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  Two Undercover Angels Charlie Not Pictured
Year: 1969
Director: Jess Franco
Stars: Janine Reynaud, Rosanna Yanni, Chris Howland, Alexander Engel, Marcelo Arroita-Jáuregui, Manolo Otero, Dorit Dom, Adrian Hoven, Ana Casares, Michel Lemoine, María Antonia Redondo, Vicente Roca, Jess Franco, Elsa Zabala, Marta Reves, Ana Puértolas
Genre: Comedy, Thriller, Trash, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: A model has just been exhibiting a wedding dress at a showing when her boss calls her into her office to tell the young woman that her presence has been requested by an eccentric but wealthy gentleman who very few people get to meet. She is flattered, and goes to get ready in her dressing room, but as she strips to her underwear she hears a noise and goes to investigate, thinking it's one of her fellow models who are still hanging around the lavish building. But it isn't - it's a werewolf, which grabs her, knocks her out and takes her away. These kidnappings have been occuring with worrying regularity, so who can foil them?

How about our two undercover angels, Diana (Janine Reynaud), the sensible redhead, and Regina (Rosanna Yanni), the dizzy blonde? They are a duo of detectives who are keen for a new case, so when this one arises they set about it with enthusiasm in this, one of the two so-called Red Lips films to feature them from director Jess Franco. It might be better known in some quarters as Sadisterotica, taken from its original title of Rote Lippen, Sadisterotica, but that title makes it sound like a porn movie for the BDSM brigade when really it was a silly trifle with no great ambitions other than to divert the audience for the best part of ninety minutes.

That said, even the most ephemeral items of popular culture manage to snag some form of following and the two Red Lips efforts did appeal to a few if anything because of its light as a feather quality, one of the most trivial of Franco's works, but also one of the most amusing purely thanks to its obvious inability to take itself seriously. Our two leading ladies were plainly enjoying themselves indulging in a caper which was never going to amount to very much, so you could understand why they had obviously thought they may as well have fun with this, which is precisely what they did through a plot that did not bear close scrutiny, or indeed made a tremendous degree of sense.

You could observe this as the distaff side of Europe's then-obsession with James Bond, which took in the likes of Modesty Blaise, but this time around there was an unmistakable Franco spirit here, from details such as the werewolf being called Morpho, one of his favourite henchman monikers, to the interludes for extravagant dancing from a scantily clad, and even not clad at all aside from knickers and go-go boots, young lady. That storyline was almost perfunctory, the slimmest of excuses to skip from one brightly coloured scene to another with a light smattering of adventure, and a dose of kooky comedy which veered into the realms of outright farce, that in spite of the plot concerning itself with the kidnap and ravaging of women, and that includes our heroines.

Well, one of them, anyway, as somebody has to be on hand to come to the rescue. Throwing such elements into the mix as a cat burglar who leaves a lipstick kiss as her calling card - Franco himself played the victim of one of those when a painting which should be important to the characters but is barely of interest to the viewer is stolen, and a selection of sundrenched locations which go some way to lending glamour to what cannot have been an expensive shoot, Two Undercover Angels was purely frolicking around for its own entertainment, and if you didn't get the joke then you would probably find it pretty heavy going for a work of this frothy nature. But that mood of grown-ups playing at spies and detectives, even baddies and goodies, as if they hadn't quite got the joys of childhood's imaginings out of their system, could prove fairly infectious should all you want from a movie to be pure escapism. Franco's sleazier aspects could often give an unwelcome edge of the unsavoury to his work, yet here you found him at his most funloving. Jazz Club-esque music by Jerry van Rooyen.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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Jess Franco  (1930 - 2013)

Legendary director of predominantly sex-and-horror-based material, Spanish-born Jesus Franco had as many as 200 directing credits to his name. Trained initially as a musician before studying film at the Sorbonne in Paris, Franco began directing in the late 50s. By using the same actors, sets and locations on many films, Franco has maintained an astonishing workrate, and while the quality of his work has sometimes suffered because of this, films such as Virgin Amongst the Living dead, Eugenie, Succubus and She Killed in Ecstasy remain distinctive slices of 60s/70s art-trash.

Most of his films have been released in multiple versions with wildly differing titles, while Franco himself has directed under a bewildering number of pseudonyms. Actors who have regularly appeared in his films include Klaus Kinski, Christopher Lee and wife Lina Romay; fans should also look out for his name on the credits of Orson Welles' Chimes of Midnight, on which he worked as assistant director.

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