOTE: This Golden Films Internacional production has never had any kind of U.S. VHS, DVD, Blu-ray release, although it has been available on the gray market and online. I would say that it’s about time to have a North American debut of this fascinating, highly entertaining, visually entrancing title, preferably on Blu-ray. This article is based on the 1994 KING HOME VIDEO: COLECCION CINE EROTICO Spanish release. 

Moira (Lina Romay) is a sexy cabaret stripper by night and a secret agent by day. She is attempting to gain information on the Segunda Guerra Mundial, an international criminal group who are about to locate a hidden consignment of gold bars which was secreted beneath the desert during the last days of the Nazis.

Private detective Al Crosby is also on the trail of the gold and teams up with Moira. Eventually, Prof. Von Klaus provides a complex code which, when deciphered, will reveal the location. Moira is briefly captured by the opposition, tortured, and then freed by Al. They make a concerted effort to break the word puzzle, and finally succeed in locating Von Klaus’s desert villa, in which there is a secret room containing the gold.

First, the right notes have to be played on an organ which will electronically trigger the lock mechanism. It involves musical notation from a Liszt composition. When Moira performs the piece, the door opens and the treasure awaits them. The only problem is that the counter-agents have pursued them by helicopter and plan to relieve Al and Moira of their newly found fortune.

Considering the fact that Jess Franco has returned to Euro-spy genre again and again throughout his career, it would seem the genre holds a special fascination for him, as well as providing the trickster director with narrative action that functions as a necessary backdrop to his trademark erotic scenes, personal touches, visual spirals, barbed jests wpid-img_9117923194936.jpegand private conundrums.

Filmed on exotic locations in the Canary Islands this plays like a very outre James Bond detour, embedded with layers of codified musical, cinema, pulp fiction references. Decipher a linguistic code rewards the searches with the location of the gold, if not the entire fortune, but the decoding also involves a musical code, based on Liszt, whose music inspired the Jess Franco written score and scenario for the director’s SINFONIA EROTICA (1979). An even more hermetic joke is that Franco credits a non-existent Liszt composition as the source inspiration.

It is impossible to separate the sex from
any generic conventions at this point in Franco’s career. His later Euro-spy feature DARK MISSION (1988), offers evidence that he could leave aside the obsessive focus on eroticism and make a relatively straight commercial product, but as this more personal early 80s period and his recent films show Franco is at his best when he is
allowed to be Franco.

LA NOCHE… opens with a deliriously filmed strip by Lina Romay, performed in the driver’s seat of a classic fifties American car. This all takes place in an ultra-glitzy night spot, where the sexy action is bathed in gorgeous neon hues. Lina’s gyrations and Franco’s camera work and lighting design seem in perfect harmony this time around, and the sequence is hypnotic.

There are many shootings, double crosses, torture sessions (one outrageously borders on a XXX level of sado-erotic intensity), exotic locales, and Lina Romay has never looked more appealing. 
 (C) Robert Monell: new version (C) 2019

Written by Robert Monell

10 septiembre 2019 a 11:35 PM

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