JESS FRANCO MONTH: Devil’s Island Lovers (1972)

When you hear Jess Franco Women In Prison movie, your mind may go to his more salacious efforts like Isla the Wicked WardenJustine, Barbed Wire DollsWomen Behind BarsLove CampSadomania or 99 Women, nearly all movies that push the very boundaries of taste and morality to their limits.

This movie isn’t that.

Beatriz Coblan (Geneviève Robert, who was also in Franco’s Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein and the mother of Jason Reitman and why doesn’t everyone ask him about that in every interview?) and Raymond Franval (Andrés Resino, The Murder Mansion) have both been framed for murder by Colonel Mendoza (Jean Guedes) and his mistress Emilia (Danielle Godet) for murder — by drugging them  and putting a bloody corpse in their room — and sent to Devil’s Island.

I guess it’s convenient to have both male and female prisons on the same island, but that also helps the two escape with the help of fellow prisoner Rosa (Josyane Gibert, who wrote the dialogue for Nightmares Come at Night and Female Vampire) and a lawyer named Lindsay (Dennis Price, Horror Hospital; this is his last feature film and he looks exhausted).

Howard Vernon shows up, which seems like a prerequisite for Franco movies, as well as Britt Nichols (Daughter of Dracula), Anne Libert (A Virgin Among the Living Dead) and even Franco composer Daniel White as an uncredited judge. Lina Romay is around there too, but doesn’t make herself known, unlike her near-psychotic work in Isla the Wicked Warden.

There are a lot of flashbacks and — as you can imagine — a lot of zooms. Unlike many other Franco movies, no one is nude and the camera isn’t trying to teach you how to be a gynecologist. This is a serious film and there’s no time for that. I mean, there are more than a few other films Jess did to scratch that itch.

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