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Blue Underground presents
Cecilia (1982)

"Don't you like me anymore?"
- Cecilia (Muriel Montosse)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: January 21, 2008

Stars: Muriel Montosse
Other Stars: Pierre Taylou, Anthony Foster, Richard Darbois, Christian Dragaux, France Jordan, Lina Romay
Director: Jess Franco

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nudity, sexuality, adult themes)
Run Time: 01h:44m:51s
Release Date: January 29, 2008
Genre: foreign


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
C+ B-B-B- B-

DVD Review

Originally released as Sexual Aberrations of Cecilia, this sexually-charged 1982 Jess Franco feature finally sees the DVD light of day in 2008, courtesy of Blue Underground. Presented uncut and uncensored, the retitled Cecilia is Franco (operating here as Claude Plaut) working in full-on sexy auteur mode, forsaking much of a plot for a series of erotic sequences that somewhat loosely connect the exploratory urges of Muriel Montosse as the frequently nude title character.

Montosse's Cecilia is wealthy and something of a grand tease, which results in a rather unpleasant sexual assault early on, an event that skews her view on things. This forces the storytelling hand for the rest of the film, as Montosse trots boldly nude down a path of sexual exploration, often involving her husband or assorted random characters. There's little denying the complete sex appeal of Franco's lead actress here, as she exudes all the right kinds of highly-charged sexuality and gives Cecilia the proper measure of kink and eroticism.

As a Franco film, this is hardly his finest work, yet it is probably one of his more artistically mature features. The lush Portugal locations and the well-toned bodies do much to give Cecilia its distinctive charm and sexiness, though it is clear that having an actual plot was never a major concern. Instead we're given frequent moments of sizzle, such as a suggestive (and lengthy) thumbsucking scene or the occasional sensually writhing orgy. I never really cared what happened to anyone as the film progressed, but I never tired of Montosse or the way Franco used her natural beauty so frequently and so brazenly.

The film runs a little long considering its lightweight story elements, but that just means longer sexual encounters, as Franco lets the camera linger. Even wacky, dated elements of scenes like the trippy "bohemian happening"—complete with a groovy guru-ish dude with eyeballs painted on his eyelids—are eventually salvaged by some exceptionally robust nudity. Franco, unencumbered by much of a plot, gets to show off his softcore skills, buttressed by the charismatic Muriel Montosse.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.66:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer does carry some modest grain, but that's about the only complaint I can really muster. A very nice job from Blue Underground on this one, which has been remastered from an original film negative. Colors are warm and lush—especially during the outdoor shots of Cecilia's palatial estate—while the prevalent nudity showcases fleshtones that appear natural and lifelike. Image sharpness does seem to vary slightly from scene to scene, though hardly to a measurable degree. No issues with specking or debris, either.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoFrench, Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Audio options are available in either the original French or an English dub, both presented in Dolby Digital mono. Considering how distractingly poor the dub is, I advise sticking with the French, despite some clunky post-production sound editing that makes it almost come across like a dub as well (check out the water splashes during the lillypad skinny dip). No major issues with hiss or distortion, and the Daniel White score sounds quite good throughout.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 19 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Documentaries
Packaging: clear plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Blue Underground's clear plastic keepcase sports a fairly suggestive cover photo of star Muriel Montosse, and when opened reveals an even more suggestive image. Extras include the film's theatrical trailer (03m:14s), as well as Sexual Aberrations Of Cecilia: Interview With Director Jess Franco (16m:38s). The Franco interview is presented with English subtitles, and though the director does speak in fragmented English, the subs are a necessity to catch it all. As usual, Franco's a real character, often quite candid and honest about the production and shooting in Portugal.

The disc is cut into 19 chapters, and features optional English subtitles.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

With this long-time-coming release of Jess Franco's 1982 erotic awakening of sex and more sex, Blue Underground has done Franco-philes proud. Maybe not the greatest story ever told, but it almost makes up for it in bold-faced sexuality. Most importantly, the image transfer is solid, and the bonus Franco interview is a nice plus.

If nothing else, this should rekindle an interest in the sultry talents of Muriel Montosse.

 


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