Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 1st, 2017
Theatrical Release Date: Spain, 1980
Director: Jesus Franco
Writer: Jesus Franco
Cast: Lina Romay, Lynn Monteil, Olivier Mathot, Joëlle Le Quément, Mel Rodrigo, Claude Boisson, Albino Graziani, Susan Hemingway, Muriel Montossé
BluRay released: August 29th, 2017
Approximate running times: 94 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: LPCM Mono English, LPCM Mono French
Subtitles: English SDH (for the English language track), English (for the French language track)
BluRay Release: Severin Films
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95
Jess Franco over the years has been known to remake or create variations of films that he had previously made. The spy genre is a one that he has dabbled in numerous times including films like Lucky, the Inscrutable and The Devil Came from Akasava. The premise for Two Female Spies with Flowered Panties bears a striking resemblance to Jess Franco’s two Red Lips films (Two Undercover Angels and Kiss Me, Monster).
There are two version of this film, Opal of Fire, Merchants of Sex (the Spanish language version) and Two Female Spies with Flowered Panties (the English / French language version). Besides each version having footage that is not in the other version. The Spanish language version also omits Cecile and Brigitte’s introduction scene that gives more background information about their mission. The English / French language version has this scene. Also, the English / French language version has scenes with actress Susan Hemingway (her character does not appear in the Spanish language version).
The plot for Two Female Spies with Flowered Panties revolves around two ex-convicts who use their sexy dancing skills to help them spy on the enemy. The way in which these two convicts dance is almost exactly as the dance number was choreographed in Two Undercover Angels. This draw out strip tease is the most memorable and enjoyable moment in Two Female Spies with Flowered Panties. Another standout moment is when Lina Romay’s character Cecile is captured and tortured by the enemy. The action is fast and furious as things move along quickly in this sexy spy romp.
The two leads Lina Romay as Cecile and Nadine Pascal as Brigitte make a dynamic and alluring duo. For whatever reason Lina Romay’s character is featured more than Nadine Pascal’s character even though they are paired together in the beginning of the film. This film also features some all the wall humor like the scene where Cecile finds a corpse in her closet. The score for Two Female Spies with Flowered Panties is very catching and at times it sounds oddly familiar.
The films English title Two Female Spies with Flowered Panties is kind of misleading since none of the female spies’ wear flower panties. The films Spanish language title is Ópalo de fuego: Mercaderes del sexo translates into Opal of Fire, Merchants of Sex. And the Spanish title makes more sense it reveals some of the plot. Ultimately if you enjoyed Jess Franco’s two Red Lips films (Two Undercover Angels and Kiss Me, Monster) then you will surely enjoy Two Female Spies with Flowered Panties.
Two Female Spies with Flowered Panties comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. This release has been flagged for progressive playback and the film is presented in its intended 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Though there are a few moments where colors look subdued, the appear to be accurate. The transfer is faithful to the films intended soft-focus cinematography. Black levels are best described as adequate and there are some mild issues related to compression. Overall when compared to previous home video releases, this new transfer is superior in every way.
This release comes with two audio options, a LPCM mono mix in English and a LPCM mono mix in French. It should be noted that both of these audio mixes were created in post-production. Both audio mixes sound, clear, balanced and robust when they need too, especially the film’s score. Also included with this release are English SDH subtitles for the English language track and English subtitles for the French language track. Out of these two audio mixes, the French language track is the most satisfying. With the English language track having many of trappings that are associated with English language tracks created in post-production.
Extras for this release include, a reversible cover art, an English language trailer for the film (2 minutes 7 seconds), Outtakes (8 minutes 50 seconds, there is no sound with this extra), a featurette titled Stephen Thrower on Two Female Spies (28 minutes 46 seconds), a featurette titled Filmmaker Donald Farmer Interviews Longtime Franco Composer Daniel White (11 minutes 51 seconds, in English with English subtitles) and a featurette titled Two Cats in The Canaries: An Interview with Director Jess Franco (10 minutes 28 seconds, in French with English subtitles).
Topics discussed in the featurette with Stephen Thrower include, how Two Female Spies with Flowered Panties was made during a transitional period for Jess Franco, the origins of the film, humor in Jess Franco films, the Red Lips films, the cast, differences between the Spanish language version and the French / English language version, background information about the locations and his thoughts about the film.
Topics discussed in the featurette with Daniel White include, his origins as a composer, Jess Franco and his thoughts about their numerous collaborations, producer Harry Alan Towers, Eurocine / Daniel and Marius Lesoeur, Lina Romay, Howard Vernon, background information about directors that he worked with and composer Bruno Nicolai.
Topics discussed in the featurette with Jess Franco include, locations featured in Two Female Spies with Flowered Panties, production related topics, author Gérard de Villiers, genre filmmaker / his own legacy as a filmmaker and his thoughts about Two Female Spies with Flowered Panties.
Rounding out the extras is the Spanish version of the film under the title Opal of Fire, Merchants of Sex (90 minutes 14 seconds, in Spanish with English subtitles, 1.33:1 aspect ratio). This extra comes on a separate DVD that is limited to the first 3,000 Blu-ray’s. Overall Two Female Spies with Flowered Panties gets an excellent release from Severin Films, highly recommended.
Screenshots from the Spanish Language version Opal of Fire, Merchants of Sex