Written by: Michael Den Boer on May 7th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Spain, June 17th, 1985
Director: Jesus Franco
Writer: Santiago Moncada
Cast: William Berger, Analía Ivars, Carlos Mendy, Antonio Mayans, Freddy Blankton, Muriel Montossé, Ricardo Palacios, Juan Soler, Jorge Laverny, Luis Barboo, Alfredo Kier, Delia Luna, Silvia Montez, Lina Romay
DVD released: 2007
Approximate running time: 96 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Letterboxed Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Castilian
DVD Release: Filmax
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL (Spain)
Retail Price: $20.95
Synopsis: A down on his luck gambler contemplates suicide after losing everything including his wife. After several failed attempts to take his own life he comes up with a game he can’t lose. The gambler hands four people each a one ace out of the deck and the person who ends up with the ace of hearts wins the honor of killing him. After the card sets in motion his planned execution fates intervenes when his wife comes back to him. Will he be able to discover the person who holds the ace of hearts before they complete the contract?
Jess Franco’s Juego sucio en Casablanca is one of his more entertaining and crafted films to emerge from him in the last thirty three years. The plot revolves around an alcoholic writer who tries to kill himself after his wife leaves him. The pacing is handled well and the structure of the film is split between the present and a series of flashbacks. These flashback scenes are the most effective part of the film. The flashbacks are also the only part of the film where Franco really shines visually. The cinematography for Juego sucio en Casablanca was handle by Juan Soler worked on virtually every Jess Franco film from 1980’s Wicked Memoirs of Eugenie up until 1987’s Las Chicas del tanga.
The acting in this film is not as bad as later Franco films with the two standout performances being William Berger as the alcoholic writer and Muriel Montossé as his estranged wife. Muriel Montossé is one of Franco’s more memorable actresses from the 1980’s. The scenes between Berger and Montossé are the strongest moments in the film. Acting wise this film as good as it was felt like it was missing something and that was Lina Romay who as an actress can elevate a film even a bad one just with her presence. Romay does have an uncredited role in the film.
Sexually this film is not as lurid as Franco has been in the past. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t any nudity of sex scenes they are just not as explicit like Franco can get in films like Macumba sexual and Cecilia. This production is also more wide open as there are several locations used which give the story a larger scope then it could have had by confining the story to one or two locations like Franco has done with some many films. The films superb score was composed by Julián Sacristán who had previously worked with Jess Franco on the film Bahía blanca.
Overall Juego sucio en Casablanca fall’s somewhere in-between average and good Franco.
Juego sucio en Casablanca is presented in a letterboxed widescreen that preserves the films original aspect ratio. Colors look natural with only few instances where they look slightly distorted. Outside of a few shots details look sharp throughout. This interlaced transfer doesn’t have any blurring or ghosting issues. Over the transfer is free of print damage and the image as whole is very pleasing with some minor room for improvement.
One audio option is include with this a Dolby Digital stereo mix in Castilian. The audio sounds clean and it is free of any major audio defects. A few instances during the mix the audio sounds too thin. No subtitle options have been provided with this release.
No extra content has been included with this release. Besides the main feature the only other content included with the static menu is a scene selection.
Filmax gives Juego sucio en Casablanca a DVD release that is on par audio/video wise with their DVD release for Cuanto Cobra Un Espia?