Sunflower Skins

May 2, 2009

Jess Franco’s “Mädchen im Nachtverkehr” (1976)

Filed under: reviews — Tags: , , , , , — Sunflower Skins @ 8:42 pm

Mädchen im Nachtverkehr (1976)
A.K.A. Girls in the Night Traffic, Wilde Lust, Wild Desire
Dir. Jess Franco; Starring Kali Hansa, Diotta Fatou, Pilar Coll

Keeping in true Grindhouse tradition, Vagrancy Films offers a double feature from sexploitation master Jess Franco: Mädchen im Nachtverkehr, an X-Rated subtitled cut running just over an hour, and Wilde Lust, the 25-minute longer XXX German version. Mädchen im Nachtverkehr has better picture quality, but Wilde Lust definitely shows more, so Vagrancy kindly offers both in one package, courteously catering to their viewers. When the box art alone shows a bed full of naked ladies and some very sensual banana-eating, you know you’ve got a good deal.

We begin with said ladies who are actually high-class hookers, only it appears they have worn themselves out and are now resting; Franco opens with some bizarre music while the girls massage each other and discuss their clients. Using flashbacks amidst the slumber party, Franco wastes no time getting down to business; the women are beautiful, bushy pros who give their Johns exactly what they want, whether it’s plain ol’ missionary, role-playing as a corpse, or theatrical sex shows.

But when an erotic photographer turns out to be a kidnapping pimp, hijinks ensue. One of the hookers is taken to a Turkish brothel, where the workers appear far less interested in their jobs than the Swiss girls. Soon all of the friends are kidnapped and bored in the brothel, plotting revenge on their captor.

For the XXX cut, some die-hard fans might feel the need to brush up on their German, although the English subs are hilarious with such gems as “Willie is terrific” and “You have a plump bust.” Our opinion, however, is that the dialogue isn’t so important because Franco’s imagery is more than satisfactory for story-telling. The cinematography is very flowing and slow, giving the impression that we’re watching from a distance; though the actual cuts in the reel are sometimes jumpy, the lack of abrupt camera movement adds serenity to the experience.

Franco pumped out several exploitation and horror films a year and was already a veteran filmmaker by the time he made Mädchen im Nachtverkehr. With over 200 directorial credits to his name, the Franco legacy holds its own again the waxed and tanned hardcores of today; for a 1970’s porno, the women are actually real hotties. Music includes saloon-style ragtime, honky-tonk ditties, and horn-blowing.

No, really, there’s a saxaphone.

Jess Franco at Grindhouse Database

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