"Love + fear = Torment" is one of the most erotic and sensual films ever to be imported from France by Olympic International Films. It was only because of the significant social importance ...
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"Love + fear = Torment" is one of the most erotic and sensual films ever to be imported from France by Olympic International Films. It was only because of the significant social importance of this picture that U.S. Customs authorities allowed such a startling picture to be admitted into this country. It shows in infinite detail, the raw realistic side of French life, and should be one of the year's top box office draws. "Love + fear = Torment" exposes the secret world of the French model studios, and the men who try to corrupt them. Mobsters become involved when fifty-thousand dollars worth of uncut gems are stolen. A model studio becomes terrorized as one of the models innocently befriends one of the mobsters. Written by
Max Pecas is perhaps the finest of the many French sex film directors, and had considerable success in the U.S. with exports of his films, notably early Elke Sommer starrers right through to XXX FELICIA. TORMENT is more standard fare, but well-made and entertaining.
The formula is the usual crime stuff, which reached its peak in the work of Jean-Pierre Melville, and loaded with pretty girls in states of semi-undress. Screenwriter Jean-Patrick Manchette went on to script many notable genre films for top directors (including Chabrol) and one of my favorite tongue-in-cheek (and frankly screwy) Alain Delon vehicles LE CHOC.
TORMENT is about Kim, a lovely (if stiff acting-wise) girl having trouble with step-mom Linda and gangster Rico (played by the smoothie of vintage French soft porn, Claude Cerval). Rico wants to blackmail her dad, and meanwhile the bald villain Joe Darian (sounds like a U.S. porno director moniker!) is taking advantage of Kim's aspirations to be a model. Darian rapes her and incriminating photos seeming to show her & Linda in a compromising clinch (not so) are taken by Rico, furthering his blackmail aspirations. Stolen diamonds in Darian's possession figure prominently in the plot.
There are many twists and turns, with most of the characters (all of the males) of dubious morality, leading to a climactic shootout. Setting of Joe's modeling studio provides an endless stream of beautiful girls going topless, in fairly strong sex-tease footage for 1967, when the picture made it to the States. My favorite sex-tease scene has a Nordic blonde posing practically nude playfully in the studio with a Snowman, as THE THIRD MAN style zither music plays.
English dubbing is adequate, though they were careless in not properly replacing background and incidental sound. This is most apparent in a scene of Linda giving herself a thrill with an old Joe Sarno-style massager gadget: presented silently by mistake. Photography, as usual for Pecas, is excellent, with great chiaroscuro black & white shadow-play for interior scenes.
The unidentified baldie Darian (he's compared to Yul Brynner at one point) is the most memorable character, upstaging Cerval for a change. Actresses are merely decorative, but that was the point of the exercise.
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