Love Camp AKA Frauen im Liebeslager (1977)
R0 - Switzerland - V.I.P. Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Jari Kovalainen (25th August 2005).
The Film

Director Jess Franco has done several movies such as “Sadomania - Hölle der Lust (1981)”, “Barbed Wire Dolls AKA Frauengefängnis (1975)” and “99 Women AKA 99 mujeres (1969)”, where the story basically happens in a women's prison (often on the island somewhere or in the jungle). There these women have to fight against the evil (usually female) warden, strange inmates, and violent behavior. It also goes without saying, that you´ve plenty of nudity. These type of movies are often called “WIP (“Women-In-Prison”) -movies”.

With “Love Camp AKA Frauen im Liebeslager (1977)”, guerrillas from some unknown country (somewhere in South-America maybe?) kidnap various women, just to bring them to prison in the jungle where they have to “entertain” the guerrilla soldiers. Among these women is Angela (Ada Tauler), who´s been taken during a romantic moment with her husband (they probably just got married). In the camp, the female commander (Nanda Van Bergen) is like the female commanders usually are in these type of movies: tough, sometimes sadistic, and a bit on the lesbian side. This all might be enough to get the proper exploitation-movie going in full speed, but we have also a leader of the guerrillas (Val Davis), who falls in love with Angela..

As with several other movies, Franco made this film with the help of the producer Erwin C. Dietrich, who has provided some needed production values. Don´t get me wrong, this is still “low budget”, but cinematographer (Ruedi Kuettel) and the art department have done a fairly good job, so the visual presentation generally works. The problem with WIP-movies often is, that in the end they can be a bit dull (how many “shower-scenes” can you take for example, but I guess they´re running clean prisons), since the basic structure is the imprisonment, fighting against the evil there, and then the possible escape. In “Love Camp”, the most interesting aspect is the relationship between Angela and the leader of the guerrillas, and Angela´s desire between the leader and her husband who was left behind. Ada Tauler has some good qualities, which work well with Val Davis (we are not talking about Clark Gable & Vivien Leigh here though). Without this, the story would´ve been a very typical WIP-film story.

The film again has nudity and softcore-scenes, and it has a few scenes that might offend someone, but the movie doesn´t go overboard with violence like some notorious Italian “Naziploitation”-movies. Some violence is also shown offscreen. In the end this is a solid work by Franco, but nothing that special.

Video

Again, “V.I.P. Entertainment” has done a great job (part of "The Official Jess Franco Collection”) with this Anamorphic 1.85:1 presentation. They have used the original negatives and also some proper digital restoration to the print has been done. There basically are no film artifacts, and no print damage, and if you must find something, maybe the colours could´ve been a bit stronger (the film stock that was used might have something to do with this). You have also some minor film grain in the darker scenes, but that´s part of the low budget-movies. Overall, I can´t complain.
Again, transfer uses German credits, disc is R0, and it´s NTSC. The film runs 78:44 min, and has 12 chapters. The disc is Dual Layer.

Audio

The disc has 3 audio tracks, all Dolby Digital 2.0 mono: English, German and French, and there are no subtitles on the film. I watched the film with English audio, which technically was a good mono-track: clean and well balanced (dialogue, with music and sound effects). English-track sounded even a bit loud sometimes. With some testing I did, the English and German-tracks are both very good, and French-track is a bit inferior (it´s not that clear and generally it´s in a lower level than the other two). I also noticed, that some scenes in the French-track are in German (so they probably didn´t have the full French-track available). Like with this and other films by Franco & Dietrich, French and German –tracks probably are the better way to watch this film than English, but English dub is not bad.

Extras

This release includes the same "Behind-the-scenes" -featurette as the “Blue Rita” and “Voodoo Passion”-discs, and it´s actually an interview with producer Erwin C. Dietrich (with some narration). It starts as a PR-featurette of VIP´s “The Official Jess Franco Collection”, but you have also some interesting info about Franco´s other film, “Jack The Ripper AKA Der Dirnenmörder von London”, and also some stories about the actor Klaus Kinski (he´s not in “Blue Rita”). Dietrich also finds connections between Franco and Dogma-movement, and doesn´t have warm memories of the German censors “FSK” back in the days. Featurette runs 21:22 minutes and is in German (with English subtitles).

Then we also have about 40 minutes worth of trailers, all in German: “Voodoo Passion”, "Sexy Sisters", "Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun", "Blue Rita", "Barbed Wire Dolls", "Doriana Grey", "Jack The Ripper AKA Der Dirnenmörder von London", "Island Women AKA Gefangene Frauen", "Come Play With Me 2", "Come Play With Me 3", "Me, A Groupie", "Fräuleins in Uniforms", "Ilsa, The Wicked Warden", "Rolls-Royce Baby", and of course “Love camp”.

A pair of photo galleries includes “production stills” of “Love Camp”, and then “original poster gallery”, which includes other (s)exploitation movies by Dietrich (this same gallery is in many other releases by VIP). Finally there are bio/filmographies for Franco and Dietrich, and filmographies for Ada Tauler, Monica Swinn, Esther Studer, and Val Davis (there are no bios of the actors). There is also some basic info about "The Official Jess Franco Collection" (you can find similar info from the “leaflet” with the case itself), and “DVD credits”.

Again, if you don´t own the other VIP Franco-releases, the featurette is fairly interesting and worth a look, but since this same featurette is spread over the several releases, many people might have already seen it. New interviews with actors, and director Jess Franco would´ve taken this disc that few extra miles further.

Overall

Again VIP deliveres the goods for the Franco-fans, with the great presention of this film. Extras are lacking If you own other films of their “The Official Jess Franco Collection” and there are no subtitles with the film, but since the film is what counts the most, you´ll be pleased with this disc.

For more info, please visit the homepage of VIP´s The Official Jess Franco Collection.

The Film: Video: Audio: Extras: Overall:

 


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