Manina: The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter (1952)
la fille sans voile (Original French title.)
Aka: The Girl in the Bikini
(American theatrical release)
This is a lowbrow
French entertainment which would now be forgotten except for one
very key element: it represented Brigitte Bardot's screen debut.
La Bardot exposed one of her breasts briefly, so it is also her
first screen nudity.
In a brief prologue, a young student finds a Phoenician
amphora on a remote island in the Mediterranean. Many years
later, he learns that there was a legendary Phoenician shipwreck
in the same general area, and that the sunken ship was supposed
to have contained many amphorae filled with gold coins.
Convinced that his own find is part of a priceless hoard of
ancient treasures, he finances an expedition to return to the
island and dive for the loot. Since he is only a poor university
student, the only way he can get a suitable boat for the task is
to make a deal with some treacherous cigarette smugglers.
he finally gets back to his island, he finds that the little
daughter of the lighthouse keeper has grown up to look a lot
like Brigitte Bardot, so he begins to romance her. The captain
of the smuggling boat begins to suspect that there was no
treasure to begin with, and that the student is only using him
and his boat to woo the sexy young woman. The elements of
dramatic conflict are established. Can the smugglers be trusted?
Does the treasure exist? If so, who will find it? If it's found,
who will end up with it? Will the student run off with the
We tend to think of the French
cinema as a bastion of aloof intellectualism and pseudo-art, but
this film was not made for the dour-faced university crowd. This
film was made into a stew for popular consumption, and it could
easily have been a "B' Hollywood film from the same era if it
had been in English. It includes a pinch of this and a dollop of
that to entertain the masses. It is an adventure about buried
treasure, and it is a corny love story, but it's also a lowbrow
comedy and a musical! There is the trite background music. There
are over-the-top minor comic characters like Huntz Hall - even
one scene inspired by the Keystone Kops. There are scheming,
chain-smoking, moustache-twirling weasels like Gilbert Roland.
There is a pretty girl in a bikini. There are popular songs.
There is a big musical production number.
Although Manina is a poor movie in certain ways (the corny
acting and the incredibly rushed denouement), and can even be
laughably poor (some truly bad use of miniatures), you might get
a real kick out of this film. I did. It is truly a time capsule
left for us by forgotten people who lived in unfamiliar places
and times. There are some nice (stock?) shots of Paris and
Cannes in the early 50s and some fascinating street scenes which
really seem to have been shot in Tangiers in 1952. For
some of us older types, this film is also a look back at a
naive, primitive, old-fashioned type of filmmaking which we
remember from our childhoods and which will never come around
again. It made me smile to realize that French people my age
must have very similar memories of cheesy films, except theirs
have a different cast of characters.
I'll be honest and say that I don't want to watch any more
like this, but it was a lot of fun to watch one.
Bardot nudity didn't hurt either!
This film had a brief and
limited theatrical release in the United States in 1958, six
years after it was made. By then Bardot had become a major
international star and the distributor hoped to cash in on her
name. Given the bare breast, I suppose that it played in very
few locations. A review appeared in the New York Times,
October 25, 1958 edition.
By our method of grading I guess
it is a C- as a French popular
entertainment from the early 50s, and one that can be quite
fascinating to watch. Since I have not seen anything else like
it, I don't know if it is a good or bad example of what the
French were doing then in terms of mass-market commercial films,
but it's charming enough to rate a C-
and a recommendation for curiosity-seekers at least, especially
since the DVD transfer is
The DVD release I screened is an all-region PAL disk from Australia. I had no trouble playing it on either the dedicated Region 1 drive or the Region 2 drive on my PC.
It is available from an American importer (click on image below
There is also a French disc, but that transfer is
not as good, it is hard-coded for Region 2, and no subtitles are available, so this Australian
release is the one you want.
Jared "Gay as a goose"
Leto is not quite as gay today as he was
yesterday. He's only around merganser level.
Oprah for Nobel Peace
The Trailer from The
- "THE NAMESAKE is
the story of the Ganguli family whose move
from Calcutta to New York evokes a lifelong
balancing act to meld to a new world without
forgetting the old. Paradoxically, their son
Gogol is torn between finding his own unique
identity without losing his heritage. Even
Gogol's name represents the family's journey
into the unknown"
NSA OFFERS "FRIENDS &
FAMILY" EAVESDROPPING PLAN
I guess Randy Johnson
isn't through quite yet!
(But he is getting near the end of the trail.)
Tough Crowd: Greg Giraldo
eats Denis Leary for lunch
Box Office results for
Cannes Film Festival Palme D'Or winners
- Interesting chart.
Only two of the winners have opened in more
than 800 theaters. (Although a third film,
Apocalypse Now, also became a hit, and a
fourth, The Pianist, eventually reached 800
screens and won some Oscars along with
The trailer from The
Great New Wonderful
- "A year after 9/11
in New York City, the unsettled lives of its
inhabitants are intertwined by a common hope
for the future."
Four clips from Babel, in
(This is the Iñárritu film that wowed 'em at
Weekend Box Office
Results, May 26-29
- The big news, of
course, is that X-Men Three broke the
Memorial Day weekend record by a country
mile. The previous record was $90 million
and X-Men grossed $120 million.
- Despite that
phenomenal performance, the box office was
only about even with last year (up 1%).
- DaVinci was the
biggest loser among the carry-overs,
dropping 56% from the previous weekend, but
that was within its predicted range.
Drought order leaves
British clowns high and dry.
- Britain's temporary
water regulations forbid non-essential use
of water - and the Water Lord is not kidding
around. Clowns who drench each other with
lapel flowers or seltzer bottles or buckets
had better find an alternate source of
- "The water board
has had a complete sense of humour failure,"
said Zippo the Clown.
"According to The
Associated Press, 12 movies in the first three
months of the year bypassed critics, compared
with two last year."
Al Gore's movie averaged
$66,500 per screen this weekend.
- It placed in the
Top 20 despite being on only four screens.
- For comparison, the
phenomenal X-Men 3 averaged only $28,000 per
Next week's movie
(it's the only new wide release, and will be
on 3000+ screens):
The Break-Up - NO
Vince Vaughn's hot streak is over. The general
consensus is that this comedy could not be any
worse if it starred Carrot Top, Mr. Bean, and
- Hollywood Reporter:
"Audiences expecting a good time will
instead be rewarded with wildly
unsympathetic lead characters and
uncomfortably long stretches without a laugh
- Variety: "...
painfully awkward and often not the least
- Levy: "crappy and
Bikini-clad Nicole Richie
is starving for calories
The Skeletor Show Episode
3 - Blind Date
Complete Cannes round-up
This is an exact
quote, I swear it!
"William Shatner believes
he can contribute to Middle East peace by
helping disabled children through horseback
Learn the musical
alphabet from "Abba" to "Zappa"
Why couldn't Pitt and
Jolie have the Chosen One in Hollywood? No
access to three wise men and a virgin.
Anything can happen
when the wind blows out at Wrigley ---
Cubs pitchers allow eight
homers, but fan eighteen! Despite all those
dingers, the Cubs take the game to extra
innings before losing 13-12.
Record numbers looking at
X-Entertainment: As Seen
On TV! Stuff people really bought.
theories about 'Lost'"
Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format.
Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.
Female Yakuza Tale: Inquisition and Torture (1973)
Yasagure anego den: sôkatsu rinchi, is a sequel to the Pinky Violence
genre classic Sex and Fury, again starring Reiko Ike, but this time directed
by Teruo Ishii. As you might remember, Ishii has an unusual style, mixing
comedy and dark violence as the mood strikes him, and throwing in
incongruities, such as modern dress in a period film, men in make-up and the
like. Much of his staging is rather Kabuki-like.
Ike arrives in town, and is immediately taken captive by hoods, stripped,
and subjected to a cavity search. When the baddies find nothing, they knock
her out again, and she wakes up with a knife in her hand, next to the latest
victim of the "crotch-mangling murderers." We soon learn that there is a
reason for the cavity search beyond audience entertainment. The local gang
is smuggling drugs inside women's vaginas. The women, mostly hooked on drugs
and hookers, are not especially thrilled, nor is the madame they work for.
All this sets up the finale, a massive confrontation in which with swords
and attitudes take on evil Yakuza bosses and their minions.
This film clearly had less budget than some of the best Pinky Violence
films, and Ishii was known not to like sequels so he often ignored the
formula which made the original work and followed his own voyeuristic
tendencies, thus including several scenes of people peeping. He also filled
the running time with his usual marginally relevant jokes about bodily
functions, like women peeing on a dying man, or a woman blowing her nose on
the face of a peeper. This is the weakest of the Panic House Pinky Violence
releases to date, but it's still more than worth the watch. The DVD is still
up to the usual Panic House standards, including an informative feature
length commentary, excellent optional subtitles, a great transfer, and the
same essay on Japanese shock cinema that is on all of their releases to
date. There is also a poster and stills gallery and production notes.
By our rating system, this is a C. It's a solid entry if you appreciate
the Pinky Violence genre of female nudity and violence, but it's not THE one
to see if you are just curious about the genre.
IMDb readers say 6.9, but based on only 77 votes.
'Caps and comments by The Gimp:
These are collages from a 1981 adult movie called Night Dreams. It stars
Dorothy LeMay, a couple of years after her uncredited performance in Bo Derek's
10. Dorothy boffs and blows her way through the cast.
And it has Michelle Bauer in it. Michelle, in her pre-surgical days, goes full
frontal but that is it.
Danielle Martin also shows up for a little girl-girl-girl action with Dorothy
and Jacqueline Lorians.
Some mega-serious triple-B, gyno-cam exposure from former Juggy Dancer,
Angel Veil ... who has begun to call herself
Rachel Sterling. Her real name is probably Lucy
- She was in Wedding Crashers.
- She appears in the May 2006 issue of Playboy.
- Brainscan send in 14 .avi clips from this disc. I figured if you were
interested in one you'd be interested in all of them, so I zipped them all
together into a
single gigantic zip file (92 meg!!).