Classy Brothel Girls Bring Dirty EVIL Secrets to “Madame Claude” reviewed! (Cult Epics / Blu-ray)

A high end Paris brothel ran by the influential Madame Claude sends the most beautiful and sophistical women to wealthy and powerful dignitaries all over the world to satisfy their most sexual desires.  Her lucrative business becomes a governmental target seeking to collect back taxes on the illicit business.  However, the French government is the least of her worries when a playboy-aspiring rake and amateur photographer snaps photos of Madame Claude’s clients in compromising situations that can be ruinous to their status.  The CIA becomes involved when unscrupulous business dealings involving an American and Japanese companies connect to Madame Claude and her potentially persuasive young women after rumored photographs put the Madame Claude in the middle.  Two governments, big businesses, a jet setting brothel, wealthy socialites and a nosy photographer become involved in lies, secrets, and the potential for murder.

Part biography, part fiction, “Madame Claude,” also known as “The French Girl,” is the 1977 released erotic and political thriller based off the real Madame Claude, Fernande Grudet, as her life of prostitution management and scrutiny unfolded before the public eyes in the mid 1970’s.  Erotically and elegantly sexy with gorgeous women groomed into lust and ensnared into the lion’s den of exchanging powers, “Madame Claude” became the third film from the immensely successful erotic French director, Just Jaeckin, following 1974’s “Emmanuelle” and 1975’s “The Story of O.”  Jaeckin, pressured by his financiers to continue his success in the highly sought eroticism, returns to the randy genre, but this time with a story to his liking, one that is embroiled in the background of a bribery scandal involving aerospace company, Lockheed, at the heart of it. From a script by crime-action writer André G. Brunelin, based off the book of memories of Madame Claude by Jacques Quiorez, Jaeckin splices visual elements of each story together to form not only an arousing sexual lamination but also a cloak-and-dagger tenser of a film. Shot primarily in Paris, with minor shoots in the Bahamas and Washington, D.C., especially the scenes on the faux White House, “Madame Claude” is a production of Orphée Arts of Paris with Claire Duval on as executive producer.

While the titular character is the obvious centerpiece, Jaeckin mingles the characters around each other in a game of espionage chess toward the endgame of checkmate. Keystone to everyone’s problems is Madame Claude, played by renowned French actress and early onscreen sex object, Françoise Fabian, who previously had roles in the paranormal pubescent horror, “Expulsion of the Devil,” a more comedy-friendly brothel film, “Holiday Hookers,” and among many other films predating 1977, but not until later in Fabian’s career did show rocket to success, playing older, more aligned, women that strongly championed feminism, such as portraying “Madame Claude” who used sex as a means to gain control and power of men, and pushed it to the brink of the era’s cinematic limits. “Horsehead’s’ Murray Head plays the photographer schmo, David Evans, making Madame Claude’s life complicated. An about town ladies man, Evans goes to each of Claude’s girls one-by-one and, for some reason or another, they invite the handsomely charming, but brutish, amateur porn photographer into their bedrooms, sleeping his way into blackmail scheme that will bring down the most powerful brothel head in all of Paris while also lining his pocket with not only money but power among the socialites who treat him like the village idiot. Head’s nails down the fast-and-loose aspect of Evan’s personality that treats his stratagem like a game he’s already won, but when the government agencies come knocking on doors, Head about faces Evan’s waggish incompetence to a frightened man looking around every corner for danger. It’s wonderful to see Head interact with Klaus Kinski (“Nosferatu the Vampire”) and Marc Michel as a ridiculed subordinate in an examination of social status as Kinski and Michel flaunt expensive taste and lavish orgies in lieu of decency, but it’s Murray Head, playing the fool with cemented proof that would put all them of into shame, as the aspirer to their life of luxuries. The beautiful Dayle Haddon (“Cyborg”), Vibeke Knudsen-Bergeron (“Spermula”), and Ylva Setterborg stun in just a handful of the very elegant, and very naked, women acting as Madame Claude’s international bound employees. Other cast of characters in “Madame Claude’s” game of lies and spies include Robert Webber (“Death Steps in the Dark”), Jean Gaven (“The Story of O”), François Perrot, André Falcon, and Maurice Renot.

Following his films “Emmanuelle” and “The Story of O,” Jaeckin’s “Madame Claude” strays into an atypical kind of formulaic eroticism downplaying the sexual excursions and discoveries for a more typical crime drama affair. Jaeckin’s directorial abilities can take you on an exotic tour around the world and onto the fleshy planes of some of the most gorgeous and provocative women to ever grace the screen. Yet, “Madame Claude” trims substantially the skin with a more precise execution to be more of an oil lubricating the machine rather than the gear that actually operates the mechanism to entail sex as a misused tool for motivation and bribery. These scenes of fleeting eroticism outright shine Just Jaeckin’s proclivities with mirrored reflections and becoming lost in the entanglement of sexually enflamed bodies and these scenes outright shine Jaeckin’s intent on delivering a corkscrew crime drama with double-dealings, wiretapping, and counterintelligence gathering as what unfolds isn’t clearly delineated between Madame Claude, David Evans, the French and U.S. Governments and the Lockheed scandal that actually becomes sidetracked at times by the infiltrated sex-training of Madame Claude business as the brothel head has to train an alternative misfit new girl and send her to the Bahamas work trip shortly after a quick one-night-stand initiation with one of the Madame’s trusted former beaus. We wholeheartedly become more intrigued and fascinated with Madame Claude’s feminist principles, recruiting subjugated women to use their sexuality to dominate and become wealthy in the process. In more than one scene, Madame Claude flaunts self-admiration in transforming star-crossed girls into young women fortune bound with their promiscuous ways. Madame Claude’s murky backstory caresses her complexities of anti-man without detail delving into the turning point catalyst that made her become who she became to be, an affluent Madame, other than a seemingly emotionally and controllably invalidating romantic experience with a long time friend and business companion, Pierre (Maurice Renot).

Cult Epics sustains another forgotten classic into a celebrated Blu-ray release with a new 4K HD transfer of “Madame Claude” from the original 35mm negative, supervised by the original cinematographer, Robert Fraisse. Housed on a BD50, the region free release maintains the impeccable coloring under Fraisse’s soft glow with no cropping or undue enhances that tries to put out fire with gasoline and, aside from a discolored yellow-greenish, translucent stripe, perhaps a loose film roll, during the opening scene, the image quality is clean and pleasing in it’s natural 35mm grain. The English and French language audio tracks come with three options: LPCM 2.0 mono, DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono, and a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. The DTS-HD Master Audio had the highest marks, slightly topping Dolby Digital stereo with a little more gusto in the pipes. Audible dialogue is clean and forefront, but the engineered dubbing laid over Murray Head and, even, the self-dubbing of Dayle Haddon can be off-putting at times when actors’ voices seem to not be sharing the same vocal space with others on screen. French composer Serge Gainsbourg’s lounge, yé-yé score tuned into that erotic soufflé of light and airy pop music that can be often dreamy with singsongy female vocals, complimenting the softer, sexier side of Jaeckin’s film while also playing into period melodies of the 1970’s. Cult Epics always has down right with resurrecting obscure erotica for not only quality sake but also to arm the hell out of the releases with bonus material. Included with “Madame Claude” is an audio commentary by Jeremy Richey (author of the upcoming book entitled Sylvia Kristel: from Emmanuelle to Chabrol), a high definition, Nico B. produced interview with director Just Jaeckin from 2020, the vintage French theatrical trailer, a promotional photo gallery, and Cult Epics previews. Not the most sensual film shot by the renowned maestro of venereal visuals, Just Jaeckin explores his versatility by acclimatizing familiarity with new horizons surrounding brothel delights with shadow games and the new 4K Blu-ray from Cult Epics is the one, and only, way to experience it all in “Madame Claude.”

Cult Epic’s “Madame Claude” on Blu-ray. Available at Amazon – click the poster!


Cult Epics Book Campaign!

Cult Epics have launched a new campaign for the Hardcover Book “CULT EPICS – COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE” at INDIEGOGO
https://igg.me/at/cultepicsbook

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of Cult Epics, this commemorative book covers 150 essential releases 
from filmmakers such as Tinto Brass, Fernando Arrabal, Radley Metzger,
 Walerian Borowcyzk, Jean Genet, Abel Ferrara, Rene Daalder, Olivier Smolders, Jorg Buttgereit, Nico B, Irving Klaw, and pinup legend Bettie Page.

The book is divided into chapters on specific directors or genre (such as arthouse, horror, erotica, and music), and includes over 100 extensive in-depth reviews, essays and interviews by top writers – Mark R. Hasan, Michael Den Boer, Nathaniel Thompson, Ian Jane, Heather Drain, Rayo Casablanco, Matthew Whoolery, David Kerekes and Marcus Stiglegger, among others. The book will be fully illustrated in color with rare photos, poster art, and memorabilia – including images and rare personal notes from Bettie Page. Size is approximately 8.75″ x 11.25″ x 1″ with 256 full color pages (and over 200 pictures).

Here are some exclusive perks:

1. CULT EPICS – COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO CULT CINEMA. HC BOOK.
Cult Epics Hardcover Book + Your Name in the Acknowledgements + Digital Book – $50.00

2. CULT EPICS HC BOOK + DEATH LAID AN EGG BD/DVD/CD COMBO
Cult Epics Hardcover Book + Limited Edition of 3 disc Combo (Blu-ray/DVD/CD) of DEATH LAID AN EGG (Director’s Cut), a giallo film by Giulio Questi, starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, Ewa Aulin, Gina Lollobrigida. We offer our next upcoming release only through INDIEGOGO with EXCLUSIVE SOUNDTRACK CD (only 300 to be made) with fantastic score by Bruno Maderna, numbered, not to be available in stores + Your Name in the Acknowledgements + Digital Book – $75.00

3. CULT EPICS HC BOOK – SIGNED BY 10 DIRECTORS!
Cult Epics Hardcover Book – Ltd. ed. of 20 copies Exclusively Signed by the following filmmakers: Tinto Brass, Radley Metzger, Fernando Arrabal, Agusti Villaronga, Jorg Buttgereit, Gerald Kargl, George Barry, Anna Biller, Nico B + 10th director t.b.c. + Your Name in the Acknowledgements + Digital Book – $250.00

This gorgeously vivid illustrated book will be printed in July and ready to ship in August! Better hurry and get those awesome perks and grab a Limited Edition copy! Only 1,000 in stock!

Don’t wait!

March 2017 Cult Epics Gets “Mondo Weirdo” and “Vampiros Sexos” on Blu-ray/DVD!

MONDO WEIRDO / VAMPIROS SEXOS Premieres on BLU-RAY/DVD March 14, 2017

Los Angeles, CA (March 6, 2017.) Cult Epics presents Carl Andersen’s films, the European answer to the Cinema of Transgression of Richard Kern and Nick Zedd, except more extreme, eccentric, surreal and erotic.

“The Hard-core version of Eraserhead” –Jan Doense (Weekend of Terror)
MONDO WEIRDO: A TRIP TO PARANOIA PARADISE aka JUNGFRAU IM ABGRUND wallows in smut, sleaze, gore, splatter, and dark comedy and is set in an underground world where both vampires and punk rockers engage in hardcore sex to the highly addictive and hypnotic electro music of Model D’oo. Dedicated to Jean Luc-Godard and Jess Franco featuring his daughter Jessica Franco-Manera. Shot on 16mm stock, presented in a new High-definition transfer on Blu-ray.

“Vampire Porno”
VAMPIROS SEXOS aka I WAS A TEENAGE ZABBADOING… is Carl Andersen’s debut film and is one of the weirdest movies ever, and it will certainly shock your mind. VAMPIROS SEXOS is the ultimate European underground punk rock sex vampire film. Stylish and trashy at the same time in the best sort of way, the film also features an endlessly entrancing no-wave score by Model D’oo. Cult Epics presents the rare only existing Uncut SD version on DVD together with: WHAT’S SO DIRTY ABOUT IT? Bonus short film. Cut-up trance noise nihilistic short film, reminiscent of the work of Throbbing Gristle and Kenneth Anger. SD

3 Disc Limited (numbered) Edition of 2000 copies includes Exclusive CD soundtrack by Model D’oo.

MONDO WEIRDO/VAMPIROS SEXOS Blu-ray/DVD/CD Combo
Price: $39.95
Street Date: March, 2016
Production Year: 1988/1990/1990
Film run time: Approx. 68/57/9
Language: English & German language with English subtitles
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Label: Cult Epics
Distributor: CAV
Blu-ray/DVD/CD Cat.no. CE-149
BD UPC: 881190014998
Rating: Not Rated

SPECIAL FEATURES
New High-definition Transfer (from original 16mm print)
Introduction by Erwin Leder (star of Angst)
The Making of Mondo Weirdo (2016)
The Making of I was a Teenage Zabbadoing aka Vampiros Sexos (2016)
Bonus film: What’s So Dirty About It? (1990)

Holiday Charity Starts Now! Distribution label Cult Epics Campaigns for a Continuous Cult Cinema Journey!

Cult Epic founder Nico B. wants to spread the joy of cult cinema to not only the television sets at home, but to the world! The Dutch filmmaker and passionate cult cinema lover has employed me, and other social media coordinators and bloggers, as a servant of his word, delivering the following message to all fans of erotica, horror, and arthouse films!

We are in our last week, and this is the week that counts. Some of you have contributed to our campaign, thank you so much! and we would ask all who are fans of our label or releases and want to secure its future in the new year, please pick a Perk to your liking and support us in our endeavor bringing you new releases in the years to come. One of the titles we have secured the rights as well for is the most interesting giallo DEATH LAID AN EGG, so there is much work to do, and for such we need funding, which current distributors no longer provide.

Also please give the campaign one more push on your social media:
CULT EPICS INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN Cult Epics presents controversial art films with a cult following on DVD and Blu-ray. At its 25th Anniversary year Cult Epics needs your support to continue bringing you new releases. Find out more here: https://igg.me/at/cultepics

Best regards, Nico B
www.cultepics.com

Please show your support! Every little bit matters and you may get a little something in return if you donate $20 or more! I got my eye on that Nekromantik T-shirt! Only 1 MORE WEEK TO GO!

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