Color, 1972, 83 mins. 13 secs.
Directed by Willy Rozier
Starring Sandra Julien, Jürgen Drews, Michel Paulin, Jacqueline Laurent
Mondo Macabro (Blu-ray) (US R0 HD), Bach Films (DVD) (France R0 PAL), Donau-Film (DVD) (Germany R0 PAL)
THE GIRL CAN'T STOP
B&W, 1965, 92 mins. 29 secs.
Directed by Willy Rozier
Starring Xenia Kalogeropoulou, Georges Rivière, Jean Sobieski, Claude Cerval, Jenny Astruc, Zeta Apostolou, Georges Lycan, Jacques Harden
Mondo Macabro (Blu-ray) (US R0 HD)
The name of Willy Rozier doesn't exactly loom large among the titans of French cinema, though over the course of his directorial career from 1934 into the mid-1970s he tried his hand at just about every genre out there. Workmanlike in the purest sense, he ended up veering into light sexploitation during his last working decade with two noteworthy films getting their first English-friendly releases courtesy of Mondo Macabro on Blu-ray. The headliner here is about as typical a softcore early '70s romp as you can get, Ravishing Dany (Dany la ravageuse), an episodic escapade through the French countryside through the eyes of the titular character played by Sandra Julien fresh off her starring turn in Jean Rollin's The Shiver of the Vampires.
Dany, short for Danielle, is a vivacious model delivering narration about her recent misadventures in hitchhiking through Italy, a travel tactic she's using to save money to buy her own car. Her special technique to flag down motorists flings her through some very odd characters, starting with an obsessive, religious butterfly collector who wants to romp around fields with his net in the buff. Decked out in go-go boots and a very short skirt, she keeps having bad luck and mostly ends up getting tossed our of cars or running for her life as she deals with a kinky hearse driver, an even kinkier couple, a sadistic whip-happy butler, a lesbian in drag, a trio of bank robbers, and a pop star who swaps her out with his buddy when she isn't paying attention. The tone here veers all over the place from silly slapstick to harrowing violence, sometimes within the same scene; mostly though it's an excuse to get Julien and most of the other cast members naked as much as possible, which is exactly what you'd expect.
Released theatrically throughout Europe and Canada (including an apparent stint under the title Hitchhooker!), Ravishing Dany eventually ended up on DVD in France and Germany (not English friendly) with a few gray market releases floating around as well. The transfer here looks excellent with great colors and more detail than the DVDs by a fair margin, plus it has the English dub in addition to the French track with optional English subtitles (both DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono).
Also on the same disc is 1965's The Girl Can't Stop (Les chiens dans la nuit), a Greek-shot French thriller about the sordid undercurrents of the jet set around all those casinos and yachts. Hard-edged gambler Manuel (Castle of Blood and The Virgin of Nuremberg's Rivière) is so far gone his losings at the roulette table include the wedding ring of his wife, Tassoula (Kalogeropoulou). Meanwhile rich banker's nephew Giorgian (Death Laid an Egg's Sobieski) sends his eyepatch-wearing henchman (Lycan) to rope in bleach-blonde shoplifter Zeta (Apostolou) for some chateau sadism and mind games. Soon the two story strands intersect as Manuel comes up with a plan to get rich quick using his wife's seductive wiles, and Giorgian has his own plans that are bound to end very badly for just about everyone involved including possible murder.
Beautifully shot and strangely easy to watch, The Girl Can't Stop has just enough twists and perverse thrills to get by while delivering lots of sunny Greek scenery and pretty people doing awful things. There's even a surprisingly solid musical number late in the film, and while this doesn't tread any new cinematic ground by any means, it's a nice little noir-style thriller with a few sexy quirks. This one also looks excellent with an immaculate scan from the negative, presented in French mono with optional English subtitles. This did get a theatrical U.S. release at one point in the '60s with an English dub, though that track apparently no longer exists.
As for video extras, an interview with the director's daughter, Catherine Rozier (17m41s), is a fond remembrance of his work including her intermittent memories of tagging along for the shoots, the differences in his attitude on set versus at home, and lots of background on her family and her dad's history as a sports champion. "Christophe Bier Reads Director Willy Rozier" (19m56s) is a rare interview with the filmmaker with comments about his films and a variety of memories about his time in the industry. "Visa Ministeriel N. 39067" (25m26s) is a very interesting look with Bier poring through a file room to go over Ravishing Dany's issues with the censors, right at the height of the softcore wave and on the cusp of hardcore taking over in France. Also included are a textless Dany trailer and a 2m8s selection of "XXX" Dany inserts, which are actually not even close to hardcore but look really unflattering for the stand-ins involved.
Reviewed on August 18, 2023.