• Countess X

    Released by: Pink Flamingo Entertainment
    Released on: 2012
    Director: Jean Rollin (as Michel Gentil)
    Cast: Rachel Mhas, Karine Gambier
    Year: 1976

    The Movie:

    It’s not much of a secret that in order to keep working in between the arthouse/horror films that he obviously put far more of himself into, Jean Rollin made porno movies. Commercially viable at the time, these projects allowed him to make a living and while he never showed the same sort of enthusiasm for XXX that he did for his horror projects, his stamp is still evident throughout some of this work, a good example being 1976’s Countess X.

    The movie begins when a masked thief (Rachel Mhas) roams around the forest outside a stately home. She heads in, makes the grab for the jewelry, and watches a couple get it on. This puts her in the mood herself and she can’t help but let her fingers head south for a few, but soon enough she’s got to make it out of there as fast as she can lest she get caught.

    From here she sets into motion her master plan. She somehow learns that a group of very wealthy people will be gathering together at a huge old mansion out in the country for a day of drinking and debauchery. In short, they’re there for an orgy. She decides that since none of the attendees know the true identity of the party’s host, known only as Countess X, that she’ll make it there first, drug the champagne to distract the attendees, and make off with all of their jewelry. Eventually, the true Countess X (Karine Gambier), shows up – will our horny and crafty master thief make it out of there in one piece or will she decide to get in on the action herself?

    Rachel Mhas, who also worked on adult films Vibrations Sexualles, The Seduction Of Amy and the non-XXX The Night Of The Hunted for director Rollin, makes for an interesting lead here. She’s got a mischievous and slinky sort of sex appeal to her that makes her fun to watch and she seems to be having a good time skulking around playing the burglar. Top billed Karine Gambier has considerably more star power, but she of the frequently absent eyebrows doesn’t get nearly as much screen time here as you might want, even if she puts everything she’s got on full display in some of the hardcore scenes.

    It’s those scenes, however, that make up the bulk of the movie. Those expecting the somewhat transcendental art stylings so prominent in films like Requiem For A Vampire or The Iron Rose might be disappointed, but hey, this is a porno movie – make no qualms about it. With that said, those familiar with the director’s quirks will have no trouble noting them when they appear. His penchant for framing shots in just the right way is obvious throughout the movie, ensuring that the movie looks as good as the content will allow, though some of the credit for this is obviously due to the work by his frequent cinematographer, Olivier Grégoire. The locations are also great, with the crew getting the most out of the ornate mansion where most of the film takes place.

    All the requisite gynecological close ups are intact, so little is left to the imagination as far as eroticism goes but the piano heavy score courtesy of Didier William Lepauw (who did Lips Of Blood and The Seduction Of Amy) is excellent. Jean-Pierre Bouyxou, a name that will be familiar to those acquainted with Rollin’s work, is credited as second unit director and also plays one of the partygoers while Catherine Castel also pulls double duty as another partygoer as well as the film’s makeup artist.


    Pink Flamingo’s anamorphic widescreen transfer of Countess X, which was apparently restored from the original 35mm negative, looks pretty good for the most part. Mild print damage is present and the film is often very grainy looking but fans of seventies smut films won’t mind in the least. Colors look nice and natural, black levels are decent and detail is better than you’d probably expect it to be. There are no problems with compression artifacts, edge enhancement or aliasing – all in all, the film looks just fine here.

    The French language Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono track is of pretty good quality. There’s a little bit of hiss here and there but if you’re not listening for it, and you won’t be, then you probably won’t notice it. The score sounds good, the dialogue is fine and all the moaning and groaning is mixed in and balanced right. Optional subtitles are provided in Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Swedish and English.

    Extras are slim, limited to a slideshow and trailers for a few other (non-XXX) Rollin films. Chapter stops are provided for the feature and menus are available in a few different languages, including English – which is a nice touch.

    The Final Word:

    Countess X isn’t likely going to rise to the top of anyone’s list of ‘great’ Rollin films but it is an interesting and amusing slice of sexy cinema that offers up some beautiful location photography, a very game cast and a few interesting Rollin touches. Pink Flamingo’s DVD isn’t stacked with extras but it does look good and sound good and as such, comes recommended to those with a taste for vintage European adult films.

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Todd Jordan's Avatar
      Todd Jordan -
      I haven't seen any Rollin porn that I know of. That will change soon. I recognize the main dude. I think he's in The Arrangement.