Cleverly crafted soft porn, eviscerated for U.S. release
Exploitation has curiously become a highly positive word for younger film fans, for reasons too mysterious for me to penetrate. But the bowdlerized U.S. version of this porno HANSEL & GRETEL shows the negative connotations the word should signal.
On video display courtesy of Something Weird, the English-dubbed movie cuts away every time a sex scene commences, leaving five minutes or so off the running time. The audience is being exploited -suckered if you were, just as hard-up patrons back in the '30s or '40s were bamboozled into paying to see the birth of a baby or other trivial "forbidden fruit". That's what exploitation in cinema really means: a polite euphemism for fraud.
Vet German director F.J. Gottlieb delivers a colorful, fairly goofy sex romp in this update of the familiar fairy tale. The handsome title couple (he's a bland German blond who the idiotic SWV shill misleadingly calls a "Michael York lookalike" despite no resemblance whatsoever) are driving along on holiday when a felled-tree in the road stops them. Beautiful Hexe (Barbara Scott, her breasts hanging out of her blouse) is a countess who picks them up, and takes them for a stay at her castle atop a nearby hill.
It's mainly sexual hijinks there, as Hexe seduces both of them, one by one, and a buxom maid Majd (Erika Rambach, who I wish had made more films) also services Hansel when not playing the voyeur, admiring the dongs on the stallions in the countess's stable.
English-version is not only truncated but saddled with a terribly cutesy and fey narration by "Oskar", treating the target audience with the utmost contempt. By the time H & G sort out their pre-marital hang-ups, and escape the clutches of the Countess (read: witch), this quite defective print has worn out its welcome.
It's a shame, because Continental professionalism has been reduced to garbage by American distributors. All-knowing latter-day pundits like to make fun of "Euro sleaze", "Euro trash" and the like, but the guilt for these guilty pleasures lies westward.
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