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AKA The Kinky Ladies of Bourbon Street
Starring: Helga Trixi, Dawn Cummings, Charlene Dodd, Nadja Mons, Pénélope Dupin, Véronique Monod, Alice Lemieux, Brendan Reed, Jacques Conti, Carmelo Petix, Jacques Insermini, Jack Gatteau, Jacques Mouret, Richard Allan, Jean-Louis Vattier, Manu Pluton, Charlie Schreiner
Though eclipsed in notoriety by the late Claude Mulot’s LE SEXE QUI PARLE a/k/a PUSSY TALK, which actually preceded it and is therefore often used as a starting point for French porno history (if you want to get technical, Ellen Earl was the first actress graphically penetrated on Parisian screens in Lucien Hustaix’ silly JOUISSEUSES), this may very well be the best Continental ‘core ever. Initially labeled LA GRANDE BAISE (a title deemed to blunt at the time but which wound up on one of Mulot’s later efforts) in reference to Marco Ferreri’s sulfurous LA GRANDE BOUFFE, it provided fertile breeding ground for several of the most intriguing French fornication film-making talents of the ’70s. Very much a joint effort, nominal directorial credit was bestowed upon Didier-Philippe Gérard (a/k/a “Michel Barny”), production assistant on PUSSY TALK and the most conventional of the carnal creators involved here, who resurfaced in the ’90s directing videos for industry colossus Marc Dorcel starring his gorgeous wife Laure Sainclair. Mulot (a/k/a “Frédéric Lansac”), frequently fingered as the true founding father, contented himself with writing and executive producing. A young upstart by name of Gérard Kikoïne, who had made the soft core L’AMOUR A LA BOUCHE a few years earlier in an attempt to cash in on EMMANUELLE’s extraordinary box office takings, took care of the intricate editing. Francis Leroi, who had the most impressive cinematic pedigree of the lot, kept things under control as the film’s producer.
Starting with its tone, both sinister and cynical, MES NUITS AVEC… remains startlingly unlike anything found within French fornication cinema to this day. Following failed suicide attempts, three professional women wind up sharing a hospital room where the mysterious Maude (Dutch Trixie Heinen, who played the boutique owner in Lasse Braun’s SENSATIONS) comes to visit, making them an offer they can’t refuse, to join her at her palatial mansion where they can “love” themselves to death. Alice (Véronique Monet) is a chamber maid caught seducing hotel guest Richard Lemieuvre (a/k/a “Richard Allan”) and subsequently fired by her employer Carmelo Pétix. Her demise by drowning gone awry, she goes out with a bang, pleasuring herself with a stick of dynamite ! Singing sensation Pénélope (delectable Nadja Mons, whose – presumably dubbed – track “Noyer dans tes yeux”/”Drowning in Your Eyes” sounds a lot like Jane Birkin in her Serge Gainsbourg period) proves a mere puppet at the hands of her sadistic Svengali, deejay Jean-Louis Vattier (the ginger guy from Jean Rollin’s PHANTASMES), who doles out her sexual favors to all and sundry to further her and especially his career. Pills don’t do the trick, but a group of horny garbage men – including Jack Gatteau and Jacques Insermini, male star of Jean Desvilles’ excellent INTRODUCTIONS – eventually drown her in their fluids ! Stewardess Charlene (US ex-pat Dawn Cummings) makes out with “Idi Amin” in the film’s opener, finds herself out of work as a result and turns to gas for relief. Attempt bungled, she’s poked to exhaustion by Maude’s perpetually erect chauffeur (Brendan Reed) who tosses her into the pool after-wards. A chilling coda shows a now old and decrepit Maude visiting the graveyard where the voices of her dead friends urge her to go out and seek more lost souls to join them. As the camera pans back, the chorus grows deafening, joined by voices from the other graves, Maude’s myriad victims clamoring for company…
Filled to the brim with all the fashionable accouterments of the ’70s that have nowadays regained popularity among lovers of so-called “bad taste”, MES NUITS rises above its attendant “guilty pleasure” status through its pervading morbidity and impressive professionalism on all counts. Then still new to the genre, Roger Fellous was to become the most polished as well as productive camera man of the decade, his work lavishly lauded by the esteemed Revue Du Cinéma, the single French movie magazine to take porn seriously at the time. While near continuous, the sex is well woven into the screenplay as each woman’s signposted fate is accomplished, the symbolism of their inevitable death wish presented as matter of fact, avoiding the heavy hand mainstream might have inflicted upon it. As a result, the movie remains surprisingly poetic and moving, bringing a soothing serenity to potentially ludicrous images such as Pénélope’s semen-glazed corpse amid the garbage cans, recalling influences as far-ranging as Dali, Magritte, Delvaux and Rollin. The French government would soon clamp down on carnal cinema with ridiculously elevated taxes intended to take the wind out of their sails, effectively rendering the surfacing of another masterpiece of this caliber impossible.