To describe Lina Romay as a ‘familiar face’ from countless Jess Franco movies is to severely understate the case. Lina superseded the seemingly irreplaceable Soledad Miranda, Franco’s former muse, throughout the 1970s and early 80s, captivating admirers of trashy Euro-exploitation with a series of devastating appearances in horror, thriller, WIP and porno titles galore. If Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey created the concept of the Superstar, the iconic figure at whom one absolutely needed to point a camera, regardless of their activity at the moment of photographic capture, then Franco and his contemporaries surely honed the idea to perfection with a series of briskly-made, virtually plotless cinematic excursions designed to celebrate image, form, and allure.
It’s something of a surprise, therefore, to discover that the most bewitching example of 24-frame-per-second portraiture should be helmed not by jolly Jess, but by his frequent producer Erwin Dietrich. Rolls Royce Baby carries a basic storyline, but its entire purpose is simply to marvel at the beauty and uninhibited abandon of the magnificent Ms. Romay, who has never looked as tantalisingly tempting as she does here (something which I know you fans of The Bare-Breasted Countess will find impossible to contemplate, but believe me, it’s true).
Roaming around gorgeous countryside in a chauffeur-driven vintage limousine, Lina drapes herself naked across the rear passenger upholstery, making herself sexually available for any fortunate stray hiker the vehicle should happen to pass. Although a grim flashback scene involving a pair of unsavoury truck drivers towards the end offers a psychological explanation for Lina’s nymphomania, this seems present merely to appease the conventional viewer who requires everything to be nicely spelled out, unable to handle such an abstract and star-focused approach to the art of film. For the remainder of us, this movie is like your favourite painting brought to life.