The Girl Slaves of Morgana Le Fay (1971)

a.k.a Morgana et ses Nymphes
A beautiful, dreamlike and erotic French fairytale is certainly not for all tastes but comes recommended. Mondo Macabro USA R0 DVD.

The Film

Travelling through rural France, two girls, Françoise and Anna find themselves lost in the dark, and they spend the night sleeping in a barn. The next morning when Françoise awakens, she finds Anna gone and a mysterious dwarf leads her through a forest to a castle on an island. Arriving there she is greeted by three girls and lead to meet Morgana, in charge of the island. Meanwhile, Anna is in the basement, and is being offered the chance to give up her soul to Morgana in exchange for eternal beauty, or to grow old and die in the basement with others who have refused the offer. Hearing her screams, Françoise tries to escape the island, but Morgana brings her back, promising to teach her the magic that only Morgana herself knows...

Rookie French director Bruno Gantillon was looking to break into cinema with an ambitious script for a political thriller, however with only television experience behind him, producers were unwilling to take the risks, and instead he was encouraged to produce a much lower budget film first. Surreal erotic cinema was very big in the late 1960s/early 1970s era thanks to directors like Jean Rollin (La Vampire nue (1969)) and Jess Franco (Venus in Furs (1969)).

The story itself is very basic and begins with the classic horror movie cliché of two people stuck in a forest when their car breaks down, but from then on, the film is very dreamlike and rather unique. While many of the Rollin films, especially his ealier works are criticised for looking good but making no sense, Morgana et ses Nymphes, despite its strange atmosphere, does actually make sense in the end, although in keeping with the dream-like atmosphere of the production, the pacing of the film is very slow and it is very easy to fall asleep while watching. Morgana herself is based on the figure from Authurian legend, popular in French literature during the later Middle Ages and variously considered to be a wicked sourceress and Authur's half-sister, tutoured by Merlin and enemy of Guinevere, although the script does not directly tie the Morgana here with that of Authurian legend or the similar French Charlemagne tales to which she has been associated. Gantillon's film presents her as a wicked but fair woman who expects servitude from the women she takes into her kingdom, but does grant them eternal life in exchange, and seems to treat them relatively well.
Gantillon's direction was clearly inspired by his aims to impress the cinema audience and thus producers, and to help keep the film "artistic" rather than devolving into pornography. Although there are numerous lesbian sex sequences, and plenty of nudity, the film always remains tasteful - consequentially it is far more erotic than a lot of true exploitation movies from the 1970s. The film was mostly shot in location at the beautiful Castle du Val in southern France, and combined with the suitably surreal soundtrack, the real locations help to give the film a fitting atmosphere. Although most of the casts are unknowns, they generally look good, particularly the very attractive Mireille Saunin who plays Françoise.

Unfortunately the film's bountiful nudity meant that the it could never be truly appreciated by the art-house circles and was never show in America or the USA - it would be three years before Emmanuelle (1974) would bring sex into the mainstream of artistic cinema. Without big notices Bruno Gantillon was never able to make a big break into cinema, and returned to television directing by the end of the decade. Nevertheless, Morgana et ses Nymphes stands as a beautiful and erotic film; certainly not to all tastes, it is very slow paced and lightly plotted, but fans of Jess Franco and his kin should enjoy. Recommended.

In Brief

Anyone famous in it? No-one well known.
Directed by anyone interesting? Bruno Gantillon - a little known French television director.
Any gore? None.
Any sex? Several softcore lesbian sex scenes and scenes of female nudity.
Who is it for?
Fans of dreamlike cinema will enjoy this, and those who like their erotica tasteful and artistic.


Visuals Original Aspect Ratio - 1.66:1 widescreen. Anamorphically enhanced. Colour.
The film is very nice visually, with strong colours, almost no print damage and only mild grain.
Audio Original French audio track - sounds good.
Subtitles English - translates the French.
Extras The disc includes:
  • Extensive and detailed onscreen text notes about the film (equivalent of liner notes)
  • Bruno Gantillon's first production, the short film Un couple d'artistes (1970). A rather clever little film, it shows some good direction. Anamorphic widescreen, and a good looking print. (13 minutes - in French with English subs)
  • An interview segment with Bruno Gantillon, including clips from his films and some interesting information, if rather brief (no details on his later works). (10 min - in English)
  • Original French theatrical trailer, includes some footage not in the final film.
  • Deleted Scenes - three brief scenes, one of them from an Italian TV taping. Nothing key to the plot, but interesting to see. No audio track.
  • Notes on the main cast and crew, plus on the locations used.
  • Mondo Macabro trailer reel. (5m 20s)
Region Region 0 (All) - NTSC
Other regions? The film is available on an uncut British DVD, but without the restored print or bonus features.
Cuts? The film is believed to be fully uncut, although various versions of the film exist and numerous censor cuts were made to the original film in various territories. French language print.



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All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 30th December 2006.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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