Young Carmilla is jealous of her friend’s engagement, and her obsession leads her to the tomb of a female vampire. The vampire possesses her and leads her to kill and terrorize the inhabitants of the estate. But is it all in her mind, or is she really under the control of an ancient vampire ancestor?
Director: Roger Vadim. AKA Blood and Roses
Stars: Mel Ferrer, Elsa Martinelli, Annette Vadim, René-Jean Chauffard, Marc Allégret, Alberto Bonucci, Serge Marquand, Gabriella Farinon, Renato Speziali, Edith Peters, Giovanni Di Benedetto, Carmilla Stroyberg, Marc Allégret.
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Note: This copy is from the German DVD (Reg. 2) and includes the complete nightmare scene (actually it doesn’t unfortunately, read the comments below).
Always wanted to see this version. Cheers Jon!!
Thank you for this fantastic blog full of treasures.
Unfortunately, I have to say that this version is not the one (Vadim’s director cut ?) we had in France when the film was released. The dream sequence had a very long shot of Elsa Martinelli on a flying piano, flying over the Italian countryside. A rather unforgettable scene missing from all the prints available today, prints coming from Paramount archives.
Thank you for the comment, I didn’t know that, I believe there is a nightmare scene on this version, which comes from the German DVD, is it not complete? Would like to know more about it.
Sadly the German DVD is disappointing. The dream sequence is truncated, missing most of the shot of Carmilla in her bomb-torn dress bleeding from the throat and the close shot of Carmilla naked on the operating table. Also missing due to print damage no less is the sequence in which Rugierri is distraught over his fireworks mishap. All the close shots of the fading roses are clumsily eliminated (splice lines very evident) and, there are different music cues in the US version, example at dinner when Montiverdi’s dialogue upsets Carmilla and she breaks the glass and the intimate moment before Georgia and Leopoldo find Carmilla in bed after the party.
Much has been written about the dream sequence with some online reviewers lazily pilaging Phil Hardy for their criticisms. Example, the plagiarism of Coctau (I would have said homsge), and the contention that the operating table sits out of context with the narrative. I contend. And Die of Plessure is for me at least a deeply feminist tale and the operating room sits perfectly in line with female sexuality viewd as monstrou pathology. The vivid red is indicative of all female life/sex experience, even given more weight in the shot where Georgia looks through the aquaduct upon Leopoldo’s ‘rescue’ of Carmilla from the housefire, the foreground being littered with broken bicycles. What more potent symbolism for the Pankhurst/Dixon/Luxembourg women’s liberation movement could speak better in dream language of women being repressed? There are manequins among the women (women as objects), one of which is half naked and posed exactly like the shot when Carmilla tears her dress before the mirror. In the Continental version there is a shot in reflection of Carmilla’ blood-stained dress. There is also the possibility in this that Leopoldo’s rescue is ‘penetrative’ and given the incestuous nature Carmilla’s attraction and his responses, I totally believe Geogia’s fears manifesting as they do.
There is also a complex duality at play, with blond Carmilla given to shadows and brunette Georgia eallowing in sunshine. While Carmilla is condescended and citiscised, Georgia is hardly vilified for her uncomplimentary references to other women. I could go further here, and comment on the well-worn lesbian themes, but even the chaste kiss is less about lesbianism and more about Carmilla wanting to ‘experience’ Georgia, Leopoldo’s fiancee and therefore the woman who will share his nuptial bed.
Thankfully all the terrible voice-over exposition is not present, for it dumbs down the ambiguity, blunt and sexist, as it affirms the plight of women in that they should have no power over their bodies, sexuality or fate.
Look for Vadim on the Caravel.
Yes, Jon — unfortunately true. This most recent incarnation runs exactly 9 minutes shorter than the still elusive, original French release. Vadim was always a great stylist, if not particularly philosophically profound, and that has probably been seen as his work not worthy of serious respect. It’s a shame as his is a unique eye and ‘take’. Dryer mined the same source for a poetic and genuinely scary abstraction in VAMPYR. And of course, Hammer Studios revisits the eroto-thriller elements in its faithful adaptation of LeFanu’s original in THE VAMPIRE LOVERS. Correct me if I’m wrong but, I remember CARMILLA as a BBC period miniseries in the early 21st century as well?
Thank you – this was much, much better than I dared hope. Your site is tremendous fun.
Has anyone tried the new (Feb. 2022) Sinister Film release of the film on DVD from Italy? It claims to be a HD restoration and running 86 minutes. The same company put out the 79 minute cut in 2014, although the back cover stated erroneously it was 87 minutes.
I really doubt anyone will buy that one considering it’s most likely the same cut that was released before, hopefully a proper uncut release surfaces soon.
Thank you for this. I am listening to the audio reading of Carmilla, and I have been looking for an English subtitles…. I am downloading it and hoping to share on Archives.org. they only have a german dubbed version, and a spanish subtitled french version.