Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 13th, 2005
Theatrical Release Date: West Germany, March 14th, 1969 & France, November 27th, 1974
Director: Jesus Franco
Writers: Xavier Pérez Grobet, Milo G. Cuccia, Carlo Fadda, Jesus Franco
Cast: Maria Schell, Herbert Lom, Mercedes McCambridge, Maria Rohm, Rosalba Neri
DVD released: April 5th, 2005
Approximate running time: 98 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono French
DVD Release: Blue Underground
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
The Film :
Marie (Maria Rohm) has been sent to a prison on a remote island that is run by warden (Mercedes McCambridge). As if being in prison wasn’t hard enough Marie soon finds out that the warden is repaying Governor Santos (Herbert Lom) the warden of the men’s prison which is located on the other side of the island by giving him his choice of the female prisoners. His eyes and libido quickly fix on the prisons latest fresh meat Marie who he arranges a sexual rendezvous with via the warden. Rumors or abuse and misconduct at the prison force the government to send in Leonie Caroll (Maria Schell) to investigate the validity of these complaints. Leonie befriends Marie and even promises to look into her case, but when it appears that her promise was for nothing. Marie and two other inmates plan a daring escape through the thick and treacherous jungle.
The X-rated version of 99 Women is presented in an anamorphic version that retains the film original 1.66:1 aspect ratio. The colors look nicely saturated as they faithfully represent the subdued and low key look Franco was going for. The flesh tones look healthy and natural. The black levels are extremely good as the amount details that can be made out in darker or low light scenes far exceeded my expectations. The porn inserts don’t far as well as the original footage and to be honest they stick out like a sore thumb. They don’t retain the same film like quality the other scenes have and they look like they were taken from a third generation bootleg tape. Print damage is minor and edge enhancement is minimal. This DVD transfer is progressive scan. Overall the image remains steady and sharp with some noticeable grain through out.
This DVD comes with only one audio track a French language track that comes with English subtitle that are easy to read and follow. The dialog is easy to follow as it never gets drown out by the music and effects. There is some minor hiss, still nothing that ever becomes distracting. Overall while not flawless this audio mix considering its age and limitations of the mono mix is more then adequate.
This DVD contains no extras.
This X-rated version of 99 Women contains eight hardcore scenes that were shot by the infamous Bruno Mattei and the running time on them is just shy of twenty one minutes. Not only has some footage been removed to insert these hardcore scenes. New scenes, different music cues, changed dialog and a completely different ending have been added for this release. The inserts are poorly done and none of the actors even look remotely like the actor they are doubling for. This DVD edition of 99 women has come under fire from several of Jess Franco fans since it doesn’t faithfully represents the film Jess Franco had envisioned and adding his name to this edition is in bad taste. This DVD is nothing more then a butchered version of one of Franco’s better films and it also comes at a high price that will hopefully discourage some from buying this DVD.