• Frank & Eva



    Released by: Cult Epics
    Released on: June 5th, 2018.
    Director: Pim de la Parra
    Cast: Sylvia Kristel, Willeke van Ammelrooy, Hugo Metsers,
    Helmert Woundenberg
    Year: 1973
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    The Movie:

    Pim de la Parra’s 1973 picture Frank & Eva follows… Frank (Hugo Metsers) and Eva (Willeke van Ammelrooy), a married couple that seem to thrive on drama. Their on again/off again relationship is in constant turmoil, in no small part because of sleazy car salesman Frank’s proclivity for sleeping with any woman who will have him. Understandably, this doesn’t sit well with Eva, who is more interested in settling down than in playing the field.

    Eventually, Eva gets riled up enough over Frank’s philandering that she decides to have an affair with a mutual friend of theirs,Joop (Helmert Woundenberg), an old friend and drinking buddy of Frank’s. Once the repercussions of that flint manifest, Frank has to figure out if he wants to keep things going with Eva – who obviously loves him despite their issues – or not.

    Mad shortly after the success of the rather more notorious Blue Movie (which de la Parra produced), Frank & Eva is probably best known for being the feature film debut of one Sylvia Kristal before she’d go on to be immortalized in the lead role of Just Jaeckin’s smash success Emmanuelle only a short year later. And to be fair to Ms. Kristal, she does make quite an impression here. According to the box copy on this release, she urged the director to basically make a role in the film for her, and he wisely obliged. If it’s only a supporting part, she makes quite an impression both in and out of her clothing. That screen presence and sexual charisma that she rode to cinematic infamy is here even early in her career and she brings a lot to her part.

    Really though, it’s Metsers and van Ammelrooy that do most of the heavy lifting in the film. Their performances are fiery – they tend to fuck as passionately as they fight, their relationship going from hot to cool quickly and frequently. Most of it is Frank’s fault, he’s a hard-drinking womanizer who refuses to grow up but Eva learns the hard way that two wrongs don’t make a right. They play their parts well, bringing a very natural chemistry to the picture that makes the film considerably more enjoyable and entertaining had their parts been played with more restraint.

    Pim de la Parra, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Charles Gormley, keeps the pace quick. He grabs our attention right from the start, opening the film with Frank’s latest exploit, drawing us in and ensuring that we immediately want to see where things are going to take us. If the middle stretch slows down a bit, it’s only a bit, and he ramps things up considerably towards the end of the movie.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Frank & Eva arrives on a 25GB Blu-ray disc from Cult Epics framed at 1.33.1 and presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. The transfer, taken from an unspecified film source, looks decent if not amazing. Colors are generally fine, though some scenes do look a tad flat. The image hasn’t been fully restored so expect some minor print damage throughout. Thankfully the picture is quite film-like, with decent grain reproduction. Detail, depth and texture do vary from scene to scene but this looks like it might have more to do with the original photography than the transfer itself. There are no noticeable issues with compression artifacts, edge enhancement or noise reduction and skin tones, which are fairly plentiful in this film, look natural enough.

    As to the aspect ratio, Nico B. at Cult Epics has provided the following information:

    "I asked The Eye who restored the film if the film was not shot 1.66:1 originally as I wondered too, this is their answer:


    The Eye Film Institute, Netherlands:

    The film is shot 1.37:1 Academy, but we often mask to 1.33:1. Edge to edge. Thankfully, the difference between the two is negligible."

    The Dutch language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track, which comes with optional English subtitles, is mostly clean and clear. There are a few spots that sound a tad muffled and some occasional, minor hiss but overall there aren’t any real problems here. The track is properly balanced and the score sounds quite decent.

    Extras start off with an exclusive audio commentary by director Pim de la Parra where he talks about the origins of the film, making the picture on a modest budget, what it was like working with the different cast members on the shoot including Ms. Kristel (who he is quite complimentary of), how his own personal life worked its way into how the picture turned out, different locations used for the shoot and the overall state of the Dutch cinema scene at the time the picture was shot.

    From there, dig into a twelve-minute featurette entitled Up Front & Naked: Sex In Dutch Films which documents a 2017 panel from the Eye Filmmueseum where actress Willeke van Ammelrooy, filmmaker Eddy Terstall and writer Jan Doense talk about how sex intertwines with The Netherland’s unique cinematic output and how often times it is done for commercial reasons rather than for artistic ones. It’s an interesting and sometimes quite funny talk and a nice addition to the disc.

    Outside of that we get poster and still galleries dedicated to the feature, a separate Sylvia Kristel movie poster gallery, a trailer for the feature, a second feature for the director’s Obsessions, menus and chapter selection. As this is a combo pack release, a DVD version of the movie containing extras that mirror those found on the Blu-ray disc is also included.

    The Final Word:

    Frank & Eva is an entertaining piece of early seventies European sexploitation that offers a nice mix of drama to accompany its more risque elements. The main draw is seeing the lovely Ms. Kristel in her feature debut but there’s more to recommend than just her presence! Cult Epics’ Blu-ray/DVD combo pack presents this one in decent shape and with a few choice extras as well. Recommended.

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






























    Comments 9 Comments
    1. John Bernhard's Avatar
      John Bernhard -
      Film was so clearly shot widescreen, Cult Epics gives us a full screen master.
    1. Fundi's Avatar
      Fundi -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bernhard View Post
      Film was so clearly shot widescreen, Cult Epics gives us a full screen master.
      I agree with you, it looks like it was meant to be widescreen in those screenshots, probably 1.66:1 like most European films of that era. But seriously did anyone expect Cult Epics to release something that wasn't fucked up in some way?
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      So Nico at Cult Epics has chimmed in with some info, it does appear like it was shot 1.37.1 - I've updated the review with the info.
    1. cult's Avatar
      cult -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ian Jane View Post
      So Nico at Cult Epics has chimmed in with some info, it does appear like it was shot 1.37.1 - I've updated the review with the info.
      What most viewers don't understand is that a label is at the mercy of sales agent or producer of the film, who supply the HD Master often, in this case, The Eye Film Institute, Netherlands, here is their response: The film was shot 1.37:1 Academy, but we often mask to 1.33:1. Edge to edge. Thankfully, the difference between the two is negligible.
    1. John Bernhard's Avatar
      John Bernhard -
      When you are supplied with a HD open matte transfer of a widescreen film, you reject it.
      Plain and simple.
    1. cult's Avatar
      cult -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bernhard View Post
      When you are supplied with a HD open matte transfer of a widescreen film, you reject it.
      Plain and simple.
      On advise of The Eye and Pim de la Parra, we give the audience the full ratio as it was shot. I remember in the DVD days people always complained about how films were matted for DVD release, chopping of the image.
    1. Jason C's Avatar
      Jason C -
      I prefer getting open matte in many cases. I can zoom with my remote.
    1. John Bernhard's Avatar
      John Bernhard -
      Quote Originally Posted by cult View Post
      On advise of The Eye and Pim de la Parra, we give the audience the full ratio as it was shot. I remember in the DVD days people always complained about how films were matted for DVD release, chopping of the image.
      That is a very poor answer. This film is presented at the wrong ratio.
      Zooming in fixes the incorrect ratio but diminishes image quality.
    1. Jason C's Avatar
      Jason C -
      Different strokes for different folks. Any loss of image quality using Zoom would be negligible IMO.