Two Undercover Angels (1969)
and Kiss Me, Monster (1969)
After finishing Succubus, Jess Franco was elated with
the performance of Janine Renaud, and decided to use her again, but in
a different genre. It occurred to him to make a detective comedy based
loosely on characters like Laurel and Hardy or Abbott and Costello,
but using women, with one of them being a classic dumb blonde, for
which role he recruited the Argentine actress Rosanna Yanni, with whom
he had always wanted to work. The idea seemed so good to him
that he decided to shoot two films back to back with essentially the
same crew, using the same leads playing the same characters. The two
films are often marketed as a single package called "Red Lips."
Two Undercover Angels (1969) is the first of the two comedies. IMDb lists it as El Caso de las dos bellezas, and it was called Sadist Erotica (against Franco's better judgment) in an early U.S. release. Renaud and Yanni play freelance detectives, although they seem to have connections to Interpol. It is never actually clear whom they work for, but their task is to get to the bottom of an epidemic of disappearing models and go-go dancers. As the detectives get deeper into the case, it is evident who is responsible: an artist and his werewolf-like assistant. But could it be that our girls are the real targets?
Kiss Me, Monster (1969) is the sequel. This time, Janine Renaud and Rossana Yanni have a nightclub act and hope to get to Vegas, but are also still in detective work. They are hired to get to the bottom of a secret society that is creating a race of supermen.
These are not the sorts of film I expect with Jess Franco at the helm, but are OK comedies, although the two women reminded me more of Maxwell Smart than Laurel and Hardy. IMDb comments are generally favorable, although several complained about the English dubbing, which was done by professional German voice actors. The first one is better because the plot in the second one is minimal, and most of the humor is supposed to come from a running gag where everyone gets a knife in the back just before they are to say something useful to the detectives. Jess Franco admits Kiss Me, Monster didn't do as well in the box office.
Both films are available from Blue Underground in a two-disk package which sports decent transfers, trailers, and interviews with the eternally colorful and candid Jess Franco. In his commentary, Franco accuses his producers of being totally clueless about film, and frequently making bad decisions. He also mentions that neither the Spanish nor German producers liked either of these films, but changed their tunes when both made money. He also mentions that it was never his intention to make films for the masses, but is pleased that so many of the current generation seem to enjoy his work. The actual films may be mediocre but, on the basis of the fact that these are Franco's only comedies, and given the candid and amusing interviews, this boxed set is a must-own for Franco fans.
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