Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 14th, 2006
Theatrical Release Date: France, 1984
Director: Just Jaeckin
Cast: Tawny Kitaen, Brent Huff, Zabou, Bernadette Lafont, Jean Rougerie, Roland Amstutz
DVD released: June 27th, 2006
Approximate running time: 104 mins
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 French, Dolby Digital Stereo Surround French, Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Stereo Surround English
DVD Release: Severin Films
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
Synopsis: Gwendoline (Tawny Kitaen) goes to China looking for her father who went missing while looking for a rare species of butterflies. She meets up with a ruff neck named Willard (Brent Huff) who reluctantly agrees to help her find her father who was last seen in the in the Land of the Yik Yak. After they leave the land of Yik Yak they come across an underground world of Amazon warriors and a ruthless queen who knows the answers Gwendoline seeks.
Just Jaeckin tens years before making The Perils of Gwendoline would make his feature film debut with the erotic masterpiece Emmanuelle. He would direct seven more films during this span including The Story of O and Lady Chatterley’s Lover. The Perils of Gwendoline to date is the last film directed by Just Jaeckin.
Like many my first exposure to the cinema of Just Jaeckin was via his more erotic features like Emmanuelle, The Story of O and Lady Chatterley’s Lover. First off those going into The Perils of Gwendoline excepting the erotic romps Just Jaeckin is most famous for will be greatly disappointed since this film is a complete opposite of everything he ever made. This doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty T&A in this film it just means that these elements take a back seat.
The Perils of Gwendoline is an action adventure that harkens back to the serials features of the 1930’s and 1940’s. The film is filled with lavish sets and many which look futuristic in there design. Humor plays a huge role in this film and director Just Jaeckin has created many great moments that are a riot. By far and away the funniest moment in the film occurs when Gwendoline and Willard are forced to go incognito dressed in what amounts to nothing more then kinky women’s lingerie. Watching Willard run around in a thong with his five O’ Clock shadow is a sight that I will now soon forget.
The acting on a whole is pretty good with Tawny Kitaen doing what she does best looking beautiful. French actress Zabou is delightful as Gwendoline’s sidekick Beth. The best performance in the film is without a doubt Brent Huff as Willard. Huff’s willingness to do the most absurd things is refreshing to see form a leading man. He still is as macho as the rest of the men and when he needs too he crushes skulls. Overall The Perils of Gwendoline is a sexy adventure that is a lot of fun.
Severin Films launches their brand new DVD label with the release of Just Jaeckin’s The Perils of Gwendoline. The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and it is anamorphic enhanced. The image looks fabulous with excellent detail and vivid colors. There are no problems with artifacts, compression or edge enhancement.
There are several audio options available for this release including French and English languages. Both languages are comes with two options Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital stereo surround. All four audio mixes are free of any distortion or sound defects and the dialog is crystal clear. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix sounds more dynamic and sound fuller then the Dolby Digital stereo surround mixes. English subtitles have been included that are free of any spelling errors and are easy to follow.
Extras for this release include the films international and U.S. theatrical trailers. Also included for this release are the photo’s Just Jaeckin shot of Tawny Kitaen for the French magazine Lui. Other extras include a forty three minutes audio interview with John Willie the creator of Gwendoline. His comments are interesting and often tragic as he is clearly not altogether when this interview was conducted. Rounding out the extras in a twenty four minute featurette titled “The Last Temptation of Just” with features comments from director Just Jackin who also provides a feature length audio commentary for this release. He is joined on the audio commentary by two film critics. Just Jackin fills both the featurette and audio commentary with many wonderful stories.
Severin Films presents The Perils of Gwendoline uncut for the first time ever in North America. Besides releasing this film uncut they have also released the R rated version that had been previously released in North America. The Perils of Gwendoline can now be finally seen the way it was always meant to seen via Severin Films special edition DVD, highly recommended.
Nucleus Films (UK DVD Release)