Franco Friday #41 - La Venganza del Doctor Mabuse
I guess you could call this an experiment in abstraction. Just a few days ago, I found out that Jess Franco had directed a Dr. Mabuse film. Then I found it on Youtube. Unfortunately, it was in Spanish with Italian subs. Luck smiled or rather farted at me when I used the "Translate Captions" feature to get some form of English subtitles out of it. Let's just say this is not the ideal way to watch Franco. Also, IMDB says this film is 100 minutes long. The version on Youtube is 64 minutes. *shrugs shoulders* My guess is that there is no 100 minute version but who friggin' knows? Anyway, here's what I saw and what I thought about it. *punches own face*
La Veganza del Doctor Mabuse
AKA Dr. M Schlägt Zu
Directed by Jess Franco
Starring Fred Williams, Jack Taylor, Ewa Strömberg, Roberto Camardiel
A mad scientist (and devotee of the infmamus Dr. Mabuse) named Farkas (played by Jack Taylor) is using some mad science to steal stuff, kidnap foxy ladies and program them to do his bidding, and get revenge, etc. With the help of his assistant Leslie (Beni Cardoso) and his mute and monstrous manservant Andros (Moises Augusta Rocha), he intends to build and army and take over the world, maybe. A fast-talking striptease artist named Jenny Paganini (Ewa Strömberg) witnesses Andros kidnapping a woman and reports it to Inspector Thomas (Fred Williams), who dresses like a cowboy. Farkas sends his minions out to capture Jenny.
At the same time, Inspector Thomas uses Jenny as bait to capture the criminals but he loses her when his partner's shitty car breaks down. Leslie and Andros bring Jenny to Farkas's hideout in an abandoned lighthouse. Aww! Andros is sweet on Jenny. His one good eye likes what it sees. A drunken fisherman (played by Roberto Camardiel) catches a pair of panties in the river and takes them to the inspector. He has had his suspicions about the place and those panties confirm them!
Farkas hypnotizes Jenny and sends her out after Professor Parkinson (played by Ángel Menéndez). He uses her to hypnotize Parkinson so that he will cease research on some radioactive moon rocks. Then Farkas sends Andros and a safe-cracker out to steal the moon rocks for his evil plan. He also orders Andros to murder Dr. Orloff (Siegfried Lowitz), Parkinson's colleague. When Inspector Thomas's lady friend -who also happens to be Dr. Orloff's daughter- discovers Orloff's body, Andros kidnaps her. When Farkas finds out, he is more than happy to use her in his dastardly vague plan as well.
Dr. Mabuse? Yeah, right! This is a Dr. Orloff film through and through with some nice spaghetti western sets mixed in for some dang reason. Andros is such a Morpho! Here's another one of those crazy Franco flicks aimed at the easy-to-please "Saturday afternoon timewasters" demographic, filmed and thrown together very quickly. You know I can dig that. As usual, Manuel Merino's camerawork provides lots of fun camera angles that give this film some style with no budget at all. The score is bright and jazzy but it sounds like it was taken from other, older films.
La Vengenza del Doctor Mabuse moves along at a great clip thanks in part to the short running time but really, this is just meant to be a silly sci-fi potboiler for kids with short attention spans. Ewa Strömberg is insanely cute in this one and seems to be having a blast portraying Jenny, a hyper airhead. She's rocking a brunette wig, hotpants, and fringe go-go boots like it was nobody's business. The rest of the cast also seem to be having a pretty good time on this one. I would love to see La Venganza on DVD sometime as it is an easy watch. However, it might be a little too brisk in this 64 minute version to warrant multiple viewings. This is an international incident of weirdness!
Against the wind!
Late to the Rockwell video shoot.
That's not the Culligan Man!
This is all the pussy you get in this movie.
Yo VIP, let's kick it.
Did you jiggle the handle?