Released by: Ascot Elite
Released on: August 26th, 2014.
Director: Gerard Loubeau
Cast: Brigitte Lahaie, Jane Baker, Dominique Saint Claire, Julie Perrin, Marie-Claude Moreau
Year: 1980 Purchase From Diabolik DVD
Produced by Erwin C. Dietrich and directed by Gerard Loubeau, 1980’s Ein Sommer Auf Dem Lande (A Summer In The Country) explores the sexual awakenings of a brother and sister - Luca (Dominique Saint Claire) and Fanny (Julie Perrin), a pair of teenagers who are having difficulty understanding the urges they’ve been feeling lately. They’re spending the summer with their mother and father at a remote villa out in the country where everyone in the family is tended to by two maids (foxy French ‘blonde’ Brigitte Lahaie and curvy black chick Marie-Claude Moreau – who also pops up as a ‘row-butt’ in French Girls For Pleasure!).
Lucas can’t help but be attracted to Fanny – he even has a graphic sexual fantasy about her - but there’s more going on than that – see, he’s also really into dressing up in fancy women’s lingerie and watching himself in the mirror while he does his dirty business. Why? He had some kinda-sorta sexual experiences with his sexy aunt Martha (Jane Baker) when he was a younger man. He saw her naked and then some and as such, he became aroused at a young age and it would seem to have scarred him. We see quite a bit of this through some convenient flashbacks. At any rate, Fanny is no angel herself. She’s pretty obsessed with porno magazines and has no qualms whatsoever about reading them at night, unaware that she’s being watched by various parties including her brother and the maids, and diddling away at herself. Thankfully, the two randy maids, who enjoy one another in all of the carnal ways you would expect, are on hand and more than willing to help show these two perpetually horny kids the ropes!
This is nicely shot and well paced and gives both Brigitte Lahaie and Marie-Claude Moreau plenty of quality screen time without sacrificing the storyline. Dominique Saint Claire and very pretty Julie Perrin get plenty to do here as well, with Luca’s cross dressing fixation a key part of the story and Fanny’s obsession with pornography (der superstars de porno!) equally integral to how and why things play out they way that they do. The movie spends enough time building these two characters to ensure that when they pair of sexy maids do get in on the action there is at least some sort of a reason for it. Adding to this is the fact that the maids are treated rather poorly by everyone in the family, demeaned and degraded in front of others at certain times and quite obviously meant to be seen as ‘beneath’ the rest of the people at the villa. Interestingly enough, themes like this seem to be pretty common in continental European smut of the era.
As to the sex, it’s steamy and frequent and varied enough to hold your attention throughout. It should be noted that the version of the movie included on this disc is the softcore version. A hardcore alternate version that includes more explicit material and which is edited in a slightly different order was released by Alpha France under the title ‘Secrets d'Adolescentes’ and it runs sixty-one minutes as opposed to the eighty-five minute running time of this Blu-ray release. Complicating matters further is the existence of a ninety-one minute version that exists under the title ‘Segrete esperienze di Luca e Fanny.’ You can read some notes on the differences between the three versions here.
The hardcore version from Alpha France obviously has the benefit of being, well, hardcore, so you get to see all of the naughty action in considerably more explicit form, while the softcore version on the Blu-ray does a better job of building character and actually telling a story. Though none of the versions are technically English friendly, the story isn’t particularly tough to follow in German.
Ein Sommer Auf Dem Lande on Blu-ray in AVC encoded 1080p high definition presentation, framed at 1.85.1 widescreen and it is a strong upgrade over the previous DVD release (it also contained the softcore cut but was very soft, suffered from quite a bit of print damage and was non-anamorphic). Some very minor compression artifacts do appear here and there but they aren’t severe enough to really distract from the presentation too much. Print damage is never a serious issue though grain is present throughout, as it should be. Colors are just a little bit flat looking but detail is pretty solid for the most part. Like a lot of movies of this ilk, it was shot with a certain softness in mind, so take that into account when evaluating the video quality. This does offer quite a nice upgrade over the previous DVD release, however.
Audio options are provided in both German DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio and in German Dolby Digital 2.0 options, there are no English language audio options or subtitles provided for this release. The clarity of the German lossless track is fine, but don’t expect much in the way of surround activity as the rears are used primarily for the occasional bump in the score. Dialogue stays clean and clear and the music has some good depth to it. The Dolby Digital 2.0 track is noticeably thinner but it’s there for those who can’t decode DTS-HD.
Extras are slim but we get a trailer for the feature, a still gallery as well as a ‘trailer show’ that includes promo spots for a bunch of other Ascot Elite titles (Downtown, Ilsa the Mad Butcher, Voodoo Passion, Die Sklavinen, Rolls Royce Baby, Wicked Women). Menus and chapter selection are included and trailers for three unrelated modern day Ascot-Elite releases play before the menu loads
For the BD-Rom equipped out there, if you pop the disc into your computer you’ll have access to a thirty-six page text interview with Dietrich from an issue of a German fanzine called Splatting Image. This is all in German but it’s got some very cool pictures and stills accompanying it. Additionally, the disc also includes the complete text of the incredibly rare one hundred and ninety seven page book on Dietrich’s films, Mädchen, Machos und Moneten: die unglaubliche Geschichte des Schweizer Kinounternehmers Erwin C. Dietrich. It’s also all in German but it’s loaded with pictures and archival images. It would have been nice to have the alternate footage included in the supplements on this release, but that didn’t happen (it’s probably a rights issue).
The Final Word:
Ein Sommer Auf Dem Lande is an interesting movie with a solid cast and some genuinely intriguing and arousing sequences. Lahaie and Moreau are in fine form and hey, Jane Baker and Julie Perrin are here too so the movie doesn’t want for female stars. The lack of English audio or subtitles will understandably be an obstacle to many reading this review but outside of that, this is a more than decent presentation of the softcore version of the film.
Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!