• Lady Libertine/Love Circles



    Released by: Intervision Picture Corp.
    Released on: January 10th, 2017.
    Director: Gerard Kikoine
    Cast: Sophie Favier, Jennifer Inch, Josephine Jaqueline Jones, Marie France
    Year: 1983/1985
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    The Movies:

    Intervision Picture Corp upgrades two of their French softcore titles previously made available on DVD to a double feature Blu-ray release.

    Lady Libertine:

    Up first, the story of a teenaged girl named France (Jennifer Inch) in Lady Libertine (also known as Frank And I), a Playboy production from 1983. When her parents die and leave her nothing, she's released into the custody of a woman who happens to run a brothel. She doesn't stay long, however - soon enough she's stolen a man's clothes and run out, now living life as a young man named Frank. She's eventually found in the woods by a local rich man named Charles (Christopher Pearson) who takes her back to his mansion. The older man holds a strange fascination with Frank and, after punishing him for lashing out at one of his servants, discovers that Frank is in fact a young woman. However, Charles says nothing to France, he does not let on that he knows her secret.

    Later, while cavorting about with mistress Maud (Sophie Favier), Charles' mind again begins to wander and he starts to obsess over France. After Charles heads out for some business travel, France reveals the truth to him upon his return. They begin a torrid love affair but insists that Maud teach his new young companion in the ways of womanhood. Eventually she's comfortable enough in all of this to make love to Charles while Maud watches on. The honeymoon is over once an American named Brook (Emmanuel Karson) falls hard for France. Charles forbids France to see Brook but there's no stopping - and when he catches her, he whips her as punishment. It isn't long before France is wondering if Charles really does love her or not - will she stay? Will she go? Will she get whipped again? Who else will she sleep with?

    Goofy softcore, Lady Libertine is a bit of a snooze fest - which isn't such an easy feat for a movie that has as much sex in it as this one does. Yes, the female cast members do spend a fair amount of time in their birthday suits and they look just fine doing it, but the story putters about and never really becomes all that interesting. The production values are good and the cinematography is flat out excellent - those naked ladies are always beautifully framed, lit and shot as are the different locations that are used throughout the picture - but otherwise the film just isn't that interesting.

    It does, however, have an interesting story to it - Sophie Favier famously sued the producers to stop the movie from getting out after she became a famous gameshow host in her native France. Evidently it didn't work, and here we are.

    Love Circles:

    The title of the film, Love Circles, more or less gives away the plot of the picture before it even starts, but here's a quick rundown anyway:

    An American visiting Paris decides to head out for the night and he winds up at a nightclub where he meets a beautiful French woman named Suzy (Marie-France). The two hit it off and before you know it, they're getting to know one another in the most intimate of way possible. When they finish, she gives him a cigarette pack and they go their separate ways.

    Later on, he meets another woman named Brigid (Josephine Jaqueline Jones of Black Venus fame) and, you guessed it, they hit it off. Before you know it, they're getting to know one another in the most intimate way possible. When they finish, he gives her a cigarette pack and they go their separate ways. See where this is going yet? From there, Jones meets someone else, hands off the cigarette pack after they get it on, and eventually (SPOILERS!) it ends up with the beautiful French woman from the first fleshy rendezvous.

    There's really only one reason to watch Love Circles, and that's the ladies. Each and every one of the female stars who shows up in this picture is a stunner, and each and every one of those stunners manages to disrobe at least twice before the film comes to a close. This is really the only reason that this film has to exist. Sure, it looks pretty in that it's shot well, has some reasonably good eighties soft focus camera work in its favor and makes use of some nice French location shooting but as far as the actual narrative goes, there's nothing here. The title gives away the premise and by the time the cigarette pack is handed off for the second time, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out where it's going to wind up when it's all said and done. The movie tries to add some international flavor to the pedestrian script in hopes of spicing things up and making them more exotic - we do voyage across the ocean to Los Angeles and to Hong Kong before the film is over - but it doesn't really help things much. The movie, despite all of the ample nudity, is kind of boring.

    Interestingly enough, both of these movies (made for producer Harry Alan Towers) were directed by Gerard Kikoine, who would later go on to direct Anthony Perkins in Edge Of Sanity.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Both films are presented on a single BD50 and are given AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfers framed at 1.33.1 fullframe and they look okay. Both movies use some soft focus photography in some scenes and obviously detail in those scenes isn't going to be all that strong but when the movies are supposed to look crisp and detailed they do. There are some spots where things look a little sharpened and there's some minor noise reduction employed here and there but this doesn't overpower things. Colors look nice, black levels are decent though there are some mild compression artifacts visible here and there. Reference quality these are not but they do provide suitable upgrades from the previous DVD releases from years back.

    Each picture gets an English language Dolby Digital 2.0 track, there are no alternate language options or subtitles provided here. These tracks aren't fancy (nor are they lossless) but they get the job done. Dialogue is easy to understand and follows and the levels are properly balanced.

    Extra features for this release include a minute or so of deleted scenes from Love Circles, a quick introduction to Love Circles from the director, and a twenty-six minute interview with the man himself. He talks here about working on X-rated films in France, the political climate's effect on the industry at the time, how he came to make these films and his relationship with Playboy and the different cast and crew members he worked with on the pictures. He also talks about his relationship with producer Harry Alan Towers, how he would "free Norman Bates" years later and more. Also included is a nineteen minute featurette documenting the director's appearance at The Fantasia Film Festival where he talks to an audience about his career, dealing with French censors in the seventies and eighties while making adult pictures, working with Towers, the importance of artistic design to his films and his thoughts on some of the film's he has made throughout his career.

    The Final Word:

    Gerard Kikoine has made some great films throughout his career but these two are fairly middling. They look beautiful and are certainly well cast but outside of some nicely shot scenes of lovemaking, they fall a little flat. Regardless, they have their fans and those fans will no doubt appreciate getting a reasonable video upgrade and seeing a few extras tossed into the mix.

    Click on the image below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!