Blood and Roses (1960) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
32 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
9/10
Can't get enough BLOOD AND ROSES...
Musidora-427 June 2009
I'm mad about this film...might just be my favorite vampire film of all. It's not straight LeFanu, but it has an elegiac air that is. Doing LeFanu 'straight'--as in VAMPIRE LOVERS-- does not necessarily make for a better film as Hammer proved.

When I first saw B&R 15 years ago, I was disappointed because I wanted it to be a direct telling of the source material. Later, I saw the film, again, and it seared in to my consciousness. For no explicable reason, it suddenly "made sense" and "glammed" me; and, in particular, Annette Stroyberg's performance suddenly "clicked in." The combination of her detachment, passivity, out bursts of passion, child-like felicity, and, of course, beauty recall her literary namesake. Her profound sorrow and knowledge of being pushed aside from all that she loves--not just Leopoldo but her whole life, really--is heart-rending.

Vadim's Carmilla is always described as "jealous" or "bitter," though I don't see that. I do see deep disappointment and despair. It's refreshing, too, to see two women, rivals for one man's affection, treat each other so civilly, so kindly. Worse, Carmilla is slowly ostracized from people that she has grown up with and loved all because of her love of Leopoldo and, then, Georgia. Top that off with being possessed by a vampire, and I think dismissing her as "jealous" or "bitter" is a bit heavy-handed and easy.

I'm not quite sure why this film is considered "exploitive"--was Vadim "exploiting" Annette and his divorce from BB? Was LeFanu's "Carmilla" exploitive? It actually had far more explicit descriptions of Carmilla's breast-centric vampirism of young woman, but I don't recall the novella ever being described as "exploitive."

There are a couple of jarring moments in the film that don't sit right with me, for instance, Carmilla and Leopold doing the comic piano duet about fishing, and some parts of the celebrated "dream sequence"--just too "art house," even Bergman-esquire, and certainly screaming Cocteau.

But, in the end, the film is enchanting, ravishing, and harrowing. As others have noted, the score is exquisite and sets just the right tone, and makes me think of "pavane" and "dead princess" at the same time. Definitely in my top 10.

Just hoping that the delay in releasing BLOOD AND ROSES on DVD has to do with a pains- taking restoration and accumulation of extras on Paramount's part--this film is long overdue on DVD.
24 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
The European and American Versions
rockallnight7 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This article is aimed at people already familiar with the American version of Roger Vadim's "Blood And Roses". For those who have not seen the film, it may contain possible "spoilers". Since so few fans appear to have seen the original "European" version of this film, I shall try to detail the difference between the two versions. The only video copy I have is the American version, but have seen the 84 minute English-dubbed original several times in Irish and U.K. cinemas. The information given below is drawn from memory. The biggest difference is the way in which the story is told: in the U.S. version the narrator is Millarca; in the original, the story is begun and concluded by Dr. Valeri. Both versions begin with the Caravelle jet taking off, but in the original this is followed by a scene on board the aircraft in which Valeri is in conversation with a small group of friends. After a little encouragement - "Doctor, I've known you a long time; I'll bet you have a story to tell us", Valeri begins the story of Carmilla, Georgia and Leopoldo. This is then followed by several scenes that have been cut: 1. Martha, one of the children who has a fascination with the Vampire legend, is seen exploring the Karnstein cemetery, much to Marie's trepidation. 2. Signor Lugieri is seen doing a reconnaissance of the old abbey as a possible location for his firework display. 3. Carmilla and Georgia are seen sharing a horseback ride. They are greeted at the villa by Leopoldo, who reminds them that there will be guests for dinner that evening. 4. Martha and Marie are saying their night-time prayers. When Martha pleads "Please let me see a Vampire someday" this leads to a comic altercation between the two, ending in a pillow fight. The above 4 scenes - which account for about 5 minutes running time - are introductory, so their absence does not impact too much on the plot.

However, also dropped is a brief scene in which Carmilla, in the presence of Judge Monteverdi, is seen laughing heartily at an unspecified joke. This occurs just before the scene with the fox, and shows another side of Carmilla's character. In two more scenes - the greenhouse scene and when Dr. Valeri gives his explanation of Carmilla's behavior to Leopoldo - the dialog has been shortened. Apart from scenes being cut/shortened and the narrator being changed, there have also been some additions. These include extra lines spoken off-camera ("You make it seem too real, Carmilla", "Carmilla, enough; you're frightening Georgia" etc.), extra sound effects (the unconvincing screams), and even visuals (the big close-ups of the rose fading) that Paramount presumably felt were needed to make the story clearer and the film more "marketable". The difference between the two versions, therefore, is considerable. My purpose here has been to list the differences, not evaluate them. However, the use of a Vampire spirit(!) as a narrator in place of Dr. Valeri destroys the film's intended ambiguity. In the original, Dr. Valeri's medical/psychological explanation of Carmilla's behavior is balanced by Giuseppi and the children Martha and Marie who explain it according to their superstitious beliefs. The audience is left to decide for themselves. No such choice for the American viewer: Millarca's over-dubbed voice tells us that she is taking possession of Carmilla. Giant close-ups of the fading rose prove it. To my knowledge, "Et Mourir De Plaisir"/"Blood and Roses" has never been released on VHS or DVD in Europe. Since it has appeared on VHS in America, it is possible that Paramount may eventually put out a DVD. However, this would most likely be the U.S. version. That is unless fans of the film were to bombard the distributor with requests for the original. But why would fans request release of a version they have not seen? Maybe this article will awaken an interest.
20 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Today's audience can keep "Twilight", I have this!
matheusmarchetti8 November 2009
In a world where films such as "Twilight" are considered great vampire flicks, a little unknown gem like "Blood and Roses" comes as a extremely pleasant surprise as it is one of those films that you expect nothing from and turn out to be real cinematic works of art. Unfairly underrated director Roger Vadim creates a dark, tragic love story, filled with beautiful landscapes, terrifying Gothic atmosphere, surrealistic feel, a lovely soundtrack and a suspenseful build up to a shocking and heartbreaking finale. Vadim adapts Sheridan La Fanu's "Carmilla" with a modern twist, whilst keeping the poetry and the eroticism that so many other, more "faithful" adaptations lack. Making "Carmilla" a much more human character was a clever choice and makes you feel sympathy for her character, so therefore you actually feel bad for both the victims and the killer, which is something that usually lacks in horror films, at least in such an intelligent way. Annette Vadim helps bringing the character to life, and is here in one of her best performances. Mel Ferrer and Elsa Martinelli have a wonderful chemistry together and are perfect choices for the supporting roles. Another of the film's highlights is the cinematography, that unfortunately doesn't show it's full Technicolor glory in the film's bad VHS print. Hopefully, one day Paramount will release this masterpiece in DVD or Blu-Ray with it's gorgeous visuals as Vadim intended. 10/10 - a masterpiece. One of the best vampire movies ever made.
25 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Beautiful 60"s Horror, With A Great Story And A Wicked Ending!
callanvass3 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This is a beautiful 60's Horror film, with a great story and a wicked ending!. This really felt like a Hammer film, and for the most part it was, and it had a beautiful score, plus all the characters were great!. I found this in the Horror section, and the story looked intriguing so i picked it up, and i was quite surprised by how good it was, it's a little dated but the story is very engrossing, and the performances were all excellent, plus the ending was absolutely wicked!. It's never boring, and the film surprisingly has a little bit of violence, plus Annette Vadim is simply gorgeous!. As i said i was really quite surprised by how much i enjoyed this film, and the set pieces were fantastic, plus there are a few shocking moments as well!. This is a beautiful 60's Horror film with a great story and a wicked ending, and i say it's a must see!. The direction is great!. Roger Vadim does a great job here, giving it a dreamy look and feel, good camera work, great set pieces and keeping the film at an engrossing pace!. There i surprisingly a little bit of violence. We get a bit of blood, bloody vamp marks and and a gory impaling. The Acting is very good. Mel Ferrer is excellent here, he was charming, very likable and held his own very well, i liked him lots. Annette Vadim is stunningly beautiful and is wonderful here,her character is very unpredictable and she turned me on, i loved her. Elsa Martinelli is beautiful and does fine with what she had to do, and had good chemistry with Mel Ferrer. rest of the cast do fine. Overall a must see!. **** out of 5
11 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
The day I became a movie-goer
ddx-59 March 2008
I was a teenager, that movie was rated +16 and I was 14. I don't remember why I wanted so much to watch this movie, maybe the poster's picture, Annette Vadim and Elsa Martinelli kissing :). I borrowed the ID card of an older friend of mine, then I'd been allowed to go in.

That day, I've seen that movie 2 times, and I came back the day after and I stayed 2 more times watching it, fascinated. Not for the plot, the plot is cheesy. Not for some nudity, there's none. The beauty of Annette Vadim, oh yes! The magnificent cinematography? Even if I didn't know what "cinematography" was, I still remember the fascination I sensed for the colors and the lighting. And I still remember also the score of Jean Prodromidès (an underrated genius, his opera "The Persians" is a masterpiece!)

It was almost 50 years ago, thanks to Annette, Claude Renoir, Jean Prodromidès, Vadim, I was become a movie-goer. By the way, I've never seen that movie again from that time. I'm afraid to be disappointed.
20 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
A Hauntingly Memorable Experience
eagleflyer11 February 2006
A school chum and I saw this film only one time - when it was first released in 1960. During a recent reunion we realized that neither of us has ever forgotten the spellbinding qualities of the movie as a whole! I very clearly remember the impression of having walked into a renaissance-era painting accompanied by a musical score that along with the visuals, created an almost hypnotic state. Elsa Martinelli was a familiar face at that time, but the mysteriously beautiful other actress was not. I now realize she has to have been Annette Vadim. I clearly remember the undercurrent she portrayed with such seemingly effortless skill that it almost felt like watching two separate characters. The other actors and characters seemed to be almost like props in comparison to these two players in the story. I do hope I can see it again.
15 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
and to die of pleasure
andrabem8 May 2007
I saw this film a long time ago in the television. I can still remember the atmosphere and gentle horror that permeate the film. "Et mourir de plaisir" is based on "Carmilla", an horror tale written by Sheridan Le Fanu. I had already read the book as a child and had liked it very much. Later on I saw this film on television and I was deeply impressed - the atmosphere, the castle and landscape surrounding it, the two girlfriends running together and laughing (one of them will die because the other one is in reality a vampire), beautiful flowers ... weave together a delicate tapestry.

Contrary to the Hammer film "The Vampire Lovers" in which the girls relationship is explored very briefly and superficially, "Et Mourir de Plaisir" shows in more detail the delicate love story between two girls lived until death did them part.

I don't remember so well the film after such a long time, but some images remained with me, and those images dictate the words I'm writing now.
14 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Gothic Before Its Time
GaultheWarrior22 April 2006
I saw Vadim's "Blood and Roses" in Germany while stationed there in the 1960's. I was captivated by its ethereal, romantic quality. The actresses were beautiful and the mixture of romance and vampires was unusual and hauntingly lovely. In my view, it is a classic. I particularly loved the musical score, which was outstanding. I cannot seem to find this musical score other than by ordering the VHS video.

I am particularly disappointed that I cannot find this film in DVD today, since I would like to have it in my library.

I thought that Mel Ferrar was perfect for his role since he was seemingly oblivious as one might expect a country gentleman to be to what was going on with the girls.

The film reveals a poignant story of unrequited love, with a fatalistic tone. It will be long remembered by those who have seen it. It does not get the popularity that it deserves.
14 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
this is one of the best vampire movie I'd ever seen.
allusion12 January 2001
This is beautiful and poetic. If you see this movie on English dialogue, you must see French version. English version has terrible narration. And this movie filmed in TECHNIRAMA, you must see this on letter box. If you don't, you have seen nothing yet.
16 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
The legend continues with Georgia, the last female Karnstein .
lastliberal9 November 2010
An art house horror movie. Probably missed by horror fans, the film depicts a vampiress as romantic. The music by Jean Prodromidès and the cinematography by Claude Renoir certainly add to the romantic feeling throughout. A Harlequin horror film? Even the long shots in this film have a grace seldom seen. It often looks as if one is viewing and Impressionistic painting.

Carmilla (Annette Vadim) visits an abbey where the vampiress is buried and we see an immediate change in her mood. Was she possessed? It isn't clear.

Don't look for blood and guts or lesbian scenes. Everything happens off screen, even in the original version. But, it was a beautiful love story.
7 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Beautiful and an Interesting movie
ebiros229 July 2011
I'm a fan of director Roger Vadim's movie. They have vividness that's uniquely his. This movie is no exception. The details are superb, and eroticism shown can only be put on screen by a genius who's born with talent. The thought provoking plot is built into the picture itself. The mood , the camera angle, all tells a story while heightening the mood. It's an art that I wish more Hollywood directors would learn how to do.

Anette Vadim is beautiful in this movie. Obviously Roger Vadim knows how to pick his women.

The movie has lavishness, and esprit that more modern movies can't emulate.

The movie is low on technical sophistication, or overt gore of vampirism, but you need to see it to appreciate how interesting, and beautiful this movie is.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Controversy
gustave_weil19 January 2010
I recently had the opportunity to see the French version of this film ("And Die of Pleasure")and propose two things of note: firstly, the controversy over the omission of the dream sequence- regarding the official running time of 84 minutes, I believe it was actually included in the French version but this print was either damaged or censored, the cutting is way too abrupt and the scene rendered senseless. If the scene was included in the French version then the running time would match official sources. Excellent source materials such as Silver & Ursini's The Vampire Film seem to back this up. The other point of interest that no one has noted so far is perhaps even more controversial. Although there is a brief nude scene included in the dream sequence, there is one nude scene in the French version clipped out of the American prints- before Annette Vadim breaks the mirror she tears her dress away and reveals her blood smeared breast. Yes, we DO see it! This ten years before Yutte Stensgaard's bloody topless resurrection in Lust for a Vampire!
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
BLOOD AND ROSES {Edited U.S. Version} (Roger Vadim, 1960) **1/2
Bunuel19765 June 2008
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s classic horror short story “Carmilla” (which I own and have read) spearheaded the trend for cinematic tales of lesbian vampires. This is the second film adaptation of it – the first, a very loose one, was Carl Theodor Dreyer’s magnificent VAMPYR (1931; soon to be regaled with two fully-loaded SE DVDs on both sides of the Atlantic) and it was followed in quick succession by the Spanish/Italian co-production CRYPT OF THE VAMPIRE (1963; starring Christopher Lee, a quite good version, of which I foolishly erased a VHS copy I had recorded off Italian TV – the only edition currently available is the Retromedia R1 DVD which, unfortunately, presents the film dubbed in English), the Amicus/Hammer collaboration THE VAMPIRE LOVERS (1970; starring Ingrid Pitt and Peter Cushing) and Vicente Aranda’s eerily erotic THE BLOOD-SPATTERED BRIDE (1972).

Director Vadim is better-known for having had great tastes in women (counting Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve and Jane Fonda among his discoveries/lovers) than for his film-making talents; I myself have only been truly impressed by one of his movies – THE GAME IS OVER (1966) – out of the seven that I’ve watched so far (including this one). BLOOD AND ROSES could well have been the second…were it not for the fact that the edited 74-minute version I watched – prepared for U.S. home video consumption and sporting the Anglicized original title AND DIE OF PLEASURE – is a bit of a mess (the full-length French version is 87 minutes long), English-dubbed (naturally), panned-and-scanned (of course), and preceded by one of the phoniest credit sequences I’ve ever witnessed (that said, a reasonable photo gallery was included with the DivX copy I acquired, which starts automatically soon after the main feature). Needless to say, I’d long wanted to watch this – but, bearing in mind the state of the edition I ended up with, in spite of its many pictorial rewards, it wasn’t an ideal viewing experience…and one can only hope that, given the amicable relationship between Paramount (who owns the U.S. rights for BLOOD AND ROSES) and Criterion, the film will turn up someday – in the original French language and uncut – on a decent official DVD (after all, the latter’s vast and considerable collection already numbers Vadim’s debut feature …AND GOD CREATED WOMAN [1956] among its releases).

Anyway, the cast is an interesting combination of international movie stars (Mel Ferrer – who, coincidentally, has just died aged 90 – and Elsa Martinelli), newcomers (Annette Vadim nee' Stroyberg) and even a director (Marc Allegret, who had given Vadim an early start when he engaged him as his assistant). The film makes a fair attempt to update the LeFanu original to contemporary times – though, rather than make Carmilla and Millarca one and the same, we get the former being possessed by the latter: this is quite subtly done (at least in this reduced form) as Millarca’s personality in Carmilla manifests itself in her suddenly knowing the steps to an ancient dance and her incongruous preference for a classical record! As a matter of fact, this medieval quality permeates the whole film – thanks also to Jean Prodromides’ haunting melancholy score (which is then effectively speeded-up during the ‘horror’ sequences). Incidentally, the film was clearly intended for the Art-house crowd (resulting in being fairly talky for the first two-thirds) – even if it’s not quite in the same league as Georges Franju’s EYES WITHOUT A FACE (1959), an altogether more accomplished and successful marriage of the highbrow and the exploitative.

That said, it contains any number of striking sequences: the costume party (with a fireworks display for backdrop) in which Ferrer dons a bat mask fitted with a pair of wings!; Stroyberg’s wraith-like pursuit of her first victim (her stilted performance is actually just right for the character) – despite its being obviously shot day-for-night; the wilted rose on Carmilla’s white dress turning to a huge blood stain (incidentally, this vampire registers in a mirror!); Stroyberg’s seduction of Martinelli on a rainy night inside the Karnstein family greenhouse (both women also love Ferrer, though he and Stroyberg are related!); Martinelli’s surreal, erotic and blood-spattered black-and-white dream sequence towards the end (in which, among other things, Stroyberg as Millarca operates on her naked self as Carmilla!) – which is the film’s undeniable tour-de-force; Carmilla’s demise as she gets staked during an explosion (the location being a cemetery holding remnant shells from WWII); and the very last image when another wilted rose betrays the fact to the audience, but not the oblivious Ferrer, that Martinelli has herself been turned into a vampire (the latter starts off as an ingénue but slowly, and believably, matures through her attachment to Carmilla).

By the way, some weeks back I happened upon a recent TV interview with Martinelli; she seemed deservedly proud of her cinematic legacy (including a successful stint in Hollywood) but, unsurprisingly, this film – or another good one where she was also involved in lesbianism, Lucio Fulci’s giallo ONE ON TOP OF THE OTHER aka PERVERSION STORY (1969) – wasn’t mentioned at all…
6 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Fantastic
adriangr8 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I took a chance on buying the 2014 German language "Filmclub Edition" release of "Blood and Roses", which is titled "Und Vor Lust Zu Sterben", and I am delighted with it. I only watched the French audio version that comes with the English subtitles, as that is the only version that I could understand, but it's a lovely, crisp, WIDESCREEN print of the movie, and therefore a million miles away from the full screen VHS version that i have had to live with up until now.

The story is slight: Leopoldo Karnstein is celebrating his impending wedding to the beautiful Georgia, and everybody is happy except for cousin Carmilla, who is secretly jealous. As various festivities are enjoyed by the family, Carmilla sneaks off out of spite, and ends up exploring an ancient family tomb and finding the disturbed resting place of a famous ancestor who was rumoured to have been a vampire. What happens to her in that tomb is only hinted at, but she emerges changed from a lighthearted girl to a moody and troubled enigma. The rest of the film charts how Carmilla subtly begins to pull apart the happiness of the engaged couple, with tragic results

The plot of the film is not the main attraction here, it's the way the film is shot. It's almost like a watching a poem come to life on screen. There is a lot of stillness in the film, some scenes linger on very slow moving visuals for long periods of time, but it all comes together, if you have the patience to just enjoy what you are looking at. A lot of mileage is gained from the many scenes in which Carmilla drifts silently around the scenery in an extravagant white ballgown. Annette Vadim looks stunning in the main role of Carmilla, and even shots of her doing nothing at all still look superb. Her acting skills are up to the job, and she shows a surprising amount of different emotions in the role, whereas, if shots of her are just viewed in still images or short clips, the impression you get of her is that she is quite wooden, but when seen in the film as a whole, I think she is actually very good. Elsa Martinelli is also very good in the role of the innocent Georgia, and scenes of the two women together can look amazing, especially in a subtle but heavily erotic scene set in a greenhouse during a storm. Not much happens here, but the scene is electrifying all the same. As I said earlier, the film is actually pretty short on events but you'll still enjoy it due to the lush scenery, lighting and the visual beauty of the two lead actresses. The music also plays a vital role, with many scenes underscored by a delicate and melancholy classical soundtrack, which reminded me of the score to "Lisa and The Devil", which used music to a similar effect. The whole movie has a very European film to it, unmistakable as a product of 1960s France/Italy, and impossible to reproduce today.

The only niggle with this release is some poor quality hiss and scratchiness of the French audio, but I forgive this for the stunning picture quality. I avoided buying this release for quite a while as I was hoping that an English audio version would eventually come out, because I prefer to soak up the visual atmosphere of a film like "Blood and Roses" without having to constantly read text, but I like this version now that I have watched it. The cast speak their dialogue in French (you can tell because the spoken audio synchs correctly to their mouths), so the dialogue looks authentic, and I happy to enjoy this with English subtitles.

All in all, a superb movie.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Really beautiful
zetes21 October 2012
An adaptation of Sheridan le Fanu's "Carmilla", which was most famously adapted as Vampyr by Carl Dreyer. It's been a few years since I last saw Vampyr, but I don't recognize much of the story in this one, except for maybe a little bit of vampire lesbianism. This film is gorgeous, however. Vadim is famous for marrying hot women and then making movies with them. This one stars his least famous wife, Annette Vadim, to whom he was married between Bardot and Jane Fonda for about two years between 1959 and 1960. She's beautiful, every bit as beautiful as Brigitte Bardot. She stars as Carmilla, a woman secretly in love with her cousin (Mel Ferrer, Audrey Hepburn's husband at the time), who is about to be married to Elsa Martinelli. After visiting the grave of a vampire woman, Carmilla becomes a bloodsucker who sets her eyes on her rival. This is super sexy. Unfortunately Netflix only has the English language version, which is about fifteen minutes shorter and cropped, but I still quite loved it. Highly recommended.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
As an experiment, it's cool but doesn't really work as a movie
Maciste_Brother22 November 2007
BLOOD AND ROSES, or ET MOURIR DE PLAISIR (to die of pleasure), is a spotty Eurocult horror film directed by Roger Vadim that works better as an experimental film than an actual movie that's supposed to entertain. I enjoyed watching this movie for the amazing atmosphere, some of the great visuals and the truly beautiful score. It's truly unique in this case. I also enjoyed the narration, which from what I've heard is not included in the original French version. Personally, I cannot imagine this film without narration. There would be extremely long moments with nothing going on.

But BLOOD AND ROSES falls flat when it plays like a movie, with characters too sketchy for anyone to care about or moments which now look positively dated, like the drive through the country with the two men and the two little girls. That scene stands out for all the wrong reasons. Or the discussion in the kitchen, with the maid and all. Those moments are dated and clash with the modern, almost ahead of its times dream or horror sequences. On one hand, BLOOD AND ROSES feels hopelessly outdated and yet on the other hand it feels very contemporary, with the dream sequence being the highlight. I can't imagine what people thought of this scene when they saw it back in 1960.

If you watch BLOOD AND ROSES for the Goth moments and the music, you won't be disappointed but if you expect some sort of Hammer style horror film, with lotsa action, this film won't be your cup of tea.

I give it 7 stars for the atmosphere and music.
9 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Less Than the Sum of Its Parts
paul panzer14 June 2003
This film has three outstanding features: The spectacular location, Hadrian's Villa, Claude Renoir's ravishing color and b&w cinematography, and an exquisite score featuring the rarely-used Irish harp. Vadim's direction fails to make the most of these elements, or the story, alas, but Annette Stroyberg and Elsa Martinelli are both interesting. It's above average for Vadim.

I don't know where the other poster got the idea that Stroyberg's first name was Carmilla. She did sometimes go by her married name, Vadim.
9 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Takes me back
Bezenby24 January 2018
Are all French women bisexual? I know from watching Italian vampire films that getting bitten also gives the ladies a fondness for comfortable shoes and listening to that Horse McDonald guy, but French women just seem to be into everything, without exception. This is what gets Carmilla into so much trouble in this film, Blood and Roses aka Carmilla, The Grumpy French Vampire.

Like George Romero's later vampire film Martin, you're never quite sure if Carmilla has just gone insane due to her uncontrollable jealousy or if the actual spirit of her vampire ancestor has returned to take over her body. You see, Carmilla seems to be both in love with her friend George and her cousin Leopoldo (a young Mel Ferrer), who are engaged to be married. This cause Carmilla to have a bit of a French hissy fit and stomp off into the graveyard of her ancestors, where fireworks set off a cache of hidden WW2 explosives, revealing the grave of her ancestor.

Carmilla then of course starts dressing like her ancestor and generally putting the moves on Georgia, putting the bite on the locals and scaring the crap out of everyone else. The question is whether or not she is a genuine vampire or it's just that time of the month. That was subtle.

The whole thing was filmed at the Roman ruin of Hadrian's Villa and every frame of the film looks like it was personally painted by Michaelangelo. The Emperor Hadrian was like a Roman Elton John and would often retreat to his villa when he was in some sort of huff about something. It's not far from Rome but it is not, as I thought, located in the town of Tivoli, but rather confusingly situated just outside of a town called Villa Adriano. When we went there I suspect that the bus driver told us to get off early as my son wouldn't stop screaming. It's worth a visit though - a huge estate of Roman ruins. It was November when we visited and we practically had the place to ourselves. I don't have much to say about this film.

It's not the most action-packed but looks amazing, even drifting into black and white for a surreal dream sequence near the end. If you're a fan of vampire films this one will stand out a bit. Bof!
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Erotic horror served up with avant-garde artistry
melvelvit-17 September 2015
A fireworks display at the Karnstein château disturbs the grave of Mircalla, an ancestor thought to be a vampire...

Director Roger Vadim's lush updating of J. Sheridan Le Fanu's "Carmilla" is golden age "erotic horror" served up with avant-garde artistry. Cinematographer Claude Renoir imbues the film with a startling yet dreamlike quality and the uncanny possession of Carmilla, who's in love with a male cousin just like her ancestor Mircalla was, keeps you guessing right up to the end. Was it "unfinished business" from the past or a mental breakdown? The last scene leaves no doubt. The sapphic aspect was ahead of its time (and something not previously seen on American screens) as was the "happy ending". The "possession" began when fireworks at the château set off an undetonated German bomb from WWII which is kind of how Bela Lugosi came back in THE RETURN OF THE VAMPIRE when the London blitz unearthed his crypt. Annette Vadim (nee Stroyberg) was no Bardot but she wasn't bad as Carmilla and her sensual blondeur complimented the brunette charms of Elsa Martinelli, who played her cousin's fiancée. Christopher Lee was originally considered for the role of the cousin in question but the part ended up going to Mel Ferrer instead. Damn. For decades the only extant version of BLOOD & ROSES was a U.S. edited-for-TV print until the BFI rediscovered the original for their "Gothic: The Dark Heart Of Film" series last year. Bravo!
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Beware Of Current DVD
filmkr17 September 2013
I first saw a 35mm Technicolor print of Blood & Roses totally uncut in Korea, in French. I am still waiting and searching for the complete French version to appear.

Beware of the Desert Island Classics release. Yes, it's 2.35 wide-screen, but the picture quality is so poor it looks like it was copied of a soft VHS.

Also, although package listed at 87 minutes, it only runs 76 minutes. Most important among missing footage is the "dream" sequence near the end where Carmilla is drawn into the mirror. Very elaborate and fairly long and with some nudity, it is visually stunning!

So... the search goes on. I really, really hope to someday get to see a complete version.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
A French Examination of a Classic Vampire Tale
gavin69427 October 2011
Young Carmilla (Annette Vadim) is jealous of her friend's engagement, and her obsession leads her to the tomb of a female vampire.

Critical reviews of this film seem overall negative. Mike Mayo says the "story makes less than complete sense", calls Vadim a "Bardot wannabe" who is "not nearly as frightening as" intended. He calls the performances as a whole "anemic". I think this is overly harsh. The story made sense to me, and Vadim has no control over who she resembles (I think she comes across as both talented an beautiful). Was the film supposed to be frightening? The acting is not terribly strong, but I have seen much worse.

Ivan Butler is also not a fan, but seems more sympathetic. He calls the film "somewhat pretentious" and criticizes the dubbing. He does say that the movie has "some effective and beautiful moments", though. I did not find the dubbing that intrusive, though I am in general agreement that subtitles would be better (but it seems like not everyone was speaking the same language).

Which film is better, this one or Dreyer's "Vampyr"? Both are based off the same story, but tell it in their own way, so it is hard to compare. While the Dreyer version is a true classic and should be the better film by default, I do not think this version can be written off completely. It is unique, more accessible and shares some style aspects with the Hammer films, which may appeal to people who are not interested in old German cinema.

Who makes a better male lead, Mel Ferrer or Christopher Lee? The story is that Lee was supposed to be Leopold but he turned it down and it went to Ferrer (a friend of his). While Lee would have gotten the film more star power (and added to the Hammer style), I think Ferrer does a fine job (no "anemic" acting here) and should not be ruled out. He might not have the name recognition of Lee or Cushing or Price, but Ferrer is a fantastic horror actor just the same.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Typical Vadim flick- overwrought but interesting.
StudentDriver28 September 1999
I was originally disappointed with Blood & Roses, because I had been led to believe it was a Hammer-type vampire film. It's similar, but not quite as good. The atmosphere is great though; when I watch it, I feel like I'm in a 60's gothic romance novel...

As it is, it's pretty decent. I'm not a huge fan of Roger Vadim's work, just a fan of his wives... (that sounds really bad.) His movies aren't really very good storywise, but his wives have made for an interesting subject themselves.

As an aside- according to IMDB, there is only one actor or actress with the first name of "Carmilla", and she's only made one film... and she's in this one. Since Carmilla is the name of the first female vampire in literature, I'm intrigued to know either who Carmilla Stroyberg really is, or if she's uncredited in other roles.
4 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
DECENT VAMPIRE MOVIE
jacksonc3 April 1999
This movie is quite good for the genre (and, presumably, one would not watch such a movie if one weren't interested in that type). Also, Annette Vadim is/was a babe, a dish, or whatever other term you might use to describe an attractive woman...
4 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Poetic rendering of Camille!
jessicacoco20055 October 2017
Vastly underrated film that sadly has not gotten the popularity that it deserves. Though in black and white, the film is physically beautiful; the castle, the landscape, even the costumes the young men and women wear. Both the photography and story line in the film display an unusual ethereal and poetic quality that remains in the viewers' mind long after it has been watched. Amid all this beauty, unsettling emotions simmer underneath. A sad, haunting story of a fatalistic love triangle revolving around the unrequited love of the main female character deeply in love with male cousin.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Interesting story, but needed more work. Good cinematography, acting and music. Very Atmospheric
Bababooe11 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Interesting story, but needed more work. Good cinematography, acting and music. Very Atmospheric

I saw this in French with English subtitles. So the I'm sure the story was lost during translation or I missed some things. The best part of the movie is the atmosphere. It has good acting and music. Cinematography was good. Best scene was when Millarca was stalking the victim girl. The ending was a bit of a mess, with the black and white, operating table. That needed more work.

My initial rating was 6 stars, because the story needed more work. I still believe that. While watching the movie my thoughts were that Carmilla was not supernaturally possessed by Millarca but was psychologically possessed, thinking in her own mind that she was possessed. This is a much more interesting story.

Rating is a B-/B, it needed more work. 7 stars.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed