LATARNIA ~ fantastique international ~ Presents

 

 

this page: dvd review by Robert Monell
main page: click on above banner

der teufel kam aus akasava
the devil came from akasava

1970

 

German title: DER TEUFEL KAM AUS AKASAVA
English title: THE DEVIL CAME FROM AKASAVA
Spanish title: EL DIABLO QUE VINO DE AKASAWA
Italian title: UNA VENERE SENZA NOME PER L'ISPETTORE FORRESTER

D: Jess Franco; P: CCC (Artur Brauner)/Fenix Film; S: Ladislas Fodor and Paul Andre supposedly from a short story by Edgar Wallace, "The Akasava"; M: Manfred Hubler, Siegfried Schwab; C: Soledad Miranda (as Susann Korda), Fred Williams, Ewa Stromberg, Horst Tappert, Alberto Dalbes, Siegfried Schurenberg, Jess Franco, Paul Muller, Walter Rilla, Howard Vernon, Angel Melendez. Filmed August 3 - September 9, 1970 in Eastman color, 1:66:1. 84 minutes, German version.

 

 

 

DVD Review: All things considered, this new IMAGE DVD is a pretty terrific looking and sounding disc. A startlingly crisp and colorful, though full-screen, transfer of pristine elements from producer Artur Brauner's CCC Filmkunst vaults. Some may be disappointed that it's presented full-screen but the clarity and color are very impressive. Luminous emerald hues make the jungle settings glitter with chroma intensity. Phosphorescent reds and onyx blacks which conduct one into the drowning pools of Soledad Miranda's eyes make this a hypnotic viewing experience, and the high powered psychedelic score never sounded more detailed with layers of fun instrumentation uncovered. Who needs anamorphic transfers, anyway (asked the guy who doesn't see a widescreen monitor in the stars)?

The film itself will want to make Edgar Wallace purists, pedants and stuffed shirts want to lynch Jess Franco. Include me out of that scenario. I love this film. It's like a giddy ride through a specially appointed Franco funhouse with all the regulars (Alberto Dalbes, Paul Muller, Howard Vernon, and Franco himself) popping up to conduct us on our merry way. The hulking, pleasant looking Fred Williams is something of a dud as a secret agent and Soledad Miranda seems strangely detached from everything and everyone, as if she were already starting to phase into another spatial-temporal continuum. Her minimalist, erotic "dance", though, is a must-see just for her fetish poses and ultra-kinky outfit (Chapter 7: "Red Rose Night Club" will quickly become a favorite scene selection). This is Franco's fastest paced (breathlessly paced, really) film ever, and he really goes wild with his zoom lens; it's so over the top that it always brings a smile to my face watching the crazy zooms up to the tops of palm trees or into whatever new object captures Jess' always wandering attention. A delightful trifle which tumbles us through a hastily constructed maze of non sequiturs.

Brauner contracted Bryan Edgar Wallace to script some of his 60's productions and it's unclear to me if this is actually based on an Edgar Wallace short story or they just used the title or if it's from BEW material. Brauner's competitor, Rialto, produced the best of the 60s EW films, and this film can't equal them, but it's endless fun for the Franco devotee.

No extras whatsoever are included, but the video quality makes it a worthwhile buy at 14.99 in some retail venues. It also plays much better in German language (English subtitles are an option here) than in the sloppily voiced English language version I've encountered. A collector's item if only for the fact that it features the last performance of the uncanny, soon to be tragically killed, Soledad Miranda.

Robert Monell, 2003


Notes: German krimi film book sources state that this CCC Edgar Wallace film is based on the short story, "The Akasava." Online sources indicate only two Wallace short stories with Akasava in the title: "The Rising of the Akasava" and "Guns in the Akasava". These sound more like straightforward African adventure tales than secret agent thrillers, and their reading will show how much of either story was used for the film's plot. - Mirek

DVD available at discount from  Amazon.com

PHOTO GALLERY