Max Pécas – Une femme aux abois AKA The Slave (1962)
From the catalog:
Lovely Evelyn and her hunky boy-toy Bob are happily enjoying an extramarital French-countryside romp in an elegant cottage when Evelyn’s older half-brother Maurice and his spooky-but-shapely sex-bomb girlfriend come sauntering in with a gun, a briefcase full of cash, and some naked pictures of his sis when she was a desperate young model who didn’t know any better. There’s been a robbery and a shooting, and nasty Maurice is on the lam and doesn’t have much to lose.
Within an hour of arriving and breaking up their small slice of heaven, the gangster has instructed his girlfriend (who is dazzling in her dark sunglasses and hot pants) to seduce Bob while he blackmails his half-sister with his dirty-photo collection. Maurice is a skuzzy little warthog of a man, and he relishes the control he exerts over his frustrated kin. This control is purely mental, and plays out like a sick little game of tit for-tat as he laughs and hands over a naughty photo for each article of clothing she sheds, until she stands totally naked and defenseless before his leering eyes. She doesn’t like it one bit, but in order to keep things quiet and save her marriage, poor Evelyn must submit to the sexual whims of her cruel blackmailer.
The intrigues get beefier and more sensational as scheming and back-stabbing goes on, and soon a mysterious bald Yul-Brynner-wannabe with an interesting connection to the stolen money makes the scene in an ambulance. His name is Marco, he’s pissed, he’s got a seriously kinky girlfriend, and he drops some savage n’ heady dialogue (“Have you ever hated anyone with a hate that’s almost love? You can feed yourself with it for months!”) before taking his part in an overtly violent action-packed chase-scene finale….
Released by BOB CRESSE through Olympic International Films, this is a particularly entertaining example of the 1960s French art-house / sexploitation-film hybrid. The acting is excellent, the setting is sumptuous, the girls are knockouts, and veteran French director MAX PECAS — who was a high-quality trail blazer in every stage of the development of erotic European film (from early 1960s sexy art-house erotica to fleshier 1970s soft-X fare) — kicks it out Roger-Vadim style, only with a pulse. Pecas is perhaps best know for 1975’s Felicia.
Written by JEAN PATRICK MANCHETTE, one of the most critically acclaimed crime novelists in France during the 1970s, The Slave shares a nearly identical cast as Torment, another Pecas/Manchette offering from 1966.
From a 35mm print that just can’t break free. — Robin (Frenchy) Bougie, Cinema Sewer Magazine