Plot: What’s it about?
This film is a collection of four short French films, of all which revolve around some manner of sexual gratification. The first film, The Tide centers on a young male student and his even younger female cousin, who are trapped on a beach. Because of the tides, they are unable to return home the way they came, and since the rocky cliffs are too steep to climb, the two are forced to wait it out on the beach. As time passes, the two become a little more friendly, and let’s just say the tide isn’t the only thing that rises. Next is Therese The Philosopher, which concerns a young woman who ends up locked inside a room filled with religious items. As she waits, she starts to see the potential pleasure she could find with some of the items found inside the room. The third episode, Elizabeth Bathory is about a countess who uses a special concoction in which she likes to bath, namely the blood of virgins. But luckily for her, she has plenty of young, nubile naked girls running around her place. The final piece, Lucrezia Borgia is the strangest of them all, and deals with an incestuous threesome, which I think speaks enough for itself.
– Since this is a film about some different aspects of sexuality and is loaded with nudity and sexual situations, I’m sure many will dismiss it as simple soft-core pornography. While that is true to some extent, this film has a lot more than sex appeal to offer, though you have to be able to handle all the flesh to get to any of it. Aside from the vast nudity you’ll find, this film has some lush visuals, such as costumes and scenic views. The first episode has some striking shots of the tides and cliffs that surround our characters, and is the most visually impressive of them all. I didn’t mention it above, but each of these shorts takes place in a different time period, so the costumes and locations change with each new episode. The acting is not that good, but I don’t think most people would rent this one to see serious acting. It is good enough to pull off the roles, which is all you can ask for with a title like this. I recommend the movies to those interested in flesh laden cinema, and Anchor Bay has issued a terrific looking disc, who ever thought this film would have an anamorphic widescreen transfer? But if you’re not looking for breasts and butts, this isn’t your cup of tea, so pass this right by.
This film was directed by Walerian Borowczyk, who manages to create a lush and beautiful backdrop for all the sex and flesh. Most of Boroweczyk’s films were based in the erotica genre, so it’s hard to judge his work by a normal standard, but compared to most erotic cinema, his films are excellent, especially the visuals. Other films by Borowczyk include Immoral Women, Emmanuelle ’77, Queen of the Night, and Emmanuelle 5. The main acting draw in this film seems to be Paloma Picasso, who is even referred to on the cover art. Although the acting is adequate for this type of film, it’s still pretty bad and I doubt many would disagree with me on that. Aside from Picasso, who is really the daughter of Pablo Picasso, the cast is a bunch of naked chicks and dudes, so lines aren’t of utmost importance. But, since they do qualify as actors, I feel the need to list some of the more featured names from the film. The cast also includes Charlotte Alexandra (Goodbye Emmanuelle), Marie Forsσ (Sex in Sweden, Swedish Minx), and Lise Danvers.
Video: How does it look?
Immoral Tales is presented in a 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, which has to be a shock to the larger studios. I mean, we don’t even have an anamorphic version of Titanic, and Anchor Bay is issuing 16X9 enhanced versions of classic soft-core porn. The image is not perfect and shows age at some times, but it looks better than the previous versions I have seen. The colors look bright though somewhat faded, and flesh tones appear natural at all times, which is vital to this movie. The fading has some effect on the contrast, which looks a little bright sometimes, but shadows still look good and detail is high. Some edge enhancement shows up, but not enough to spoil the party, by any means.
Audio: How does it sound?
This release contains the original French language track as well as an English dubbed track, both of which are mono. The French version has never before been available, which makes this an even more impressive release. The audio is what you’d expect from mono, a limited experience though everything comes across well enough. The music suffers from some slight distortion, but the effects sound clear, and no hiss is present. The dialogue on both tracks is crisp and clean, though the dubbed voices are pretty cheesy in nature.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release contains a talent file on Borowczyk and the theatrical trailer. What, no commentary track? I will note that this release marks the first time the film has been offered in a complete and uncut version, which is a bonus in and of itself.