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99  Women

"-She's locked up in the infirmary. With her dear friend 99.They'll stay there
until they've made up. Well, they must be punished, Governor. The choice of punishment, I will leave to you.


Jess Franco and the "Women in Prison". And like Pavlov's dog we start to salivate, thinking to zooms on naked bodies, lesbian scenes and violence. The flesh, however, this time there isn’t, we are in 1969, and although some will be disappointed by this lack, we recommend you to do stop reading this review or at least not miss this "99 Women". It’s an important movie for the genre, in fact, is the film that helped the development of this "infamous" genre.
There is no flesh as we said, but there is a good work, well built, that has an elegant eroticism most intriguing than close-up of boobs and vaginas. Already we have mentioned explicit things, let us to say that "99 Women" also runs under the title "Les Brulantes" an hard version to life imprisonment (for Robert De Nesle who created it) because there are porn inserts absolutely out of context and very horrible. If you see this version, make the effort to remove all the unnecessary and concentrate on the original, the story written by Franco in collaboration with several other people including Harry Alan Towers, screenwriter, producer, strange man, and with the good music by Bruno Nicolai.
A large international production involving Great Britain, Spain, Germany and Italy, which provides a great cast to our beloved Jess.
We find Mercedes McCambrige in the indispensable role for a "WIP" of the "warden”, an actress famous for having won the Academy Award, as "Supporting Actress" at the debut for "All the King's Men" for having starred in "Johnny Guitar" in " Giant" and for having provided to the voice of the demon in "The Exorcist". Her close colleague, is another jailer of the prison, played by Herbert Lom, Czech actor, famous in England in the sixties, he played often villain roles, some even for the "Hammer", before turning in comedies and become the legendary Chief Inspector Dreyfuss in the series "Pink Panther".
The human side of the law is another star, German by birth but Swiss by adoption, Maria Schell, beautiful and famous interpreter of "Le Notti Bianche" by Luchino Visconti.
The battery of the prisoners is important too and begins with Maria Rohm married with Towers and known for having starred in several films by Franco (and also those produced by her husband!) who here is the number 99, the protagonist of the story. Among her mates there is Rosalba Neri great actress of genre cinema, which although she isn’t the main character, she steal the main role thanks to her beauty at the service of a very elegant eroticism. And finally, Luciana Paluzzi apparently imposed by the Italian production, in a brief appearance.
A great cast, protagonist of a story that follows the classical scheme of the genre.
A prison called "El Castillo De La Muerte" lost on an island in the ocean is controlled by sadistic lesbian director Diaz (Mercedes McCambrigde ) who with the island's governor (Herbert Lom) sexually abuses of prisoners with a particular interest for the number 99. Their "kingdom" change or might change when the new Minister of Justice sends an inspector (Maria Schell ) in the place to investigate the strange events that happen there. There is also another important characteristic of the genre: the escape, daring, adventurous, and unlucky.
In the middle there are always very succinct uniforms of the prisoners, love scenes and morbid attention, interspersed with a bit of violence and wickedness of the villains.
This is a "WIP" more refined than most of other movies of the genre. Thanks to the skill of Franco, who although not reaching his highest levels of elegance or psychedelic, as in directing and in narrative aspects succeeds with simplicity to create a good movie. He slips a bit ' on the lights, sometimes oversized but some scenes, such as the coffin on the rocks and especially the flash back on the life of stripper Zoie (Rosalba Blacks), show the best Franco and frame this movie.

Technical Specifications
Original Title: Der Tod heiße
Alternative Titles: Isle of Lost Women, Prostitutes in Prison, The Hot Death (Alternate) 99 Mulheres (Brazil), 99 kvinder (Denmark), 99 Mujeres (Spain), 99 femmes, L'amour des femmes dans les prisons, Les brûlantes (hard version) (France), 99 Women (UK), 99 gynaikes (Greece), 99 women (Italy), 99 mujeres (Mexico), 99 Women, Island of Despair, Women's Penitentiary XII (USA), Der heisse Tod, Sex im Frauengefängnis (Germany)
Year: 1969
Country: Liechtenstein, Spain, Italy, Germany, UK
Directed by: Jesus Franco
Cast: Maria Schell, Herbert Lom, Mercedes McCambridge, Luciana Paluzzi, Maria Rohm, Rosalba Blacks, Elisa Montes, Valentina Godoy, José María Blanco
Duration: 86 '(integral)
Production House: Film Associates (CI.AS.), Corona Filmproduktion, Hesperia Films SA, Towers of London