Customer Reviews: 99 Women (Director's Cut)
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on April 20, 2005
This is a out right rip off!!!!! I deserve a $30 refund from Blue Undergrtound for out right lying to us! Please refer back to Jordan M. Oakes review it is true in everyword! You will not see any good hard porn from Maria Rohm or any of the well known actors in this flick, they added terrible scenes through out the movie where needed. Only thing he forgot to mention was that it is not even in widescreen and there is absolutely no speacial features, you can't even take the subtitles off. My only fault is I wish I had read his review before I paid for this RIP OFF!!!!! Shame to Blue Underground!
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on May 13, 2005
{NOTE: There are two versions of this movie for sale on Amazon, both have been linked together; I'm reviewing the unrated director's cut not the x-rated French film}

1969 unrated director's cut. The movie has numerous alternate titles, including: "Isle of Lost Women," "99 Donne," "99 mujeres," "Island of Despair," "Prostitutes in Prison," "The Hot Death"

DVD features: The DVD contains a copy of the unrated director's cut plus "extras." The extras include: an interview with the director ("It was a time when the whole world was enjoying a freedom from censorship." - well, I guess he censored himself then; interesting, after the fact some more "hot" scenes were added); deleted & alternate scenes (3; nudity (hard to see) in one scene); trailer (which appears to contain most of the nudity); poster & still galleries and some DVD-Rom feature that I couldn't access.

Credits: Mercedes McCambridge (Superintendent Thelma Diaz; Oscar nomination for "Giant," won for "All the King's Men"), Maria Schell (Superintendent Leonie Caroll; "The Odessa File"), red-head Luciana Paluzzi (Natalie Mendoza), Rosalba Neri (Zoie; "The Arena"), Maria Rohm (Marie), Eliza Montes (Helga), Valentina Godoy (Rosalie), and Herbert Lom (Governor Santos; "The Pope Must Die"). Written by Peter Welbeck. Directed by Jess Franco ("Incubus" (2002)). Filmed on an island in the Mediterranean.

Plot: The movie is about a female prison located on an island off the coast of Panama. The guards are "sadistic" (mostly occurs before the action or off-camera) and women are allowed to die (one shown). Also, forced lesbianism "abounds" (ok, once). Rumors float around saying that the new superintendent is a lesbian that is a little to close to the prisoners (spread by the ex-superintendent; their differences in discipline come into conflict). Attempting to escape these "horrible" conditions, three women flee (Marie (prisoner 99), Helga (prisoner 97), and Rosalie (short red-headed girl)). But one dies and the escaped prisoners are recaptured. The prison erupts after the women are returned (not necessarily for that reason).

Review: Interesting, the unrated director's cut of a movie that was originally released as an X rated film with an original run time of 70 minutes (odd, both of my movie guides state that the film is around 90 minutes long and rated R (one believes it is a turkey)). If I'm reading the DVD correctly, the unrated version adds about 20 minutes of footage (but if my movie guides are correct, then no additional minutes are added). One of the movie extras includes a news article about the film that notes that it is X rated and 70 minutes long, so I'm not sure what the real film length and rating was.

Good opening music. A relatively slow movie, takes a while to get going (especially since they cut out the normal "strip-search inspection" of the new prisoners). The prisoners wear the normal skimpy uniforms and girl fights occur, but the first nudity does not occur until around 23 minutes into the film. The director is an "artiste," and most of the "nude" sequences are artistically out of focus, or otherwise barely visible or very short (a shame considering some of the women are attractive). The director also keeps annoyingly moving from out of focus to very close up shots in these types of scenes. A very disappointing movie, I should have paid attention to the critics (though they had seen the original film, not the "director's cut"). As a "mainstream" movie it is disappointing, and as a "nudie pic" it is very disappointing. Some of the actors, though, do seem to be able to act (though the new superintendent smiles too much, and prisoner 99 cries too much).

A very slow movie with surprisingly few nude scenes, and a lot less violence and sadistic guard action. Going by the interview with the director, it would appear that the "unrated" version that I watched was actually one of the "softer" versions of the film (oh, and don't skip that interview, some of the missing "harder" scenes are included). The harder scenes were made by others and inserted into the film later (there are many versions of this film; and apparently one of the versions was at the top of the US box office at one point). (2.00)
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on April 24, 2005
This is the French X-rated version of 99 women, directed by Jess Franco. The running time of this feature is 98 minutes, which means that this is probably the longest, least censored version of the film that is available. The story involves a women`s island prison, a sadistic female warden, a lustful male governor, and the young, lovely female inmates. Can you see where this is heading ? There ARE scenes of extreme sexuality (especially when you consider the film was released in 1969) which include (...). My big problem with this movie is that the hardcore scenes are haphazardly edited into the film. In a few cases, they don`t even seem to be part of the scenes that you have been watching. Also frustrating is the fact that some of the actors taking part in the sex scenes look nothing like the actors that they are doubling (standing-in)for. Just because a woman is wearing a blonde wig does not mean she is going to look like the lead actress that she is portraying. I guess that this movie was pushing the boundaries in 1969, but looking at the dumb story, lousy editing, and sex scenes from a 2005 perspective.....this is just a dated curio.
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on July 11, 2006
I'm not sure which versions other reviewers are seeing, but mine from Blue Underground is "Unrated". I guess this is because they really didn't want people to know it should have been rated PG-13. If women in panties and fuzzy breast shots are your thing, then get this movie. Half the fun of campy women in prison movies is naked women. The other half is following along with a silly plot. This movie was boring on both accounts.
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on February 4, 2015
Terrible waste of time. This version has no nudity, no good looking women, and is so badly censored it has no distinguishable plot or reason to exist. I would suggest only buying an uncensored version which this seems not.
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HALL OF FAMEon May 25, 2007
The mere mention of the name Jesus "Jess" Franco in the presence of movie fans will elicit several reactions. Some filmgoers will shrug their shoulders as if to say, "Who's he?" These people likely spend a lot of time watching big budget, multiplex friendly cinema. Other folks will smile. These film fans recognize this director's name in the context of "Vampyros Lesbos" and "The Marquis De Sade's Justine," two Franco movies that actually contain a hint of style. Then there are the poor wretches who'll hear his name and visibly pale, groan as though they've eaten food that's given them salmonella poisoning, and slink quietly away into a corner for a few hours of serious sulking. I fall somewhere in between the last two categories. I liked "Vampyros Lesbos" and "Justine," but I've also seen enough Franco films to understand the utter banality of a large segment of his filmography. "99 Women" is one of the director's contributions to a sleaze genre that could only exist in the 1970s and early 1980s, WIP (Women in Prison). Tons of these films exist, and most of them have come to DVD. Let's explore Jess's offering, shall we? Sure, we've nothing better to do!

O.k. "99 Women". Here we go. The film stars the luscious Maria Rohm as Marie, an unfortunate wretch sentenced to a term at a prison located on an island called, appropriately enough for the genre, Castillo de la Muerte. The Island of Death! With a name like that, any prisoner heading to the prison has to wonder what their future holds. Sort of makes Alcatraz look like a Club Med. Anyway, Marie heads to the island for some fun and sun with the other ninety-eight gals currently serving their sentences. We know there are ninety-eight other women in the jail because Marie receives an inmate number of ninety-nine upon her arrival. Get it? The Island of Death has ninety-nine prisoners, and the movie's called "99 Women"! You simply must admire the internal logic on display here. Considering Franco isn't known for logical filmmaking, we must take what we can get whenever possible and move on. So Marie arrives in a sad state of affairs. She quickly realizes her new digs lack that special something found in the rest of civilization. It's a dump, in other words, and one run by a sadistic warden named Thelma Diaz (Mercedes McCambridge). Anyone care to bet Thelma and Marie won't get along?

Sure enough, Thelma and Marie soon lock horns. The trouble occurs when our heroine, while lounging about in her cell, hears the pitiful cries of a fellow inmate a couple of doors over. Oh, the humanity! When Marie attempts to notify the authorities about this terrible injustice, Thelma orders her thrown into a special detention cell. It's here that our gal meets up with Zoe (Rosalba Neri), the prison's resident Gertrude Stein (if you know what I mean) except far better looking. Hijinks of a decidedly fleshy nature ensue. It's somewhere around this time that we notice an important event, i.e. Franco's film actually has a plot. Thelma Diaz supplies the island's governor, Santos (Herbert Lom), with nubile women from the prison in exchange for favors. It doesn't seem to work, however, as a reformer from the mainland called Leonie (Maria Schell) arrives to inspect the facilities. She's heard horror stories about the shenanigans going on at the prison, and wants to make sure the inmates have an easier time on the island. Or something like that. Who cares, really? Expect a lot of sass, some cheesy fights, and an escape attempt that finds our heroine struggling to return to the world.

Also expect a lot of soft-core scenarios involving lots of lovely ladies. Rosalba Neri. Maria Rohm. A bunch of other 1970s exploitation babes. Rosalba Neri. Did I mention Rosalba Neri? Twice? Really? I wonder why that happened? These are the women of dreams, my friends, and Franco makes sure to throw in plenty of action to keep the male members of the audience fully entertained. As an added bonus the X-rated version of the movie tosses in a bunch of hardcore inserts. These sequences do absolutely nothing to move the plot along, nor do they involve the principal actresses. Yet somehow I didn't mind their presence in the picture even though they look like someone inserted them in the film with a sledgehammer. Another thing you might notice about "99 Women" is Franco's effort to inject a little class into the proceedings. Sure, we get his usual zoom and soft focus tricks, but we also see some stylistic touches sorely lacking in most WIP movies. For example, Rosalba Neri's striptease scene looks pretty darn good. Franco pulls this sequence off quite admirably. Now the negatives: a lame script, an unoriginal plot, and cheap production values all hurt the movie.

Apparently a couple of versions of "99 Women" are floating around in DVD land. I watched the X-rated version, which has the insert shots but lacks extras. According to a few reports I've read, another version (an unrated director's cut, I think) contains a lengthy interview with Franco, deleted scenes, trailers, and alternate footage. What a pity. What the distribution company should have done is release both versions of the film on one disc. Put the director's cut on side one, the X-rated cut on side two. Then sprinkle the extras on both sides of the disc. Is that so hard to do? I somewhat enjoyed the film, enough to give it three stars, but there's no way in heck I would shell out the bucks to buy both versions. I'm not that big of a Jess Franco fanatic. I only watch his movies because I feel I must in order to see as many exploitation films as possible. I recommend renting both versions, giving them a watch, and then deciding which one you wish to purchase. Good luck!
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on January 6, 2016
Loved the film but could not play any of the extras ( which amounts to about an hour) that are on the DVD. I have three DVD machines and none of them would play the click ons.The disk must have been pressed wrong and is defective. I have just contacted Amazon for a replacement. Wish me luck.
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on December 10, 2014
Much like what some have said, this is the same as the unrated one, but with non matching, hardcore, scenes thrown in, I have both, so I know. Passable story, the women are ok, but unless one wants the explicit stuff, didn't really matter to me, seemed different at the time, get the Unrated, if you're interested, it's about the same difference, so to speak, i.e., doesn't really make much difference.
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99 WOMEN (aka: ISLAND OF DESPAIR) is a Women-In-Prison film from Director Jess Franco. It stars Herbert Lom as the eeevil Governor Santos, and Mercedes McCambridge as the sadistic Superintendent, Thelma. As expected, all of the female inmates are stunningly beautiful. Aside from sitting around looking lovely, there are the obligatory catfights and various sexual encounters. However, the order of the day for these girls is extreme punishment, and plenty of it! This results in many deaths (sorry torture fans, the deaths are implied). They also spend their days filling baskets w/ salt (?). Amazingly, this seems to have no ill effects on the women's complexions or fingernails! Governor Santos is perfectly revolting, and Thelma is a quintessential fascist. All is well for their little operation, until a reform-minded do-gooder arrives, putting their lecherous activities in jeopardy. Can Santos and Thelma find a way to get rid of her? If not, they'll lose everything they've worked so hard to build. Oh no! Three of the prisoners have escaped! They're running loose through the jungle! Here come the dogs! Run Women! Run! Thelma won't like this one bit! As WIP movies go, 99 WOMEN is OK. It has a cohesive storyline, and far less violence than many of these films, at least until the finale. It's only in the last 5 minutes that any real torture (as in PG-rated whippings) is administered. This leads to the inevitable uprising / riot. The revolt lasts almost half a second! THE END. Though watchable, I doubt I'll be watching it again anytime soon...
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on August 31, 2006
This DVD is dated, and lacks the eroticism and/or nudity you would expect in a women prison movie. I bought the "Unrated" version, but I wonder what that rating was based on. I have bought several "R" rated movies in the women prison genre that were rather hot, but compared to this 1969 rubbish they were volcanic. I was sincerely disapointed, and wished I had read some of the reviews prior to purchasing this dreadful movie.
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