Written by: Michael Den Boer on December 11th, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: France, 1975
Director: Jesus Franco
Writer: Jesus Franco
Cast: Alice Arno, Marie-France Bertrand, Lina Romay, Abdul, Paul Muller, James Harri, Catherine Lafferière, Monica Swinn, Angelo Bassi, Richard Bigotini
BluRay released: October 8th, 2013
Approximate running times: 80 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
BluRay Release: Severin Films
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95
If ever there was a filmmaker whose film’s evoked the feeling of déjà vu, that filmmaker would be Jess Franco who’s film’s have a distinct familiarity to them despite the fact that he would effortlessly shift from one genre to another. Where most filmmakers would find that one genre that they feel comfortable working in. He would take on all offers to satisfy his obsessive need to create. And in this regard genre becomes secondary when watching his films, since he is arguably his own genre. And nowhere is this more evident than in how many of Franco’s films are loosely linked by themes and in a lesser regard of recycling names of characters, thus creating an almost linear link from one film to the next.
Though known more his distinctive visuals then clever dialog it is oddly appropriately that one of the best lines to appear in any Franco film appears in The Hot Nights of Linda. When Lina’s character named Olivia says… ‘It’s marvelous to live without a sense of time’, if there ever was a line of dialog that could perfectly sum of a film.
Narrative wise The Hot Nights of Linda is simple and to the point. The characters, their nasty habits and their back-stories are all well defined. The atmospheric visuals are well suited for this film’s deliberate pacing which reinforces that previously quoted line of dialog. A few standout moments in the film include a dream / nightmare sequence which reveals a traumatic event form the past. A scene where Olivia seduces the mentally challenged mute that has access to something she wants.
Performance wise though the entire cast more then hold their own in their respective roles. There are two performances that standout above all others. These two performances are Pierre Taylou (Exorcism) in the role of the Abdul the mentally challenged mute and Lina Romay (Female Vampire) in the role of a nymphomaniac named Olivia. Besides the aforementioned scene where she seduces a mute, she has another superbly realized seduction scene with Alice Arno character and of course there is a scene where she performs fellatio with a banana.
The Hot Nights of Linda comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. Print damage minimal and there are a few minor instances of color fading. Besides these two minor issues the overall quality for this transfer is sure to exceed most Francofile’s expectations, especially considering how hard it is has been to track down a watchable transfer for this film. Also there are no issues with compression or edge enhancement.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD Dolby Digital mono mix in English. Though limited at times in range the overall quality of this audio mix is very good. Background hiss is minimal, dialog always comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced.
Extras for this release include a English language trailer for the film (4 minutes 3 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), outtakes (5 minutes 31 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), Fantastic Fest’s lifetime achievement presentation to Jess Franco (1 minutes 35 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), three interviews, the first one with Jess Franco titled ‘Hot Nights of Jess’ (16 minutes 17 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in English with English subtitles), the seconds interview with Lina Romay and Jess Franco (12 minutes 8 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in English) and third interview with author Stephen Thrower (11 minutes 55 seconds – anamorphic widescreen).
Topics discusses in ‘Hot Nights of Jess’ and the interview with Lina and Jess include that he wrote The Hot Nights of Linda for Lina, the film’s score, the cast, the film’s plot and the multiple edits of this film and their thoughts on their cinema legacy. Topics discussed in the Stephen Thrower interview include how this was one of the most productive periods of Franco’s career, themes and character names that appear in numerous Franco films, how his film’s were assembled post production, censorship and the multiple edits of this film.
The first pressing of this DVD release 2,500 copies comes with a bonus disc that contains the alternate hardcore version of the film titled ‘Les Nuits Brulantes De Linda’ (79 minutes 3 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in French with English subtitles). It should be noted that this version of the film comes from a VHS source.
Also included with this release is a DVD counterpart to the Blu-Ray disc. Overall The Hot Nights of Linda gets a first rate release from Severin Films, highly recommended.