The Film (4.5/5)
Jess Franco died a little over one year ago now in April of 2013, as one of the last remaining auteurs of early EuroCult cinema it was a tragic loss, but being in his mid-80's, and having been in declining health for sometime it was hardly unexpected. If one is to find a silver lining in the dark cloud of Franco's tragic passing it would be that over his very long and prolific career the Spanish director left us with over 200 films (more if you qualify the varying cuts of some of his films) to explore and to enjoy for decades to come. Prior to his passing his films began to trickle on to the Blu-ray format with Redemption Films releasing his classics Female Vampire and Exorcism on to the format in October of 2012. However, it would be Ascot-Elite Films with their line of Franco Blu-ray's that have been keeping the maestro's work visible, and in very beautiful Blu-ray editions since late 2013. The series is working it's way down, and we have decided to go back, and review as many of these titles as time allows as these are some of the most gorgeous cult titles on the market, and they offer a great tribute to the late Jess Franco.
Die Sklavinven (aka Swedish Nympho Slaves) is easily in my top 3-4 of the Ascot Elite Dietrich Franco series so far. Granted, I now have 4 to go and one of them is Doriana Grey, but it would be hard to beat this one. The film stars Lina Romay as Princess Armida (who may just be a princess in name only, this is never really established). Armida runs the Pagoda an infamous white slavery house, and as the film begins one of her prostitutes has escaped into the arms of police.
Later on Armida escapes, but finds herself in the clutches of Amos Raedeck the Father of one of her whores. He demands her back, but as it turns out she was not a simple whore, but her lover, and she tells specifically what happened between them in flashback leading up to the current events and then beyond.
The film is pure Franco. The film captures Franco in this era almost better than any other film I have viewed thus far. It has a nice sleazy atmosphere, great and memorable sex scenes, and a memorable soundtrack. The characters are also a step up from other characters I've seen in these films recently.
Die Sklavinnen is quite a complex film narratively speaking for director Franco. The film is told mainly in flashback, but does have moments in the present. The film plays with gangster/kidnapping film conventions, and unlike other films in the Dietrich series the plot doesn't feel secondary to the sex scenes. I felt compelled to actually watch the film for the story as well as the more seedy moments.
Ascot Elite releases Die Sklavinven on Blu-ray in the director's OAR in the best possible edition. There is excellent detail, blacks, and flesh tones. There are some soft moments, and a few moments where there were obvious lesser sources used.
The audio is DTS-HD MA 5.1 in German with English subtitles. The dialogue comes through strong, however, as do the other audio elements. I did not detect any pops, cracks, or hissing on the track.
A trailer, photo gallery, and audio interview with Franco are included.
One of the finest of the Ascot Elite Dietrich series thus far, Die Sklavinnen is a fun, sleazy ride from director Franco. The A/V is quite good, but not without a few hiccups. The extras are limited on this one, however, but the film and restoration come HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.