Written by: George Pacheco on January 14th, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: France, 1974
Director: Eddy Naka
Writer: Andre Chazel, Eddy Naka, Andre Koob
Cast: Valerie Boisgel, France Nicolas, Alain Tissier
DVD Release Date: January 7th, 2014
Approximate Running Time: 66 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Mono Mono Italian
DVD Release: One Seven Movies
Region Encoding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
Erotic Blackmail is a bit of a mystery, a sexy French hardcore thriller which looks to have been stripped on penetration action by about ten minutes and dubbed in Italian.
This isn’t to say that the film isn’t enjoyable, however…just a bit convoluted and weird, due to all the jarring edits and cuts. The story itself is actually fairly basic at its core, telling the tale of two swinging couples who are taken advantage of and blackmailed by two young men looking for kicks. French pornography in the 1970s was similar to its American contemporaries in that most doubled as actual films, featuring plot lines, composed music and serviceable acting.
Erotic Blackmail is cut from a similar sort of cloth, and balances scenes of sexuality and mischief with a tone not entirely unlike some of the Italian police thrillers of the day, bolstered here by Max Gazzola’s decidedly gritty score, reminiscent of the work from maestros Ennio Morricone or Stelvio Cipriani. The story is detailed via flashback by the a maid who is recounting the story to an investigative reporter and jumps around a bit, yet the film itself isn’t too difficult to comprehend, so long as the viewer is paying attention.
A number of the actors involved here were also active in the world of French adult cinema, and there is no lack of inhibition on the parts of either the male or female cast members, the latter of which are exceptionally beautiful and seem devoted to their respective roles here in this comparatively “straight” film. Still, there are instances in the print where there was clearly something of a harder nature going on sexually, yet this DVD clocks in at a brief 66 minutes, obviously cutting out any of this footage for a more expansive place on the marketplace.
Shame, really, because although Erotic Blackmail stands on its own as a fairly enjoyable slice of sleazy French cinema, its full edition probably would have done well on a company such as Vinegar Syndrome, Impulse or Distribpix, all of which specialize in release uncut adult obscurities from the Golden Age.
The back of the DVD case for Erotic Blackmail declares that this edition contains the only surviving form of the film. If this is true, then One Seven Movies can be forgiven for the cramped image, discoloration and tracking lines which adorn this full frame presentation. There is also an ever-present audio hiss to the dialog, while the subtitles contain errors are anachronisms which occasionally take the viewer away from the film’s story. If the retail price of Erotic Blackmail were a bit lower, these issues wouldn’t be as glaring and this DVD would come as a more highly recommended purchase, but when the asking price is $24.95 SRP, it would take a very dedicated fan of cult cinema to consider taking the plunge.