Amusing softcore Erotica... Disappointing transfer from Seve
dooby | 11/02/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is a German take on the classic Emmanuelle. An Austrian convent schoolgirl inherits her uncle's string of brothels in the Far East. She flies off to Hong Kong to experience the naughty Orient. She is introduced to sex (what else) in all its forms, straight, lesbian, and forced - She finds a particular attraction in the latter - probably all those bare-bottomed spankings at the convent. Sex scenes here are of the very softcore variety (The whipping scenes are limp, lame and some of the least convincing around - good for a laugh though). Olivia Pascal is absolutely lovely as are two of the other ladies but the rest of the cast far less so. The Chinese women in particular were sadly wholly unattractive. Hong Kong is full of pretty Chinese girls so it's a wonder how they ended up with this sorry lot. Director Hubert Frank himself admits that they were "ugly" - his reminiscence about how he found them at the local strip-club is funny - they looked good when he hired them in the dark, but he got the shock of his life when he saw them again in the clear light of day. Acting quality is par for course in a softcore flick - fairly mediocre. As mildly amusing erotica, it's a pleasant enough way to spend the evening. Just sample the corny scene featuring the opening notes of Strauss' "Also Sprach Zarathustra" (the famous music from 2001) as Jackie the blonde woman slowly opens her thighs to the entranced Prince Bandar. Couldn't stop laughing. Or witness Bandar's skills in psychic sex - and especially his ability to induce telepathic orgasms. Plus it's nice to see pretty women with natural body hair for a change - this film was made before the hairless barbie-doll revolution swept the world.
The transfer from Severin is rather disappointing. It's presented in 1.78:1 widescreen (anamorphic). It's acceptable but a full notch below Severin at its best. The print shows its age. Although it's been cleaned up, there are quite a few instances of print damage which are left uncorrected, some glaringly obvious. The print overall is dark and lacking in definition. It is soft, sometimes, blurry, although that is partly due to the photography. It is grainy. The colours are dull and quite lifeless - flat. Hong Kong never looked duller than here. But the picture in and of itself is quite watchable. What I did not like was the removal of the original German soundtrack. We are instead given a very badly dubbed English audio track with everybody sounding faintly American. I get very irritated by dubbing, especially when it's badly done. I would have loved to hear Olivia speaking in her own voice but alas no. The credits are all in German. The main Extra is a half-hour interview with Director and DP; all in German with obligatory English subtitles (burnt in). There is a 15-minute long wordless "Making of" featurette plus the original theatrical trailer. Worth a rental. Buy only if you're a die-hard fan of the lovely Olivia Pascal."
Classic finally gets a proper DVD release
Steven Gallo | New York City | 10/15/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've been a big fan of "Vanessa" ever since it started airing on cable TV in the late 70's. Of course, that was a cut version, and I have since bought a bootleg uncut version on ebay. Truth is, if one is looking for sex, this movie won't do the trick as it is softcore and really doesn't go too far. I don't understand the tagline of "some of the most talked-about scenes in European softcore history" because it seems kinda tame. Maybe in 1977 it was hotter softcore? Every girl does seem to take her top off in seemingly every scene so there are no shortage of boobs, that's for sure.
It really doesn't matter because while it has some hot girls in it, it was always the story, locales, music and photography that made me such a big fan. The film has a great "feel" to it, and it obviously got to a lot of people because this film does have its cult audience.
Olivia Pascal as Vanessa is a very beautiful girl who inherits land and bordellos in Hong Kong. But her new friend Jackie steals the show in a much livelier performance.
The characters are all pretty sleazy and like to screw each other over, in the dramatic sense and also quite literally. There's even a touch of black magic to makes things even more interesting.
The DVD release is incredible, as the film has been totally restored and looks gorgeous. And the extras! Who would have thought this film would get such great extras? Interviews, the original trailer, and home movies taken on the film set!
Definitely a lot of fun, and worth it if you are into this kind of thing. This will probably be out of print fast so better get this quickly!"
Well, if your into buyer's remorse...
SciFi/Fantasy Fan | Greater Washington D.C. | 12/22/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Campy writing, campy acting, a hilariously campy theme song, campy (hopefully fake) monkey brains, campy telekinetic wizard-sex?, campy female tourists, campy misogynist-pig men, really campy voodo, not so campy colonial mentality, AND.....OLIVIA PASCAL NAKED!!! THAT'S GOT TO BE WORTH [...], RIGHT? Um...maybe not. Seriously though, if your curiosity or mindless male hormones are threatening to get the better of you on this one rent it before you buy it. You won't get back the 92 minutes (if you last that long) but most of you will save yourselves 20 odd bucks and you might laugh your ass off on a few occasions (telekinetic wizard-sex etc.) Be advised the film features full frontal nudity, softcore sex, and scenes that many people will find offensive despite their campy nature. In the interest of being 'fair and balanced' I tip my hat to the beauty of Olivia and her female co-stars, but their 5 star looks can't save a 1/2 star production."