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Friday, July 19, 2024

Sinner: The Secret Diary of a Nymphomaniac (Blu-ray Review)


The Film
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Cult erotic filmmaker Jess Franco (The Diabolical Dr. Z, The Blood of Fu Manchu, Venus in Furs, Count Dracula, Lorna… the Exorcist) directed Sinner: The Secret Diary of a Nymphomaniac, a sexploitation take on Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil, if not thematically, in technical allusions, such as the uncut long take following lead actress Montserrat Prous down the boardwalk.

Once innocent Linda (Montserrat Prous) kills herself in the arms of her lover (Manuel Pereiro) and his wife, the beautiful Rosa (Jacqueline Laurent), launches her own investigation into Rosa’s life to clear her husband’s name. It leads her to Linda’s acquaintance, Countess Anna de Monterey (Anne Libert) who weaves a tale about Linda involving the fall of an innocent young woman beginning with her rape on a carnival ride, her devolution into the world of sex work, smoky nightclubs, and lesbian affairs. As she hears the stories of Linda’s devolution into debauchery, Rosa finds herself slipping into the same world of hypersexuality and attraction to her storyteller.

Franco starts the film off immediately with a lesbian sex show set in a nightclub against a psychedelic rock soundtrack that ends with a blast of applause. His telling of Linda’s story follows a surreal arc that skips around from varying points of view, from the present to the past and makes the viewer unsure and somewhat uneasy about what is going on. This is Franco in the middle of his strongest creative period. He is often lumped in with directors like Jean Rollin, for example, but Franco was a far clumsier filmmaker and less adventurous than Rollin who had more of a knack at finding and filming gorgeous surroundings and squeezing every ounce out of his thin budgets. Franco was the king of recycling stories and reusing footage already used, and making sure the bodies were beautiful and naked. Sinner is one of the films along with his Count Dracula, that comes closest to showing his true potential as a disciple of Orson Welles.

  • Montserrat Prous in Sinner (1973)
  • Montserrat Prous in Sinner (1973)
  • Anne Libert in Sinner (1973)
  • Anne Libert in Sinner (1973)
  • Montserrat Prous in Sinner (1973)
  • Montserrat Prous in Sinner (1973)
  • Sinner (1973)
  • Sinner (Kino Cult)
  • Sinner (Kino Cult)

The Video

Sinner hits Blu-ray from the Kino Cult imprint in a 1.66:1 AVC 1080p encodement. There is no indication from Kino that is new restoration but the transfer looks fairly good for such a low budget cult sexploitation film. There are light scratches in the source that can be seen throughout the transfer and granularity is coarse and somewhat inconsistent, but it looks natural and satisfying without any issues related to noise.

The Audio

The mono audio mixes are included in French and English in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. They sound a bit boxy and dull but still provide clear dialogue and sufficient range with little noise.

The Supplements

The only new bonus is the audio commentary by Tim Lucas, which makes watching this film exponentially more enjoyable even if you have never watched it before. Lucas knows what he is talking about and elevates Franco’s work.

  • Audio Commentary by Tim Lucas (NEW)
  • Interview with Jacqueline Laurent – Life under the Camera, recorded in Canada in 2018 (1080i; 00:23:03)
  • Interview with Anne Libert – Cinema is a Mystery, a Conversation with Anne Libert (1080p; 00:20:52)
  • Interview with Gérard Kikoïne – Kiko’s Nympho Diary, a Conversation with Gérard Kikoïne about Sinner and Robert De Nesle (1080i; 00:20:04)
  • Interview with Stephen Thrower (1080p; 00:27:36)

The Final Assessment

For fans of classic 1970s Euro-sexploitation, this film will surely fit the bill. It is Jess Franco operating at full steam, the story is a little more judgmental than usual for Franco but still delivers on its softcore erotica and visual aesthetics.  

Sinner: The Secret Diary of a Nymphomaniac is out on Blu-ray December 19, 2023, from Kino Cult

  • Rating Certificate: R
  • Studios & Distributors: Comptoir Français du Film Production (CFFP) | OFFP | Kino Cult
  • Director: Jess Franco
  • Written By: Jess Franco | Elisabeth Ledu de Nesle
  • Run Time: 86 Mins.
  • Street Date: 19 December 2023
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: French DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono
  • Secondary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono
  • Subtitles: English

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Estimated reading time: 6 minutes Cult erotic filmmaker Jess Franco (The Diabolical Dr. Z, The Blood of Fu Manchu, Venus in Furs, Count Dracula, Lorna… the Exorcist) directed Sinner: The Secret Diary of a Nymphomaniac, a sexploitation take on Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil,...Sinner: The Secret Diary of a Nymphomaniac (Blu-ray Review)