The Film (3.5/5)
Jess Franco died a little over one year ago now in April of 2013, as one of the last remaining auteurs of early EuroCult cinema it was a tragic loss, but being in his mid-80's, and having been in declining health for sometime it was hardly unexpected. If one is to find a silver lining in the dark cloud of Franco's tragic passing it would be that over his very long and prolific career the Spanish director left us with over 200 films to explore and to enjoy for decades to come. Prior to his passing his films began to trickle on to the Blu-ray format with Redemption Films releasing his classics Female Vampire and Exorcism on to the format in October of 2012. However, it would be Ascot-Elite Films with their line of Franco Blu-ray's that have been keeping the maestro's work visible, and in very beautiful Blu-ray editions since late 2013. The series is winding down, and we have decided to go back, and review as many of these titles as time allows as these are some of the most gorgeous cult titles on the market, and they offer a great tribute to the late Jess Franco.
Blue Rita is a film that is a love it or hate it film in the eyes of Franco fans. I did not know what side of the spectrum I would fall when the film entered my Blu-ray player, however from the moment Franco's trippy opening credits began I knew I was in for something special. The film stars Martine Flety as Blue Rita the owner of the titular Blue Rita bar, where she also works as a stripper. The bar, however, is a cover for her real work as an information gatherer for a number of organizations. She does this by kidnapping spies using the women in her service to sexually lure them in, and then entrap them. Once they are trapped she tortures them using a potion that ramps up their sex drive until they spill the proverbial beans. All is going well for Rita until she kidnaps an agent who is too much even for her.
Blue Rita is a short, but uneven film for director Franco. The films run time is 79 minutes, and it takes about half of that to find it's way. It opens with sequences of sex, and then multiple moments of the same agent being sexually tortured for information. The film during this period is carried by it's strange atmosphere, oddball characters, and it's interesting design choices. The later half of the film plays like a more traditional crime/spy film, and while the plot doesn't tend to make sense if you think about it too much Franco creates a comic book unreality in the latter half that is an absolute blast to watch. The parking lot fight scene, while shot with no eye for action is a particularly fun moment, and the films final 10 minutes offer a convoluted, but fun mess of a time. Blue Rita is not a top-tier Franco film, so if you are coming into the director's oeuvre for the first time this is not a film I would start with, for seasoned Francophiles, Blue Rita should be a fun experience.
Ascot Elite maintains the quality of their Franco releases with a 1:85:1 1080p transfer that is as bright, colorful, and detailed as the film itself. Their is some grain present, and some soft moments, but overall this is a very fine presentation of Blue Rita.
There are language options English, French, and German tracks with only Japanese subtitles available. I ended up watching the film with a DTS-HD MA track. The track was suitable for the content, dialogue was audible throughout as were the effects and music.
There is an introduction by actor Eric Falk, a featurette, trailers, and galleries present on the Blu-ray.
Blue Rita is a fun, colorful and interesting little spy/crime film from director Jess Franco. The A/V restoration from Ascot Elite looks fantastic. Blue Rita comes RECOMMENDED.