Cult Epics’ series takes a step back in time with this release. The last one took us to the 1950s, and now we go considerably further back. Where to go next I’m not sure, but anyway, this is an interesting collection of antique porn. That this is a French import is obvious not only from the fact that all the films hail from there, but also from the fact that the jacket copy has been rather clumsily translated into English. But never mind. The films, while hardly masterpieces, are fascinating little curios, and it says something that pieces such as “Le Verrou” actually expected their target audience to know who Fragonard was (the starting point of the short is a recreation of the painting of the same name). Also intriguing is an pornographic cartoon from twenties – now that-s something you don’t see every day.Audio
As opposed to the running-projector-noise that accompanied the previous release, there is a music score for each film. The sound is mono and quite rough, but to be frank, given what’s on display here, stunning surround sound would seem weirdly out of place. At any rate, the job is done quite adequately. “Le Verrou” has a new score (complete with come crackles and pops).
Expectations must be carefully managed here. We’re talking stag loops from eighty years ago. That they still exist at all is miraculous. The prints are, of course, rough. One piece in particular has frequent burnt frames. But really, complaining about this is churlish in the extreme. Everything here is watchable, and one can’t hope for anything more than that.
A photo gallery of glamorous nudes from the period is the only extra, if you don’t count “Le Verrou” (which is presented as a bonus piece).
These releases, when you get right down to it, are little treasures. They aren’t good films, but they are very fine history.