Devil's Island Lovers/Review
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
Those who are interested in the world of Jess Franco should give this film a view. This is a highlight from the era after the death of Soledad Miranda and before the rise of Lina that happened when Franco went back to Eurocine, a time which had some interesting films. This may look like a WIP film on the outside, and there are the usual alternative versions with a little more spice, this film is a Dramatic Prison tale, and while it can be said that there might be an Anti-Fascist message Franco was trying to say about dictatorships, it does not take over the Drama at all, and with some moments that slightly go back to the style of films like 99 Women, this is a solid Franco film that's ready for re-discovery.
Told in flashback on his deathbed to a lawyer who sided with the lovers of this tale in admittance to a set up, Governor Mendoza is interested Beatrice, the sister of his wife who passed away and has the family fortune, and finds out that she's interested in Raymond, a Revolutionary type who is the godson of his new love interest. This leads up to a meeting of the two innocent lovers over dinner who get set up in a murder case and go to prison with Beatrice's tale being the tale most focused on in this film. The lovers will escape their prisons with some help, but the freedom would only last a short while, and it would be discovered that it would be too late to save them.
True, there are holes in the story (The country is never mentioned for starters), but the overall effect is good. Once the viewer sees Rosa Palomar as the head Warden at the Women's Prison, some elements of the WIP film come into play, but it's a more Dramatic Exploitation that works for the film. Almost all of the featured actors including Andres Resnio and Genevieve Robert as the lovers are solid through this film, although one sees Dennis Price as the Lawyer not as great in one of his last roles, although it can be said that the tragedy in the tale gives his character some edge.
This film comes off with the effect that this was something he felt strongly about, and the viewer may get the feeling that the very small promotion given to the film without an English release must have given the Director a major sense of disappointment as this would have clearly played around the world to some success. The music by Bruno Nicolai adds more effect to an already good film - sounding like a classic lost Spaghetti Western score, it fits this film very well. Overall, this has been seen as one of Franco's better Post-60's films as of late thanks to recent DVD releases, and it is recommended.
Reviewed by Screen 13