A Spanish shot mid-1980s Jewel Shepard softcore epic written and produced by Harry Alan Towers, CHRISTINA Y LA RECONVERSION SEXUAL (original title) remains slick cable TV fare directed, in the absence of Jess Franco, by Francisco Lara Polop (MURDER MANSION). With European Trash Cinema icon Karin Schubert as the imposing leader of lesbian commando kidnappers who call themselves the 10th of November! Fun sub Emmanuelle fare with lots of 80s Big Hair and a loud disco score. BLACK EMANUELLLE and EMANUELLE IN AMERICA in HD next, please? In the meantime, CHRISTINA is the kind of

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1980s softcore item which illustrates a lode of cultural icons and trivia of its era. Based on a successful series of adult EMANUELLE type novels, CHRISTINA was the first of what was to be a series of film adaptations. It turned out to be the last, but not for trying hard by Executive Producer Towers. One of several Towers projects produced for the PLAYBOY cable channel and eventually shown on other premium channels, where I managed to catch part of it on CINEMAX as it played in the background on a television during a party I was attending at a friend's apartment. It was the mid 1980s and I was in a less than sober state of mind so I immediately assumed it was a possible Jess Franco product, having just started to examine his more obscure 1980sproductions after getting my first VCR. But I got distracted and forgot about the film until.... well, this release. 

CHRISTINA is best described by a quick steal from the IMDB: "The world's most notorious heiress and bachelorette is kidnapped from the Italian countryside. Will she survive the ordeal?"  The IMDB can always be relied on for concise synopses and this one is pretty much the whole deal of Tower's screenplay, credited to his Peter Welbeck beard. She's actually twice kidnapped, as the initial criminal group, a lesbian commando operation run by a black-clad Karin Schubert, who has ever bigger hair than Ms Shepard (hell, all the women in this have huge coiffures which must have demanded truckloads of hairspray), is pretty inept, favoring lesbian cat-fights in which the winner gets Christina. The rest of the groups are clad in leopard skin fashions, remember this was the 1980s. All this catty play allows our heroine to get serial kidnapped by a group of Mediterranean pirates lead by an  upscale  super-criminal/gourmet chef, played by Jess Franco regular Emilio Linder (GOLDEN TEMPLE AMAZONS, LILIAN...), who then allow her to escape with a handsome young Spanish lounge singer! 

Opening with pan up from the discotheque floor to Ms. Shepard as she dances the night away, the pumped  bad-disco music which actually adds to entertainment value and period ambiance. It just never stops playing no matter what adventure our heroine is going through. The closing scene has her dancing, this time totally nude, to another disco beat in a safe haven with her race car driver Spanish boyfriend, (Ian Sera, who is as goofy looking here as he was as the dumb-as-dirt hero of PIECES). The final credits have Ms. Shepard again baring all as she lounges in a white silk environment, typing out the screenplay for her next adventure. Wishful thinking, Harry! 

An enjoyably nonsensical, slightly upscale grade B Euro-softcore, the main virtue here is that the action, both sexual and otherwise, never stops moving forward. Lacking any kind of credibility as the wealthy publishing magnate Christina Von Belle, Ms. Shepard is at least able to appear to be relaxed and enjoying herself as she is bound, assaulted and has toy cars, tanks and tractor trailers driven over her body by black gloved hands in smokey fantasy sequences. Acting wise she's obviously no Sylvia Kristel or Laura Gemser. The next year she would go on to her best remembered role as the punk girl who falls victim to a zombie Holocaust in Dan O'Bannon's RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (1985). More B minus stuff would follow along with a career as the writer of INVASION OF THE B GIRLS  and an autobiography. 

I have to admit that the wildly inconsistent direction, slick soft-focus shots of our heroine riding horses and  tooling around in high speed launches interspersed with car chases, cat fights, shoot outs, motorcycle pursuits, karate battles, more boat chases, all staged with maximum ineptitude, actually adds to the entertainment level here, as does the nonstop disco soundscape. Speaking of soft-focus, this softcore epic was shot by the great Spanish DP Alejandro Ulloa, responsible for the striking luninosity of such films as Sergio Corbucci's COMPANEROS (1970), Lucio Fulci's THE DEVIL'S HONEY and Paul Naschy's NIGHT OF THE WEREWOLF (1980). He goes out of his way here to give the ridiculous proceedings an elegance by placing statues, leaves, objects in the foreground of his heavily diffused compositions. This 1080p Full HD Resolution transfer, English Audio 2.0, is probably the best this film is ever going to look, with a consistently attractive, colorful image and clear audio track, as opposed to its cable screenings and previous PRIVATE SCREENINGS DVD. 

As a collector's item for fans of rare 1980s softcore, European Trash Cinema erotica, Euro Emmanuelle ripoffs and Le Bad Cinema, this certainly fills the bill. This release by Severin Films sub label INTERVISION has no bonus features. 

(C) Robert Monell, 2016
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Edited 4 times by bobmonel Jun 1 16 2:07 PM.