07th Oct2014

‘Jess Franco’s Downtown’ DVD Review (Ascot Elite, Ger)

by Mondo Squallido


Jess Franco (99 Women, Vampyros Lesbos) stars as Al Pereia, a private detective who is down on his luck and waiting for that next big job. Thankfully for him, he gets a job from a glamorous young woman by the name of Cynthia, played by the ever lovely Lina Romay (Female Vampire, Lorna the Exorcist). She wants him to photograph her husband Carlos Rivas, a nightclub owner played by Erik Falk (Barbed Wire Dolls) who has an eye for the ladies. Good old Al accepts and begins his newest assignment. Unfortunately, things get a little complicated when Carlos is found dead. Al becomes the prime suspect and on his quest to clear his name, discovers that Cynthia isn’t actually the wife of Carlos. It turns out that she and her lover Lola played by Martine Stedil (Women Behind Bars) are working for Carlos’s real wife Olga, played by Monica Swinn (Love Camp). Will the police believe Al? Who killed Carlos Rivas? How many close ups of female genitalia will we have the joy of seeing? Well, it’s a Franco film so that last question should be easily answered. As for the others, you’re just going to have to watch aren’t you?

Downtown is a nice gem within Franco’s vast filmography. Once again he shows that he is a man of many talents by directing, writing, shooting and starring in the film. Overall, it’s an enjoyable outing with a solid story that has some nice twists throughout. Not only that, but the comedic aspects of the film work very well too. Of course, being a Franco film, there are moments that are somewhat clumsy, but it all adds to the overall charm and although not one of Franco’s more classier efforts, the score from the Swiss composer Walter Baumgartner (Rolls-Royce Baby, Jack the Ripper) is toe tappingly wonderful in places. Lina Romay is fabulous as ever, her scenes with scissor sister Martine Stedil are sexy, yet awkward at the same time, which makes for a positive all in its own (some of their dialogue is priceless). Even Franco gets in on the act with the ladies, it’s a tough job being a director sometimes! If you are looking for a lesser known, but competent Franco film, this is a great one to try. If you are a fan of Jess Franco, you already own this right?

Ascot Elite have done a great job with this release. Going off the DVD version, the transfer is as nice as we will probably get of this film so if you are a Blu-ray collector, you’re in for a treat with this one. The film is presented in German with English subtitles. In terms of extras you are treated to a photo gallery which has some fantastic shots and a selection of trailers from Ascot Elite’s Jess Franco Goya Collection. It’s humble, but at least it’s something. Overall, Ascot Elite have done a great job. Like I said, Downtown is a great release for those discovering the weird and eclectic world of Jess Franco and for fans of Franco’s work, this is a must.

You can buy the DVD version from Amazon.de here and the Blu-ray version here.


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