• Two Female Spies With Flowered Panties



    Released by: Severin Films
    Released on: August 29th, 2017.
    Director: Jess Franco
    Cast: Lina Romay, Nadine Pasccal, Olivier Mathot, Joëlle Le Quément, Claude Boisson, Susan Hemmingway
    Year: 1980
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    The Movie:

    Jess Franco’s Two Female Spies With Flowered Panties follows the exploits of two lovely ladies who make an interesting career change. Cecile (Lina Romay as Candy Coster) and Brigitte (Nadine Pascal as Lynn Monteil) get arrested for working as streetwalkers on the streets of Paris and are tossed into prison for a year. Their luck changes when an American senator named Connolly (Olivier Mathot) arrives on the scene and makes them an offer they can’t refuse: if they’re willing to head to the Canary Islands and work for him at a nightclub, he’ll have their sentences commuted.

    There’s a catch though – they’re not just working at a nightclub, they’re actually going to be undercover agents for him. Cecile will be required to document and report on anybody entering or leaving the home of a man named Morale (Albino Graziani) whose residence is conveniently located right across the street from the hotel she’s been put up in. When they girls figure out that club owner Forbes (Claude Boisson as Yul Sanders) and his wife Irina (Joëlle Le Quément as Janet Lee) are involved in a kidnapping scheme involving hypnosis and an opal ring, the girls are forced into action. See, Irina is able to use her ring and her hypnosis to turn women into mindless sex slaves and then sell them off to their well to do clientele – clearly there’s some very illegal activity going on here (of the most sordid variety… something Franco isn’t in the least bit ashamed of exploiting throughout the film!).

    When Forbes figures out that Cecile is working for the fuzz, she’s kidnapped and tortured but shortly thereafter saved by a brave friend of hers named Milton (Mel Rodrigo playing a ridiculous gay stereotype to the hilt), a photographer who stashes her safely within the confines of a weird hippie commune out in the wilderness. Unfortunately for Brigitte, the bad guys finger her as an undercover agent too, and with Cecile in hiding, she’s left on her own to bust the case wide open and save Forbes’ victims (one of whom is played by Susan Hemmingway).

    Trashy, sexy fun Two Female Spies With Flowered Panties works a whole lot of Franco’s trademark obsessions into one ninety minute package. Jazzy night club scenes? Check. Soft focus or out of focus cinematography? Check. Various women – one of whom being Linda Romay - parading around in various states of undress? Double check! Pretty much everything you’d want out of a Franco film made in 1980 pops up here: a bit of mild sexual torture, a plot that runs in circles, dreamy atmosphere, a cool soundtrack (courtesy of frequent co-conspirator Daniel White), and even some playful humor. It’s hardly a showcase for the director at his artistic nadir, but it is a lot of sexy, goofy fun.

    Lina, in her blonde Candy Coster phase at this point, looks great in the way that she was able to. A bit chubbier here than in some of her better known films but it works to her advantage in a lot of ways – she knew how to work those curves! She and the equally alluring Nadine Pascal are a lot of fun together in the scenes they share and just as good in the ones that they don’t share. Supporting work from the rest of the cast is also solid but really, it’s the two female leads that carry the picture.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Two Female Spies With Flowered Panties debuts on Blu-ray from Severin Films in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.33.1 and generally speaking it looks quite good. Keep in mind that Franco shot a lot of the movie with soft focus and that on top of that, there are quite a few shots that are just plain out of focus, so clearly detail isn’t going to jump off the screen at you during these sequences. On top of that, the lighting employed in the picture is erratic at best and so things are obscured by shadows at times. This was likely a mix of Franco’s particular aesthetic and a matter of shooting fast and cheap. When the movie is focused, however, things look quite crisp and the picture does show nice detail and texture. There’s little in the way if print damage to note, colors are reproduced quite nicely and black levels are solid. Skin tones appear lifelike and natural and there are no noticeable problems with any compression artifacts or edge enhancement. The picture is soft but this is otherwise a pretty solid effort on Severin’s part to bring some tricky source material to Blu-ray.

    LPCM 2.0 Mono tracks are offered up in both English and French variants with optional subtitles provided that translate both versions of the movie. The English track actually sounds a bit cleaner here than the French track does but the differences are marginal. Quality is fine for the most part. Some spots sound a little flat but otherwise, the dialogue is clean, clear and nicely balanced and the score sounds good. It’s interesting to note the differences between the two audio options as the movie plays out!

    Severin has done their typically solid job with the supplements on this release, starting with a ten minute featurette entitled Two Cats In The Canaries: An Interview With Director Jess Franco. Here the late director talks about shooting on location in the Canary Islands, working with some of the locals on the film, where he took his inspiration from for this particular film and more. Franco is his typically blunt self here, a quality that always makes his interviews worth watching – damn I miss that guy.

    Up next, a segment in which filmmaker Donald Farmer interviews frequent Franco collaborator and composer Daniel White for twelve minutes. Shot in 1993 the quality here isn’t so hot but thankfully it’s subtitled so the audio issues aren’t such a big deal. Regardless, great to see this included here given that White is no longer with us. In this piece White talks not about any specific films that he worked on but more generally about his working relationship with Franco, his thoughts on the Eurocine productions that his music wound up in and how/why his music wound up being recycled a few times in various Franco pictures over the years.

    Up next, we get Stephen Thrower On Two Female Spies, a lengthy twenty-nine minute examination of the film by the man who wrote Murderous Passions. As is typical of Thrower’s pieces on the director, this is astute and interesting. He not only offers up a lot of trivia about the history of the picture, the making of the film and where it fits alongside various other Franco movies made before and after, but he also provides some critical analysis of the movie. Lots of talk here about the producers that Franco worked with and their respective roles in his rapidly expanding filmography, Eurocine’s involvement in this particular movie and more. He also talks about the differences between the French and Spanish cuts of the film and offers some insight into how these came to be. Interesting stuff!

    Rounding out the extras on the Blu-ray disc are nine minutes of location outtakes, a theatrical trailer for the feature, menus and chapter selection.

    Included with the first run of this release is a bonus DVD that includes the alternate Opalo de Fuego (or, if you prefer, Opal Of Fire Merchants Of Sex) Spanish cut of the film with English subtitles. The quality of this cut isn’t as solid as the Blu-ray version of the French cut, but it’s an interesting variant. Presented fullframe with Dolby Digital 2.0 Spanish language audio, this version runs just over ninety minutes in length. There are some pretty big differences between this cut and the French cut. The titles are completely redone here, there’s different voiceover work here and there, and there’s quite a bit of additional footage exclusive to this version (and in reverse, a lot missing that is scene in the French cut). The opening is also completely different and as such the setup plays out in a different way. If the quality won’t blow you away it’s certainly watchable enough – as to which version is better? It is of course personal preference but fans should be happy that this release allows them to decide for themselves by including both cuts.

    Both discs fit inside a standard sized Blu-ray keepcase and some nice reversible cover sleeve art has also been included.

    The Final Word:

    Two Female Spies With Flowered Panties is a lot of fun – Lina Romay and Nadine Pascal are eminently watchable here, and Franco manages to keep the zany plot moving along at a nice clip. Severin has done a fine job bringing this one to Blu-ray, presenting the movie in a pretty spiffy high definition transfer and with some impressive extra features.

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









































    And some images from the bonus DVD!




















    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Lalala76's Avatar
      Lalala76 -
      Personally I didn't think it looked at all that soft. In fact it seemed a revelation compared to some editions I've seen (Bare in mind this is Eurocine). I am more than happy with this restoration from Severin.
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Oh, I was more than happy with it too and it's a big upgrade over what we've had before. But some scenes are soft, they were clearly just shot that way. That's not a fault of the disc.
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