Thursday, 4 June 2015

The Devil Came from Akasava (1971, Jess Franco)

AKA: 'Soledad Miranda and the Philosopher's Stone'.

Jess Franco rides again, marshalling his "Count Dracula" stars Frederick Williams and the always alluring Soledad Miranda in this tepid espionage thriller, allegedly based on an Edgar Wallace story.

Williams here features as a b-grade Eurotrash James Bond, sent to the tropical state of Akasava on a mission to investigate the mysterious death of a professor. He is, thankfully for the viewer, teamed with Miranda's Scotland Yard investigator, and the pair are enmeshed in a confused plot revolving around the Philosopher's Stone: the legendary element that can transmute base metals to gold. This is here represented as a carry case whose contents glow eerily gold whenever opened (shades of "Pulp Fiction"?), and releases radiation inimical to human health.

Thankfully, Miranda's character Jane goes undercover as an exotic dancer in a nightclub, so we have a welcome distraction from the alleged plot. Sadly, however, the smoulderingly gorgeous Soledad is hampered here by some distressingly listless choreography which renders what should have been some of the most intensely erotic scenes captured on celluloid to what looks like a bored woman shifting restlessly around on a stage. For this unforgivable waste of opportunity, if nothing else, Franco should have been slapped.

In all, a decent if slow-moving timewasting potboiler with a few wasted opportunities. Worth watching not only for the stunning Soledad Miranda, but also Franco regular Howard Vernon as a hit-man/butler. The scene of him leaping out of a window clutching the McGuffin briefcase, and teleporting from the garden via the magic of bad editing to a field with a waiting helicopter, ensured me that amid the Bondian hokum i was still in Francoland after all.


  1. She has a Fine Arse. Would keep me watching!

  2. Sadly, there is no 'like' option for comments. But yes. Also: fun. But mostly Soledad Miranda.

  3. So... does the Devil appear in this film or not?

  4. There is no special guest appearance by The Great Destroyer, no. I think the title is allegorical, or summink.

  5. The title is a massive tease designed to pull in the punters, more like.