Friday, August 27, 2010

The Endangered List (Case File #80)


Xabier Elorriaga
Marina Langner
Christa Leem
Ricardo Masip
Lorenzo Santamaría

Directed by
Leopoldo Pomés

Written by
Román Gubern
Leopoldo Pomés
Óscar Tusquets

Cinematography by
Juan Suriñach

Music by
Ricard Miralles

Edited by
Raúl Román
Ana Stefani

MPAA rating: R
A Group 1 Films release

This Spanish production was released stateside by Group 1 Films simultaneously as ANDREA and SEX & VIOLENCE in 1979/1980. It opened in the New York City area (from another distributor, as SEX & VIOLENCE) in 1983.

SEX AND VIOLENCE is a 1977 import from the now defunct Group 1 Pictures, a company specializing in foreign stuff with an S&M bent (THE DEPRAVED, LIVING NIGHTMARE). Almi, I think, is handling it – as you can see, the distributor is embarrassed to put their name on the ad. The movie is imitative of Radley Metzger’s slow, pictorial style and would have fit in well with Audubon Film’s acquisitions like SEXUS. A wealthy man fetishizes his wife, saving photo collections of her and placing things in a sadistic context. She treats him somewhat mistress/slave. They go on a boat outing complete with caviar and champagne on the Med. A loud couple they invite on board proves to be more trouble than they bargained for. He gets tied up and she bullied. In one startling shot, the female aggressor reveals herself to be a drag queen. The other is a hustler/drag queen lover/destructive type. Our heroine is subjected to mild rough stuff, including groveling in crawfish. Her verbal humiliation revolves around the supposed inferiority of real women to drag queens. The torture ends with the protagonist forced to give his beloved a golden shower. A hackneyed trick ending reveals him to have hired the couple, and so on. SEX AND VIOLENCE is a groundbreaking movie in one respect. The sacred fetish of drag queen love is onscreen in a dominance melodrama. The revelatory scene, with the bikini top still on and the bottoms pulled down to show the cock, is a classic. Graphic as it is, SEX AND VIOLENCE is not as consistently shocking or extreme as Metzger’s S&M oriented THE IMAGE (a.k.a. THE PUNISHMENT OF ANNE on video). Like Metzger’s films, it deals with puppets rather than humans. Not up to its overambitious title, SEX AND VIOLENCE is still very entertaining and worthy of some notoriety. -- (Sleazoid Express, Vol.3, No.7)

Like POSSESSION, SEX AND VIOLENCE is another curious and compelling exploitation oddity. Originally released in the west coast in late 1979 under the title of ANDREA, SEX is an almost undetectable Italian import concerning the life of a wealthy perfume magnate and his bored yet beautiful wife. Trying to rekindle their romance with a weekend of idyllic Mediterranean yachting, the couple is soon invaded by an ill-mannered American rowdy and his tight-lipped “Norwegian” girlfriend. Midway through the flick, the girl is revealed to be a transvestite who spends the rest of the film’s short 81 minutes torturing, humiliating and beating the rich wife in front of her manacled husband. Not much in the way of bloodletting here, but fans of LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT-style degradation will have a field day as the snobby wife is slapped, burned, cut, forced to eat lobster guts and eventually pissed on by her own spouse. The action is further embellished by classic dubbed lines from the gay torturers (ie. “I hate tits, they are revolting,” etc.) that will keep the truly depraved howling throughout. A twist multi-ending reveals director Leopold Pomes’ sense of parody about his project, but it may serve to turn off fanatic violence mongers who are serious about the tone of these films. SEX AND VIOLENCE can easily vy with the aforementioned POSSESSION for the dubious honor of being the weirdest film release of the year. Be sure to catch this one! -- (The Gore Gazette, No. 62)

SEX AND VIOLENCE, which played at 42nd Street’s Selwyn Theater a while back, is the strangest and kinkiest film to come along in ages. The copyright date on this depraved curio is 1979 (looks older) and the distributor listed on the print is Group 1. A filthy rich couple is off on a leisurely vacation aboard their football-field sized yacht. The husband is a wimpy voyeur who gets off by spying on his wife as she lolls around on deck. In case she moves out of view, he keeps a photo collection on hand. They invite an obnoxious couple (a loud man and his silent girlfriend) on board to share good times, but when they start acting too crazy, they’re asked to leave. That’s when the trouble/fun starts. The invited couple ties up the husband and spend the rest of the film torturing/humiliating the wife. About the female member of the sadists, one particularly vocal Selwyn patron yelled, “That’s the ugliest looking broad I’ve ever seen! It looks like a man!” The audience roared. When that character actually revealed himself to be a man (guess how) the audience really went berserk and didn’t quiet down for quite some time. The audience was also thrown into hysterics over how the two guys continually groped each other and how they criticized the wife’s wardrobe. They also whip her, spit on her food, force her to eat regurgitated food and eat food off the floor. In the ultimate gross-out they force the husband to piss on his wife’s face while threatening to make like she was an ashtray. In an inspired finale, an off-screen voice tells us to remain in our seats and then we’re treated to three different possible endings, all dealing with the wife’s revenge. A film like this can go either way – serious or camp, and damned if I know which this one is. The audience didn’t really kick in until almost half of the film was over. There’s a constant nervous tension that even your average 42nd Street patron didn’t know how to deal with. The unrelenting sadism is unpleasant, to be sure, but it’s also fascinating to watch. That may sound sick but I doubt if anyone reading this would walk out on SEX AND VIOLENCE. It’s sick, but it’s excessively so, and anything excessive is usually not serious. (See PIECES, Vol.2, No.13) Plus, if it can hold the attention and shock, something interesting is usually going on. Some bad dubbing, and the three different endings make it weird and almost funny. I said almost. When a line is audible (the dubbing is that bad) and it makes no sense (“The Robinsons won’t be coming, somebody killed their pet monkey.”) you’ll scream with laughter. This film is totally out of it – it could be taking place in another dimension. Make up your own mind about this one. Whatever the case, it was held over for two weeks at the Selwyn. The original title was ANDREA and stills on display outside the theater still had that tag. It may be Spanish or Italian, I’m not sure which. Directed by Leopold Pomes. Feminists will have a field day ripping this one apart and they just might have a case. -- (Confessions of a Trash Fiend, Vol.2, No.22)

For more information on ENSALADA BAUDELAIRE, check out Psychotronic Kult Video.


mike bagley said...

you can now order a copy at the website "cinema de bizzare" on line video website that deals in hard to find movies and film....

Temple of Schlock said...

It's in Spanish with no English subs, but yeah, they have it. We ordered a copy just the other day. Hopefully an English dubbed print will surface eventually.

Raúl Calvo said...

"The Robinsons won’t be coming, somebody killed their pet monkey"

Hi, I'm Spanish and I can assure that the above line does not appear in the original audio. In the spanish audio they talk about a dog. I guess the american distributors found the original line too ordinary.

Exploitive as it is, this movie shows up once in a while in the art house cinemas in Spain. One of the bad guys (actor Llorenç Santamaria) was a known in Catalunya (the movie is catalan and some of the dialogues in the original audio are in catalan) as a hippie/rock singer, so it was quite a shock seeing him in this movie.

Lani said...

I remember seeing this movie back in the early '80s at our local drive-in. I never forgot how disturbing it was.