Well made, but rather dull late night cable softcore from Harry Alan Towers. The Private Screening Collection - R0 US DVD release.
the heyday of the softcore cable era, it was British exploitation
producer Harry Alan Towers, best known for his cinema works of the
1960s, who brought a touch of culture to the table with a collection of
European themed erotica, designed for late night television viewing.
wealthy Charles Beaumont rescues a young boy named Frank and
offers him some hospitality, he little realises that he will soon learn
that Frank is indeed Frances, and the two fall deeply in love as
Charles learns the dark secrets of Frances' past and the reason he
found her as she was. Harry
Alan Towers provides the script, using his Peter Welbeck pseudonym
(although in the French print he is amusingly credited as Pierre
Welbeck), and it is loosely based on a Frank and I, a popular erotic novel of the Victorian era. Towers is highly regarded for his adaptations of de Sade, and Frank and I does contain a detail of sadean themes - unfortunately, this is never properly exploited in Lady Libertine's
often ponderous script. The film's main problem comes with the eternal
conflict of all softcore erotica - the balance between storyline and
sex - and in this cast the storyline is nothing more than a trashy romance
that does little to keep a viewer interested, certainly not one merely
looking to enjoy some nudity - while the nude scenes themselves do
often come across as gratuitous, although do improve towards the end.
the 'trash' is very impressively directed, with some good use of camera
angles and editing, indeed it even comes off as rather too well shot in
many cases - the sex scenes in particular are shot in a very subtle
cinematic style, far from the exploitation pornography that most of the
film's late night, young male viewers would have been hoping for (the
sex scene on top of a collection of musical manuscripts has to rank as
he most culture sex scene ever filmed!). The
well composed orchestral soundtrack and the very impressive Victorian
settings help to add to the wonderfully cultured tone to the whole
production. Christopher Pearson as Charles plays the role very
well, but surprisingly this film is listed as his only known screen
credit. A very young looking Jennifer Inch looks decent as
Frank/Frances, although is most unconvincing as a boy. Beautifully made, but often rather dull, Lady Libertine
will probably disappoint horndogs and fans of more hardcore
pornography, however it does make a nice nostagic viewing, and should
prove of interest to those who enjoy watching more 'adult' films,
without the lewdness of most modern productions. Partly recommended.
Anyone famous in it?
No-one of note.
Directed by anyone interesting?
Kikoïne - a little known French director who a variety of softcore
films in the 1980s, and is best known for the twisted Jekyll/Hyde
adaptation Edge of Sanity (1989)
A variety of softcore female nude scenes, some sexual whipping, and various sex scenes.
Who is it for?
Fans of cultured erotica might enjoy this, although far from the best of the genre.
A nicely written orchestral score that fits the film well.
Original Aspect Ratio - 1.33:1 fullscreen (filmed for television, so this is the correct ratio). Colour. Shot on 35mm film, the print quality is decent with some noticable print damage, but only mild layer of film grain.
English mono. Sounds fine.
Region 0 (ALL) - NTSC
No other releases.
to be fully uncut. French language print.
Very well produced and well acted, but rather dully plotted, Lady Libertine should prove decent entertainment to fans of cultured erotica but is certainly not one for fans of explicit pornography.
Decent looking and sounding print, although completely lacking in bonus features.