[ REVIEW ]

INDY MOVIE REVIEW
 
Die Nonnen von Clichy (1973)
(บรรยายѹ)
 
   
 

Director:Jess Franco Running time:103 min Country:France | Portugal Language:English, Russian  Genre:Horror, Exploitation  

Subtitle:German  Starring: Anne Libert ... Kathleen, Britt Nichols ... Margaret, Doris Thomas ... Mother Rosalinda,
Karin Field ... Lady De Winter
, Cihangir Gaffari ... Lord Justice Jeffries (as John Foster), Luis Barboo ... Truro,

Howard Vernon ... Lord Malcolm De Winter, Alberto Dalbés ... Thomas Renfield, Rosa Palomar

 
 

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Story Line:
A witch burned at the stake curses her accusers, Lord Jeffreys (Cihangir Gaffari), Lady de Winter (Karin Field) and her lover Renfield (Alberto Dalbes), and she proclaims as she burns that her daughters will fulfill the curse. Alarmed, Lady de Winter sets out with Renfield to find the girls, Margaret (Britt Nichols) and Kathleen (Anne Libert), tracing them to a convent where they have become nuns.



The Bloody Pit of Horror :

A suspected witch is stuck with a pin, has boiling water poured on her chest, screams, laughs, yells something in French that I didnt understand and is then burned alive at the stake. Before dying, she curses all those responsible; including inquisitor Lord Justice Jeffreys (John Foster/ Cihangir Gaffari), powerful noblewoman Lady de Winter (Karin Field) and soldier Thomas Renfield (Alberto Dalbés), and promises theyll all face a death far worse than hers at the hand of her two daughters. Meanwhile, at a local convent, repressed Mother Rosalinda (Doris Thomas) rules with an iron fist and lashes a young womans hands for simply daydreaming.



Two orphaned sisters; the pure, humble and innocent blonde Margaret (gorgeous Britt Nichols) and the pleasant but wayward brunette Kathleen (Anne Libert), who dreams of running naked through the wheat fields with the wind caressing me all over, are staying there and have their pension paid by a mysterious man. Hey, this is an upscale nunnery! At confession Rosalinda shows concern for both Kathleens frequent masturbation sessions and herself, for enjoying watching them; seeing her body trembling in spasms of voluptuous pleasure affected me deeply! Who the hell writes this stuff? Priceless. It isnt long before Rosalinda is stripping off her clothes and rubbing her body while wacka-wacka guitar and bongo drums play and she begins to suspect that Kathleen is possessed by a demon. You know, because she''s interested in sex.


Lady De Winter and Thomas, who are secretly lovers and desperate to save their own asses after being cursed, shows up at the convent looking for the daughters of the executed witch. Rosalinda points them in the direction of Kathleen and Margaret, who are promptly bent over a table and felt up to see if their virginity is intact. Kathleen fails the test and is dragged off for a witchcraft investigation, which involves being tortured until shes forced to confess. Shes stretched on a rack, has her leg clamped, has pins stuck in her breasts and fails the water test, so shes branded a witch and sentenced to die.



Lady De Winters astrologist husband, Malcolm (Howard Vernon) feels pity on Kathleen and believes shes innocent, so he pays off some guards to help her escape. Back at the convent, Margaret is paid a visit by the ghost of her mother, who tells her she must avenge her death. Suddenly, a ghostly man in red tights appears, bends her over and rapes her so shell be the bride of Satan. She seduces Rosalinda, who reacts to that by jumping to her death from a balcony, then flees the convent and ends up finding another witch, who teaches her about her powers.



Meanwhile, Kathleen gets bounced around from painter Brian De Quincy (Victor Feldman/ Andrés Monales), who lets her shack up with him for a few weeks, Thomas, who is ordered to bring her back to the torture chamber or else lose his head, and Jeffreys, who has his way with her once shes re-captured. Kathleen, as well as Thomas (now a traitor for trying to help her escape) are sentenced to both die a slow and painful deaths after Lady De Winters feast. Margaret, who shows up with a new identity, has other plans in store for all of everyone.
 


Its not all terrible, but its a meandering tale; often slow and dull, despite gratuitous full female nudity that Franco sometimes uses his trademark zooms to focus in on. Some of the Portuguese/Spanish shooting locations are nice and the acting isn''t bad, but theres also no real sense of time or place because of the variance of the costumes and architecture. Toward the end, they throw in a sloppy swordfight (notice how it changes from day to night back to day again during the same scene), and a mildly amusing twist at the end.
 


The cast also includes Luis Barboo as Jeffreys right hand man Truro. Its based on the novel Las monjas de Clichy by David Khunne (a Franco alias) and features a score by Daniel J. White and Franco and decent cinematography by Raúl Artigot.



Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings
:
I''ve seen only a handful of Jesse Franco films at this point, but I''ve seen little to make me understand why he''s something of a cult item; at his worst, he''s movies are as boring as anything by Jerry Warren. However, I did get a few hints in this movie. He certainly finds some wonderful places to serve as backdrops for his movies; the interiors in this movie are truly stunning. It''s basically a cross between a witch''s curse movie and nunsploitation. The plot is somewhat coherent this time, and though it moves at a snail''s pace, it never grinds to a complete halt. Still, it''s hard for me to think of Franco as something other than a proponent of pure exploitation when he sees fit to make sure that every five minutes or so we get close-ups of masturbation, torture, genitalia or pubic hair (or several at once, if he can manage it). Yet, for all its excesses, I found it more watchable than FEMALE VAMPIRE, for example, though I still prefer Jean Rollin for my arty erotic horror needs. At least, however, I am getting a few hints as to why he has his cult following.




 

 





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