Title: The Hedonist
AKA: -Sexy Erotic Job | The memoirs of a sad cunt
Original title: Le jouisseur
Director: Jesús Franco
Fred Williams … Count Roland
Richard Bigotini … Gangster
Lina Romay … Loulou Laverne
Willy Braque … Gangster
Olivier Mathot … Joe Le Corsia
Brigitte Monnin … Count Roland’s Wife
Maria Mancini … Amira
Pamela Stanford … Angela
Monica Swinn … Mrs. Lapierre
Anna Gladysek … Sex-Shop Owner
Raymond Hardy.. Bertrand Malou
Victor Mendés … Prince Grokumaté
Suzuki Prince Grokumaté’s Daughter
Plot / Synopsis
A wealthy ex-playboy, Count Roland (Fred Williams) tires of married life to the sex guide magnate Barbara and decides to return to his old ways. He poses as a butler and becomes a servant to rich and beautiful women, but many complications ensue.
The title of this sly comedy of manners indicates Franco wanted to infuse this amusing trifle with a sense of irony. Roland may be handsome but as played by Williams behaves like a run-of-the-mill male model, albeit with a little more humor and liveliness than this usually dull actor musters in his other Francos roles from this period. Franco aims for the tone of a Howard Hawks screwball comedy, but verbal humor, not physical comedy, is more his forté. And as the only available videos on the U.S. mail-order circuit are in French, those unfamiliar with that language will miss the satiric barbs at male chauvinism and bourgeois arrogance.
As Roland’s pudgy, mischievous manservant Malou, Bigotini, a familiar Franco actor who often worked as his assistant, just about steals the show from Williams. Most of the footage follows Roland as he seduces and is seduced by various women, and in an especially amusing scene, tries to avoid the advances of one husband who also happens to like men.
The cinematography looks unfocused, under lit and out of control (it may be my print) and the lack of any action other than sexual may bore those who are not Franco enthusiasts. One long sequence endlessly inter cuts Roland taking a literal roll-in-the-hay with Lina Romay. As usual, Franco does manage to find some interesting cubist/impressionist influenced compositions amidst the reckless mise en scene, like the opening credits sequence which examines the leafy canopy overlooking the boulevards of Paris from a skewed angle.
Reading the above after nearly a decade I will comment that although this film is very carelessly made and obviously done without adequate planning or budget, it does have its merits for the dedicated: a jazzy, catchy score by Andre Benichou gives the action a much needed boost; Harrison is just fine in the lead, imparting the right ironic tone and the handheld camerawork (the entire film appears to have been made without benefit of a tripod!) does manage a few coups amid the flurry of non-stop telezooms, like the sudden zoom into a Parisian movie marquee for Franco’s 1972 LES ERANLESS during a delirious tour of the Paris red light district shot from a moving car! And Bigotini flying over the rooftops of Paris checking out female sunbathers in his helicopter is priceless as is the ending in which a scruffy looking film crew suddenly appears, complete with cheap looking equipment and portable camera, shooting Roland and his wife as they take another roll in the way before zooming into the slate “A PHALLUS PRODUCTION: THE WORLD’S SEXIEST COUPLE”!
Although we don’t want to take the comparison too far, LE JOUISSEUR can be seen as a way down-market anticipation of Francois Truffaut’s THE MAN WHO LOVED WOMEN and certain Woody Allen films of that era.
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