(the X-Rated French Version)
Directed by Jess Franco
Written by Peter Welbeck
Cast: Maria Schell, Mercedes McCambridge, Maria Rome, Rosalba Neri, Herbert Lom
1.66:1 Anamorphic/French/France/NTSC Region 0
Review from Blue Underground DVD
A group of women are bought into a woman’s prison run by cruel and sadistic wardens (Herbert Lom and Mercedes McCambridge). Thanks to their arrival there are now ninety-nine women in this hellish shit-hole.
One would imagine that exploitation master Jess Franco doing a women in prison (WIP) film might be the greatest idea ever, but somehow Franco does not hit all the right buttons in this film. While, McCambridge (who, for the initiated, played the voice of the possessed Regan in THE EXCORCIST) and Lom (Hammer’s PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and MARK OF THE DEVIL) are amazing in the roles, and the rest of the cast, for the most part, are adequate enough, there little else to praise here.
The other praise goes to the looks of the impressive female cast. They are stunningly beautiful. The most breathtaking woman, to me, was Rosalba (LADY FRANKENSTEIN) Neri, who plays the seductive and sexy Zoe. Her character is an antagonist to our heroines, but I cannot help but feel that she is, towards the end of the film, underused.
The movie is schizophrenic and cannot decide if it is a sleazy WIP, an art film, a hardcore porno, or a well acted drama. Due to the fact that everything gets throw-in it fails to actually be any of these. The hardcore sex lacks any heat whatsoever. So tight are the close-ups that they come off as either some gynecological study or blurred flesh. At other times, the sex scenes are shot with reds, in an attempt to make an arty sex scene. Well. Argento directing a Vivid film, this ain’t either. Fast forwarding through a whole porn scene is never a good sign for the quality of smut material you are watching, but that is exactly what I did here. The movie has the erotic appeal of watching paint dry. Some of the lesbian sex is hot, but, the last one is a snoozer. Throw in the fact that every fucking hardcore scene is a clearly and totally obvious body doubled, by people who, at times, look nothing like the cast, you wonder why the fuck they even bothered.
In fact, the film’s greatest failing is that of being a bore. I found it hard to stay involved and awake. Even the climax, is flatly directed. The ending is cool, but it is too little, too late.
Blue Underground lets 99 WOMEN escape to DVD finally. For this review, I looked at the French version of the film. While, I have never seen the other cuts, this one is the longest edit of the film that exists. Being that this is advertised as the X-rated French version, it won’t take a genius to figure out what is the major difference between this one and the other cuts.
The film is presented in its original 1.66:1 anamorphic aspect ratio. The image has some artifacting, but for the most part, has some nice colors, overall. The movie’s original French language, though in mono, comes off nice and clear and has some good levels. The English subtitles are clear and easy to read and not intrusive on the viewing of the film. There are no extras, whatsoever, not even a lousy, fucking trailer.
The active menu is pretty cool and has the theme played over it. Here, you can access the 24 chapters the movie is broken up in. The disc comes in a clear keep-case. While, there is no inlay card, it does have its chapters listed on the inside cover. The cover, I gotta say, looks pretty damn cool.
There are no extras.
This Film Features:
Review by Giovanni Deldio. All Right Reserved. 2007. ©
You can purchase this DVD at our official sponser by clicking on the image above.