We are going through a Golden Age of reissuing 1970s softcore on DVD, and have given a long-debased genre its due, uncovering rare and surprising items. Here we have a series called Classics of French Erotica, featuring three forgotten independent French movies from the early to late 1970s. Unfortunately, when you’re mining for gold, sometimes you end up digging up lumps of coal instead.
To throw a positive light, they stand at least as an exercise in international goodwill and understanding. The Americans and the French have always been the biggest producers (and consumers) of softcore. It’s nice to know that we and the French share a common bond of perversion. The three movies here are directed by Jean-Marie Pallardy, a name new to me, but his IMDb reveals a long list of genre and exploitation titles. Pallardy’s method is tried-and-true: come up with a half-baked script, borrow a camera from somewhere, stick some boobs in front of the camera, cast yourself as the male lead, then shoot the film on the run in rural locations where they can’t stop you. The lesson here is: the French can put out dumb-ass redneck T&A flicks just like ours!
My Body Burns is Pallardy’s first film and it shows. The direction is ham-handed. The confusing plot involves Evelyne (Evelyne Scott), who’s carrying on an affair with another woman (Angela Hansen) and an old white-haired businessman, and she can’t choose between them. The lesbian girl is a masochist, and the old man has a wandering eye for every girl in town. The jealousies amongst the three of them are enflamed to the point where murder is considered, but by who, to whom? To Pallardy’s credit, all the girls are hot (former and future conquests, I’m assuming), but they’re paired up with men who are awful looking and well past their prime. The nudity is mostly topless, but quite plentiful.
In Erotic Diary of a Lumberjack, a professor who’s just won the Nobel Prize gets bored of his life and decides to live in a rural town where all the women are hot and naked. Pallardy shows up as the professor’s son who uncovers his father’s secret plot to get businessmen to invest in his town by luring them in with said hot and naked women. There’s the usual combination of ugly old men and cute younger women. Willeke van Ammelrooy, a Dutch redhead with a glamorous look, plays an undercover cop trying to bring down the scheme from the inside; she gets raped for her troubles. There’s more full-frontal in this one, but the sex scenes are very short and usually comedic rather than sexy. Is this a comedy or a drama? I can’t tell. The movie isn’t helped by its butchery at the hands of some English dubbers who clearly didn’t take their work seriously.
Truck Stop, despite the down-market title, is actually an adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey. Pallardy plays a truck driver lured away from his rig by three Sirens on a rural road. A year later, his wife Pamela (played by the gorgeous Elizabeth Turner) is running the truck stop he owns into the ground. Her friends wish she would find happiness with a new man, since her husband has been missing for so long. So the men vie for her attention. If you’re wondering what’s happening in the pic below, the townsmen are in a contest where bells are strapped to their dicks while they watch two girls making out—whoever can hold out and keep their bell from ringing wins). Careful spotters will see Ely Galleani in a supporting role. Transgendered Euro-fave Ajita Wilson also makes an uncredited appearance as Calypso, one of the Sirens. There’s also an old guy with a handlebar mustache who reminds me of Paul Teutel, Sr., just in case you’re harboring some kind of fantasy about seeing him in a sex scene. There’s not as much nudity as in the previous one, and sadly, Elizabeth Turner never actually gives up the goods.
The DVD extras—a gallery, trailers, and an interview with director Pallardy—are exactly the same on each disc. You seen one, you seen ‘em all. In deference to Pallardy, some of his other work (including movies featuring the luscious Brigitte Lahaie) looks to be a bit more creative than these. Hopefully these will get their due as well.