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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Roundtable: Week 2 Contributions

Apologies if the topic was a little narrow this week, but Edwige and Brigitte are Eurodivas that deserve some discussion and merit. It was also interesting to note that Fenech's Giallo's are the main favourites for most, while I really dig her Eurosex comedy output with the "Insegnante" series and "Grazie, Nonna" (Lover Boy) in particular standing out!

Kim Lindbergs (Cinebeats)

This is a tough question because both ladies have appeared in some terrific films, but I'll go with Edwige in The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (Sergio Martino; 1971) because it's just an incredible sexy movie with two of my favorite giallo regulars (George Hilton and Ivan Rassimov) and I'm going with Brigitte in Faceless (Jess Franco; 1987) because it also stars the fabulous Helmut Berger. As much as I like watching these ladies in just about anything, I especially enjoy seeing them teamed up with some of my favorite male actors.

KingMob (Dear Bastards)

Okay, I hope this admission doesn't get me drummed out of the club here, but I have to be honest and say that I don't think I've ever seen a film that starred Brigitte Lahaie, save for Calvaire, which I don't particularly recall her from. I'll be using this week’s results to compile a shopping list to see what I've been missing out on.

Edwige Fenech on the other hand, I've been going back and forth on this decision for a few days on this one, and I think I'd have to say Strip Nude For Your Killer. It may not be the best movie she's in, but I love her little bobbed hairstyle in this one, and I recall digging it when I watched it for all the sleazy elements on display.

Joshua Lew (Cinema Cafe Podcast)

Now this is a tough one. If I was stuck on a desert island, a great dream would be if I had the Weird Science equipment and some old magazine spreads of Fenech and Lahaie, but perhaps that's why such things are called dreams. For Edwige Fenech I would bring "The Case of your Bloody Iris" because I find that film the most entertaining of her work, or "5 Dolls for August Moon" because in my opinion that's where she's her most lovely. For Brigitte Lahaie, I have not seen many of her films nor of her early pornographic work so I can't attest to them, but the one I remember and enjoy is the Grapes of Death, a great zombie film with a great director (although admittedly the word great when used to reference Jean Rollin is debatable).

Kit Nygaard-Gavin

Edwige: Without a doubt the best films on Edwige's CV are the gialli she made in the 1970's. For sheer thriller quality the gialli she made for Sergio Martino are the best and indeed amongst the best in the whole genre. The guilty pleasure side of me however also professes to have a soft spot for FIVE DOLLS FOR AN AUGUST MOON. Not only is Edwige very cute, coupled with the wonderful Hammond organ score, but also it has all the qualities of a Bava film with its vibrant colors and mood. However if I had to choose a film it would be ALL YOUR VICES ARE A LOCKED ROOM - not least because it has Edwige but also due the presence of Anita Strindberg (despite the horrid wig) and also Luigi Pisitilli, Ivan Rassimov, and a pretty decent storyline and an interesting mystery to solve.

Brigitte Lahaie is less easy to categorise as most of her films are Rollin, porno, or both. Part of me would say FACELESS for the memories, not so much the presence of Brigitte, but of a weekend spent in south of Spain with its director speaking about his life, career, movies in a sort of Franglais that only Jess seems to speak in. Also, even though they are clumsy inserts, I have a soft spot for D'Amato's EMANUELLE AND FRANCOISE - but unfortunately the inserts with Mlle. Lahaie were not part of the original film and they actually sort of ruin it. For Brigitte quality, therefore I would go for THE GRAPES OF DEATH - which is one of my favourite Rollin films, together with Brigitte looking at her most attractive. Plus a decent interesting story line helps...

Mike Den Boer (10k Bullets)

“Since we can’t take either of the ladies with us to the desert island. My Edwige Fenech film would be La Pretora and my Brigitte Lahaie film would be La Maison des Phantasmes.”

Douglas Waltz (Divine Exploitation)

For Edwige I would pick The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh. Lahaie; anything that she's young in that is porn will suffice nicely.

Keith Brown (Giallo Fever)

I’ll start with the easier one, at least for me.

I haven’t watched much Lahaie beyond her work with Jean Rollin. From that it would have to be Fascination. Her naked form, wrapped in a cloak and wielding a scythe is one of iconic Euro-cult images. Beyond that I really like the period setting of the film, the way it feels like a contemporary take on Louis Feuillade.

I have watched a lot of Fenech by comparison and gradually come to appreciate her abilities as a comedian and actress over and above her tits and scream roles, fun though they may be.

Two films come to mind: Confessions of a Call Girl and Delitti Privati.

If I’m allowed the latter, as a TV series, I’d take it on account of featuring a more mature; yet still beautiful Fenech, taking risks with her star image over the course of six hours of material (i.e. more of her).

If not, then Confessions, as an early indicator that she was working at her craft; as its directed by Anthony Ascott / Giuliano Carnimeo it also works as a nice contrast to The Case of the Bloody Iris from a year or two earlier, being a more inspirational / less trashy entry.

Holger Haase (Hammer and Beyond)

Edwige Fenech: Definitely not any of her comedies. Yes, she looks great in them, but the films themselves are grating. I guess it would have to be STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER for that outrageous but fun final scene alone. As the saying goes: They just don't them like this anymore.

Brigitte Lahaie: FACELESS cause it as a) a genuinely great film, b) she is absolutely fab in it and - shame on me- c) it is the only one of her films that I have actually ever watched.

Michael McKenzie (Land of Whimsy)

"Golly, that's a tough one. I'm going to be slightly sneaky and select Sergio Martino's ALL THE COLOURS OF THE DARK for Edwige, purely because it also features Nieves Navarro/Susan Scott, who believe it or not I have always found vastly preferable to Ms. Fenech. As a rule, I tend not to be a huge fan of the "trashier" gialli, preferring the loftier aspirations of an Argento or Lado or indeed an early Fulci (who seemed to manage to combine elements of both trash and art in his films), but ALL THE COLOURS OF THE DARK is just weird and trippy enough for me to make an exception. In many ways it's the quintessential Edwige Fenech giallo, in that she seems to spend the entire film shrieking, fainting and on the brink of hysteria, but on the other hand I challenge anyone to name another film whose tone and atmosphere are anything like it.

As for Brigitte Lahaie, I must confess that, while I know exactly who she is, I spent a long time racking my brain for any films of hers that I'd actually seen, and ended up drawing a blank, even after reading through her entire filmography on IMDB. How sheltered am I?"


Holger Haase said...

Wow, looks like FACELESS is getting a lot of love around here.

Mob said...

Okay, so I'm evidently renting Grapes of Death and maybe just buying Faceless to see what I've been missing with Lahaie, since it can be had from HKFlix as part of a 3 film set for only $13.

Thanks for the info.

Nick Frame said...

I've had Faceless for years and never watched it, going to dust it off and get me some non-xxx Lahaie action!

Kimberly Lindbergs said...

I'm so glad this post has made people consider watching Faceless! I think it's one of Franco's best '80s era films.