CECILIA (1982)
Directors: Oliver Mathot and Jess Franco
Blue Underground

Want more Jess Franco on DVD? Yeah, me neither. At this point, other than a few standout films from his 1960s and 1970s filmmaking periods, all of the prime Franco classics have appeared on the digital format. But that doesn’t stop many companies from dredging the bottom of the barrel for anything connected to the Spanish exploitation master. After releasing the ultimate DVD edition of one of Uncle Jess’ finest films, EUGENIE DE SADE, Blue Underground fished this one out of the Eurocine vaults. Only the most ardent Francophiles (Bob Monell, I’m looking at you, buddy) would consider this a worthwhile purchase.

Sexually flirtatious rich bitch Cecilia is caught off guard when her chauffeur and his two brothers (whom she had fired for peeping on her undressing) rape her in the back of her limousine. But after fighting them off, she eventually gives in, enjoying being mauled by a troika of slimy bastards; she even goes for a dip in a lily pad-strewn pond with them afterwards (in the same pond in countless other Eurocine productions that no one would dare swim in when the cameras are turned off). Seeking solace in the arms of her husband, Cecilia confesses that the attack has awakened in her an even more adventurous sexual attitude, enticing him to begin swinging and enjoying the company of other women in their bed.

And that’s about it, folks. This is your standard Franco suck-n-fuck from the late 1970s-early 1980s, and with the fall of Gen. Franco’s military government, our Jess saw fit to go overboard with the sex and nudity, even delving into the hardcore pornography racket. CECILIA is notable for two reasons: it stars Muriel Montesse, one of the most photogenic of Franco’s latter-day starlets, looking lovely in the nude, and the gorgeous, loving photography of the sprawling estate locations used in the film. Francophiles will surely recognize many of his regulars from this period, including Antonio Mayans, Olivier Mathot, Pierre Taylou, and naturally, Lina Romay (in a blonde wig). Composer Daniel White, who’s usually on his A game creating scores for Franco’s strange visions, contributes a droning synthesizer score on autopilot. As mentioned before, CECILIA is strictly for the undiscriminating Franco and Eurocult fan. Everyone else will be bored silly.

Transferred from the original negative, CECILIA looks wonderful, which is good news if you’re a fan of the film! Other than some print debris and graininess during the credits and dark sequences, the transfer is colorful and quite vibrant. Viewers can either watch the film in a typically stupid Eurocine English dub or the original French language with English subtitles. Completists who are excited that the film’s original French language track with English subtitles is included should be warned that the subtitles are simply a transcription of the English dub track, which is most likely inaccurate compared to the original dialogue shot on-set.

In addition to the theatrical trailer, Jess Franco contributes another superb interview that is far more entertaining than the movie! He waxes poetic about shooting the film in its beautiful locations, working with Muriel Montesse, and his working relationship with Eurocine over the years. (Casey Scott)