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Joy House (Les Felins)

4.3 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Aug 05, 2008)
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(Aug 21, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

"The French James Dean" Alain Delon (Fabio Montale, ) stars as Marc, a small-time con man on the run from a mobster. After seeking refuge in the mansion of the widowed Barbara (Lola Albright) and her curvaceous cousin, Melinda (Jane Fonda), Marc becomes trapped in the passionate snares of both women, who are full of deadly surprises.

Also Includes Added Bonus: French language version of Joy House ("Les Félins) with optional English subtitles

Besides showcasing Barbarella-era Jane Fonda in one of her sexiest roles, Réné Clément’s thriller Joy House offers enough psychological suspense to count as horror. In it, Marc (Alain Délon of Purple Noon) agrees to indentured servitude to two women, Melinda (Jane Fonda) and her Aunt Barbara (Lola Albright) who hide him from police following a crime he has committed. Though the ladies appear from the outset to have renounced corruption for a life of monastic charity, their catfights over Marc result in his being trapped inside their castle, glamorously located in the French Riviera. The harder he tries to escape, the more he realizes he is trapped in the web woven by these two spider-like villainesses. Joy House’s suspense is wrapped in elegance. The stars, its settings, and the film’s score by Lalo Schifrin lifts it out of the B-movie, Hammer-film haunted house tale category. Like so many classic horror movies, most of the action takes place in a grand chateau, allowing Joy House to revel in its sense of claustrophobia. This recalls Mario Bava films, such as Black Sabbath and Hatchet for the Honeymoon, though the sexual tension implicit to Joy House is more akin to Jean Rollin’s movies, which focus as much on physical attraction as impending death. It also recalls Mommie Dearest or All About Eve, in which an elderly female competes with the younger for attention. Mirrored closet doors and reflective furniture throughout the mansion, as well as car rear-views, emphasize deception thematically in an especially Giallo way. However, there is zero gore here, and this film shies away from direct violence in favor of the implied, which is more in line with its sexually deviant undertow. --Trinie Dalton

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Jane Fonda, Alain Delon, Lola Albright
  • Directors: René Clément
  • Format: Black & White, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Koch Lorber Films
  • DVD Release Date: August 5, 2008
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00199PPB0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,679 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Joy House (Les Felins)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This wonderful little gem of a movie is terribly underrated. Talented director Rene Clement (Purple Noon, Forbidden Games, ETC.) is in top form with this suspensful crime drama that takes an unexpected twist and Alain Delon has never looked better (except in Purple Noon... maybe). Fans of Purple Noon and 1960s French crime cinema should really enjoy it!
All the actors give terrific involved performances and the energy between a young Jane Fonda (Barbarella era) and Alain Delon is electric!!
Also of note - Lalo Schifrin produced an amazing score for this film that will stick with you long after it's over.
The DVD quality is terrific and the film looks very sharp, which highlights Henri Decae's amazing cinematography. Well worth purchasing if you can't find the DVD for rent!
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Format: VHS Tape
"Joy House", aka "Les Felins", is a surprisingly good suspenser, with more than enough twists and turns to keep you intrigued until the clever ending. Unfortunately, the film has been transfered to video with less than loving care. A scratchy, brittle-looking print has been letter-boxed slightly, then squeezed to further accomodate a standard-size TV screen. (They don't tell you that on the video box.) The results are wierdly off-putting and less than inviting. Perhaps the DVD of this title is an improvement over the video release. If not, some smart film preservationist would do well to see that a cleaner, crisper print is available for any future transfer. (In the correct aspect ratio, please!) I have a sneaking suspicion that "Joy House" may be an even better film than one would gather from its current video release. It's got an extremely attractive cast, beautiful settings, and top-notch craftsmen working behind the camera. Thankfully, the film never seems to take itself too seriously, moves at a good clip, and has an ending that's tension-packed and appropriately ironic. The only major drawback of the production might be its lack of color photography, otherwise it's almost comparable to Clement and Delon's earlier suspenser, "Purple Noon"... but not quite. Overall, "Joy House" is quite a good film, very entertaining, and, on the whole, worth purchasing, especially if you're a fan of Delon, Fonda, or the lesser-known Albright... just so long as you don't mind a video transfer that leaves a lot to be desired.(Good News! I've had a chance to compare the DVD with the VHS, and I'm happy to report that the DVD is pretty terrific, sound and picture wise. Everything you'd expect when you plunk your money down for a movie at home. A big, big improvement over the VHS version.Read more ›
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I remember seeing Joy House (Les Felins) when I was about fifteen and thinking it was a long and boring affair. Well time changes things and with luck a little sophistication comes with age.

Upon revisiting the film I found it a fun French-New Wave-Gothic-Noir romp along the Riviera at the height of the jet set age. The film is a mystery and my review will leave the plot just that for you (I hate so called reviews that are just a synopsis of a film and nothing else). I will say this much, Joy House is labyrinthine and delicious an well worth a visit down its rabbit hole.

The cinematography in cinemascope black and white is crisp, sharp and glamorous. It shows off the lovely landscapes of the South of France at the same time, the twisted psyches of the three main characters.

Jane Fonda here in her French ingénue period is luscious and interesting. She gives one glimpses of where she is going in the near future as an actress. It is fun to watch her bubble and squeak as the freaky sex kitten Melinda. Alan Delon steams up the scene and the screen as Marc a hustler who gets more than he bargained for. Delon is just so much fun to watch. One of a few French actors of the 60's who translated to American audiences and made a splash in English language films. (This film was shot in English and can be watched in dubbed French as well). Here he is playing a variation on his role in Purple Noon, but that is not a bad thing since his Ripley was so much fun. Then there is Lola Albright as Barbara, a woman with more than just a little secret upstairs in the attic. Here is an actress who has been forgotten for the most part and I myself cannot recall any of her films. But her performance in this glittering soufflé is the nutty center of the film that fascinates.
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Format: DVD
Finally, a proper transfer of this 1964 early Jane Fonda classic from noted French director Rene Clement. Koch Lorber has done a fantastic job of issuing this - it's in the proper aspect ratio, with what appears to be a new transfer, and they've provided the English language version as well as the French language version released in the country of origin (with optional English subtitles for that version!). Bravo!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This release is something of a mess. The most glaring problem is the total absence of subtitles. French is the spoken language for about 90% of the film, yet no subtitles in any language are available. The menu is basically non-existent. The only buttom is for "film". There are no chapter points available, certainly no extras.

All voices appear to be dubbed (badly), even for obviously French-speaking actors, including Delon.

The print is passable, but not much better than what you would see on a VHS copy.

It is difficult for me to comment on the film since my skill in understanding French is limited. It appears to be a noir-ish thriller with few jolts. Fans of Delon will enjoy seeing him at his athletic best in some exciting chase scenes, but please do wait for a DVD release properly presented. My copy of "Les Felins" arrived yesterday. It's being returned to Amazon today!
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