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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Attack of the Robots")

 

Directed by Jesús Franco (as J. Franco)
France / Spain 1966

 

At once an homage to classical Hollywood thrillers and a playful riff on the newly-popular James Bond films, Attack of the Robots (Cartes sur table) stars Eddie Constantine as a wise-cracking superspy investigating a series of assassinations being performed by ruthless killers with bronze skin and horn-rimmed glasses. The trail of these mindless automata leads him to the lair of a seductive villainess (Françoise Brion, L’Immortelle) who has formulated a computer-powered plot to overthrow the governments of Europe. Constantine, who was popular in France for his two-fisted Lemmy Caution films (including Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville), had begun to tire of playing the hardboiled detective, and welcomed the opportunity to take a more light-hearted approach to the genre film. Reflecting director Jess Franco’s passion for jazz (he appears in two scenes as a nightclub pianist), Attack of the Robots has a spontaneity and playfulness that make it one of his most entertaining films, even as it embraces themes of sadomasochism and mind control that were so integral to his work.

***

This entertaining spy comedy marks the first appearance of suave secret agent Al Pereira, portrayed here by actor-singer Eddie Constantine, best known as the similar Lemmy Caution in Alphaville and other films. Cult director Jesus Franco's final black-and-white film has Pereira on the trail of robotic hitmen murdering a series of important people. The agent romances a go-go dancer (Sophie Hardy) and breaks a Chinese espionage syndicate headed by the wily Lee Wee (Vicente Roca) before being kidnapped. The real culprits are Sir Percy (Fernando Rey) and his lover Lady Cecilia (Francoise Brion), who plan to turn their Rh-negative victims, including Pereira, into robot assassins. This clever, fast-paced adventure was revamped by acclaimed screenwriter Jean-Claude Carriere, whose witty dialogue enhances the film greatly. The Al Pereira character returned in Franco's Les Ebranlees (1972) and numerous other films.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

Posters

Theatrical Release: April 27th, 1966

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Review: Kino (Redemption) - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Bonus Captures:

Distribution Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:32:46.208        
Video

1.66:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 20,150,789,585 bytes

Feature: 19,393,977,792 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.06 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

LPCM Audio French 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
DUB:

LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Kino

 

1.66:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 20,150,789,585 bytes

Feature: 19,393,977,792 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.06 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Audio commentary by Tim Lucas, co-author of Obsession: The Films of Jess Franco,
Original theatrical trailer (3:23)


Blu-ray Release Date:
July 16th, 2019
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 9

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Kino Blu-ray (July 2019): Kino's sub-label Redemption have transferred Jess Franco's Attack of the Robots (Cartes sur table) to Blu-ray. While only on a single-layered disc with a middling bitrate - the image quality is surprisingly pleasing. Black levels are deep and rich and contrast impressive. This is in the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio. The presentation, that starts with a Gaumont logo, is very clean with almost no speckles and detail and grain and duly supported. It looked strong on my system, in-motion. 

NOTE: We have added 50 more large resolution Criterion Blu-ray captures for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE.

On their Blu-ray, Redemption offer linear PCM 2.0 channel mono tracks in both the original French (at 16-bit) and the English DUB (24-bit). The DUB is imperfect with some minor hiss now and again but it has a delightfully light score credited to Paul Misraki (Le Doulos, Atoll K, Bunuel's Death in the Garden, Godard's Alphaville, Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Doulos, Orson Welles's Mr. Arkadin) where the, repeated, main theme consistently reminded me of "On A Clear Day...". He uses a lounge-y sound at times - but it all suits the 'fun' and 'adventure' sides of the film. Redemption offer optional English subtitles on their Region 'A' Blu-ray.

Kino add another wonderful audio commentary by Tim Lucas (co-author of Obsession: The Films of Jess Franco) who discusses how certain scenes evoke James Bond, Godard, Dr. Goldfoot and even The Third Man among other references with cast links to Leone westerns and much more about Eddie Constantine. He describes that this was Franco's last feature film to be shot in black and white (and why it was shot in B+W - a camera trick for a robot skin-color-shift effect). It's at his usual impressive standard and he definitely helps appreciation of Attack of the Robots (Cartes sur table) noting many of Franco's subtle touches as well as observantly noting a scene that shows the name of one of the Producers, Serge Silberman, (as a missing character in a computer printout used in the film):

and another scene that identifies writer/director Franco, in a cameo, on the keyboard:

There is also a lengthy original theatrical trailer.

To be honest, I feel like most of the Jess Franco films I have seen have not been to my taste - frequently appearing to me with sophomoric production values. But Attack of the Robots (Cartes sur table) was great actually reminding me of the OSS117 series. This looks great and is a heap of fun. The Lucas commentary gives it further value. It's a film I am very happy to revisit on Blu-ray in the future. A not-so-subtle recommendation! 

Gary Tooze

 


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Distribution Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 


 

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