HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun
Year: 1977
Director: Jess Franco
Stars: Susan Hemingway, Ana Zanatti, William Berger, Herbert Fux, Anton Diffring, Patricia Da Silva
Genre: Drama, Sex, HistoricalBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: When Father Vincente (Berger) catches 15 year old Maria Rosalea (Hemingway) fooling around with her boyfriend, a visit to her destitute mother results in Maria getting a one-way ticket to the Serreda Iris cloister where she must atone for her sins. After Mother Alma (Susan Sarandon lookalike Ana Zanatti) confirms that she is still a virgin, Vincente begins to weave his wicked web, persuading his charge to relay the contents of her erotic dreams; a confession that leads to several layers of thorns being applied to her skin as a painful three-day punishment. In a desperate cry for help, Maria asks one of the nuns to post despatch a letter to her mother, a decision that backfires as her missive ends up in the hands of Mother Alma. This time, retribution is to be far more severe as Maria discovers her sacred virginity will be offered to Satan himself.

Part of Franco's mostly fruitful 15 picture association with Erwin C. Dietrich, Love Letters Of A Portuguese Nun could almost be bracketed with his infamous Women In Prison films. While it doesn't go as far as the likes of Barbed Wire Dolls or Sadomania, Love Letters does contain extremely graphic scenes of torture inflicted on Susan Hemingway, who looks uncomfortably close to her character's age. Women usually emerge as the strongest, most resourceful figures in Franco's wild and wonderful world, yet few command our sympathy and admiration more than Maria. A bloody, bone-stretching session on the rack; encounters with a red hot poker; forced oral sex with Vincente (ending with an almost subliminal cut of semen splattering Maria's face) and an outrageous carnal coupling with the devil himself are just a few examples of a catalogue of indignities forced on Maria by an evil regime that feeds on hysteria, and on the outdated beliefs of ignorant superiors.

While this is a long way from being one of Franco's tamer efforts, crisp production values, a good script and solid, character-driven acting from Hemingway, Berger and Zanatti take this a few notches above most exploitation fare.

Granted, the events leading up to the conclusion may be cliched in the extreme and the final image will leave you wanting to see more, but this should not detract from a polished historical drama that's now enjoying a new lease of life.

Thanks to the efforts of Erwin Dietrich, V.I.P. Films are in the process of releasing onto DVD all 15 of the films from the Franco/Dietrich partnership. Picture quality on this disc is superb, with rich, vibrant colours and nice, inky blacks. Extras include brief interviews with Franco, Dietrich and Fux and an informative documentary charting the restoration work involved in turning a plague-ridden print of Jack The Ripper into a sumptuous visual feast.

Anchor Bay UK have just released Love Letters, utilising the same gorgeous print as VIP and this film is available separately, or as part of a special Jess Franco box set to be released in the UK this Autumn. While I would love to unreservedly recommend the UK release, it would be remiss of me not to point out that LLOAPN is missing some 6m 15s due to cuts imposed by the BBFC. While the V.I.P. disc is still available - and at approx £25 represents a more costly purchase - the Anchor Bay release is more easily available. I did expect the board to impose some cuts on this film, given the sorry state of censorship in this (un)fair isle, but confess to being amazed by their butchery. The choice is yours.
Reviewer: Steve Langton

 

This review has been viewed 31386 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Jess Franco  (1930 - 2013)

Legendary director of predominantly sex-and-horror-based material, Spanish-born Jesus Franco had as many as 200 directing credits to his name. Trained initially as a musician before studying film at the Sorbonne in Paris, Franco began directing in the late 50s. By using the same actors, sets and locations on many films, Franco has maintained an astonishing workrate, and while the quality of his work has sometimes suffered because of this, films such as Virgin Amongst the Living dead, Eugenie, Succubus and She Killed in Ecstasy remain distinctive slices of 60s/70s art-trash.

Most of his films have been released in multiple versions with wildly differing titles, while Franco himself has directed under a bewildering number of pseudonyms. Actors who have regularly appeared in his films include Klaus Kinski, Christopher Lee and wife Lina Romay; fans should also look out for his name on the credits of Orson Welles' Chimes of Midnight, on which he worked as assistant director.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: