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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A private cop -- a divorced 30-something man who lives with his little
daughter during the week -- is hired by a beautiful lady to find and
bring back her younger sister who is the black sheep of the family.
Later she also approaches him sexually but he does not seem to really
believe his luck. She may have sinister plans and the rich husband's
and some other people's lives are at risk. . . With an old clichéd
Chandler or Hammett-style storyline this film desperately needs
something extra that never comes; even the ending "twist" is very
Antonio Mayans, an experienced actor with some of the worst films ever made (like Zombie Lake) in his portfolio, is surprisingly good in this. Despite the macho mustache he is a softy and generally slow. He is clumsy and a coward when facing violence and does not have good investigation skills at all. But his interaction with the little girl (played by his real-life daughter who is cute as a button) is heart-warming, funny and feels genuine on-screen. They could have built on this, emphasizing the contrast between his family life and his violent and sleazy working hours -- but regrettably this thread never develops. His character is not interesting enough to save the whole film in itself. (He tried at least!) Moreover the outside world is not violent enough for a thriller/mystery (we hear about two murders that are never shown). And it is not very sleazy either, which is rather surprising from Jess Franco and his wife! Certainly Lina Romay is sexy as usual (despite the ugly blonde wig she's wearing) but we don't get but very short glimpses of her womanly body. Her erotic scenes with men are rather mild. She appears in a scene with an older bisexual woman and they engage in mutual oral sex, well, that one is hot but she is mostly clothed during that, too.
(The end credits reveal that the bill was partly paid by the local government of Costa del Sol -- the Spanish seaside is indeed shown in full Techicolor glory. Maybe they did nor want to be associated with too much sleaze? But in this case why did they hire Jess Franco to begin with?)
This starts with a view through the front window of a moving car taken from the back seat. Immediately one is wondering whether this whole sequence should be from this static position, why has nobody cleaned the windscreen and just what is so interesting about these Spanish holiday hotel complexes? Welcome to Jess Franco. There is a certain charm to even his lesser movies when his mind seems to be on something else and here we get evidence of his distraction with candles reflected in table tops and the curious shine where light catches a glass. We also get a decent tale here with a surprisingly effective Antonio Mayans as a detective, a splendid performance by a little girl playing his daughter, although it turns out it is his real daughter - good idea. And then there is Lina Romay, not at her peak and having to wear a terrible blonde wig but still it is the lady herself, not afraid to show a slightly overweight body and not afraid to get very friendly in some rather ugly looking fleshy situations.
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