Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 11th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Spain, 1961
Director: Jesus Franco
Writers: Pío Ballesteros, Jesus Franco, Carmen M. Román
Cast: Antonio Ozores, Mikaela, Lina Morgan, Antonio Garisa, Yves Massard, Juan Antonio Riquelme, Mary Begoña, Trini Alonso
DVD released: 2004
Approximate running time: 100 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Letterboxed Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 & Mono Castilian
DVD Release: Divisa Home Video
Region Coding: Region 2 NTSC (Spain)
Retail Price: 9,95 € (Euro)
Synopsis: Three musicians and an actress uncover a counterfeiting operation while performing at a nightclub.
Vampiresas 1930 is a musical/comedy directed by prolific filmmaker Jess Franco. This early effort from Franco shows the influence Hollywood films like MGM musical and screwball comedies had on him at the beginning of his career before he established his own distinctive style. The plot for Vampiresas 1930 centers around four friends who are mistakenly accused of killing a man found with counterfeit money. They disguise themselves as an all black girl jazz band by donning black-face. While wandering around the club they are performing they accidentally uncover a counterfeiting organization and the identities of the killers’. If this plot sounds vaguely familiar that is because it bears a strong resemblance to the Marilyn Monroe film some like it hot.
The plot for Vampiresas 1930 is not that deep or fleshed out with the film being padded with musical numbers. The music numbers are well constructed and entertaining. One thing that I found misleading is the film title Vampiresas 1930 since there are no vampires outside of a brief scene at the beginning of the film in which an actress named Dora is about to stake a vampire. This scene is quickly revealed to be part of a movie within a movie. The two standout moments in the film are a scene were Dora is having the press photograph and take notes on her Trist with a young musician named Tony while he is in the room. Somehow they manage to allude being detected by Tony who was oblivious to the whole set up. The other memorable moment is the scene which reveals the four friends on the run now in their black-face disguise. This scene and the reveal are startling.
The four main leads Antonio Ozores, Lina Morgan, Yves Massard and Mikaela play effortlessly off of each other. Yves Massard and Mikaela had previously worked with jess Franco a year before on the film Queen of the Tabarin Club. Antonio Ozores and Yves Massard together make a Jerry Lewis and Dean Martian type of a comedy team. With Antonio Ozores offering up the comedy and Yves Massard playing the handsome foil to most of the comical situations. Overall Vampiresas 1930 is a charming film that has a few inspired moments in a film that has way too many musical numbers.
Vampiresas 1930 is presented in a letterboxed widescreen that frames the image in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio. In a few scenes the image looks tight on the left side of the frame. Outside of some minor print damage the image is colorful and detailed. Overall there is some room for improvement like an anamorphic transfer instead of a letterboxed one.
This release comes with two audio options a Dolby Digital 5.1 remix and a Dolby Digital mono mix. Both audio mixes are in Castilian. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix sounds atrocious as it tries horribly to spread out the mono source. There is some noticeable hiss on the mono mix and the audio as a whole sounds flat. There are no subtitle options.
Extra content include a stills gallery cast & crew lists, filmographies for Antonio Ozores, Mikaela, Lina Morgan & Yves Massard and a bio & filmography for Jess Franco. Also included as an extra are the musical numbers which can each be played by separately.
Overall Divisa Home Video’s Vampiresas 1930 DVD release leaves a lot of room for improvement especially in the audio department.