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Just Jaeckin
Dayle Haddon, Gérard Ismaël, Fernando Rey
Writing Credits:
Just Jaeckin, Ennio De Concini

The editor-in-chief of a New York women's magazine is organizing the "Last Romantic Lover" contest to find out if men still have a sense of romance.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
French DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
French LPCM Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 103 min.
Price: $34.95
Release Date: 10/25/2022

• Audio Commentary with Film Historian Jeremy Richey
• Interview with Filmmaker Just Jaeckin
• Interview with Actor Dayle Haddon
• “Presentation at Cinematheque Francaise”
• Promotional Gallery
• Trailers


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The Last Romantic Lover [Blu-Ray] (1978)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 22, 2022)

Director Just Jaeckin made his debut with 1974’s hit Emmanuelle. He followed with more erotic dramas, a filmography that included 1978’s The Last Romantic Lover.

Elisabeth (Dayle Haddon) works as the editor-in-chief of a magazine. She comes up with a promotional idea to find locate the “last romantic lover” in an attempt to see if men still enjoy any sense of romance.

Lion-tamer Pierre (Gérard Ismaël) comes in second place, and as his prize, he gets 10 days with his potential “soul mate” – who he chooses to be Elisabeth. This leads to various erotic and dramatic threads as the pair gets to know each other.

The 1970s became the era in which feminism leapt to the forefront, and Lover reflects that notion. Perversely, though, it seems to interpret “women’s liberation” to mean “women can act like pigs, too”.

Lover emphasizes gender role reversals from the start. While it paints Pierre and other men as sensitive flowers, Elisabeth presents as an aggressive presence out just to satisfy her own whims.

On the surface, I find nothing wrong with this conceit. Why not flip the traditional roles?

Unfortunately, Lover brings nothing of interest to the table. Indeed, the end result gives us something surprisingly dull.

While my synopsis implies that Elisabeth selects Pierre as the contest winner pretty rapidly and then follows their relationship, instead it takes an extended amount of time to reach that point. Pouty Pierre resists the requests of circus owner Max (Fernando Rey) to enter for an extended period, and then Pierre finds himself in a never-ending competition to win the prize.

Lover sets up essentially a beauty contest – replete with talent segments – to whittle down the entrants, and this feels like it will go on forever. This segment does little other than delay the inevitable, as we enter the film with no doubt that Pierre will emerge semi-victorious.

Because the first act discusses no contestant other than Pierre, his success becomes obvious. A better constructed movie would’ve given decent air time to some of the others to create an air of mystery – or it would’ve simply spent much less time on the tedious competition.

Matters don’t really improve when Elisabeth and Pierre go off together. He heads back to the circus with her in tow, and the pair the follow Hollywood Standard “opposites who bicker and then fall in love” framework.

Which leads to even more tedium. Only the circus setting offers anything unusual, and it feels contrived and quirky just for its own sake.

Face it: there’s no real reason for Lover to feature circus performers other than its own self-conscious stab at oddness. The long “getting to know you” segment with Elisabeth and Pierre just feels sluggish and dull.

Lover attempts a twist at the end, but the preceding 95 minutes offers so much forgettable material that the finale lacks impact. This turns into a slow, banal and fairly ridiculous stab at a romantic drama.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio C-/ Bonus B

The Last Romantic Lover appears in an aspect ratio of 1.66:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a surprisingly appealing presentation.

Overall sharpness seemed positive. Some softness occasionally appeared, though most of that appeared to reflect e gauzy feel inherent to the source that suited the mix of soft-core porn and romantic fable.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and I saw no edge haloes. Grain felt organic, and I witnessed no print flaws.

Colors went with a natural vibe that favored a bit of a golden tint. Brighter tones like reds popped nicely, though, and the overall impression remained positive.

Blacks seemed deep and dark, while shadows appeared smooth and concise. This turned into a strong image.

Remixed from the original monaural – which also arrived on the disc – the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack felt wholly mediocre at best. The soundscape offered little to use the various channels.

This meant a soundfield that became “broad mono” at best. The vast majority of the material focused on the center channel, with music that spread to the sides in a mild manner.

As a result, the remix felt pointless. If a 5.1 track fails to utilize the various speakers, why bother?

In addition, quality appeared blah, with speech that tended to seem boomy and loose. While the lines lacked edginess and remained intelligible, they came across as dull.

Music fared better. Though the score failed to deliver much vivacity, at least it seemed livelier than the flat dialogue.

Effects fell into the same range, as these appeared reasonably accurate, if without much impact. This turned into a subpar mix, even when I considered its era.

As noted, the disc also came with the film’s original LPCM monaural track, and it worked better than the flawed remix – to a moderate degree, at least. Speech turned into the most obvious upgrade, as the lines felt more natural in the mono track.

The rest remained about the same, as both music and effects seemed adequate but dated. Nothing about the mono track overcame its origins, but it provided the best option on the disc.

When we shift to extras, we begin with an audio commentary from film historian Jeremy Richey. He provides a running, screen-specific look at cast and crew, production notes and his views of the film.

The latter element becomes more prominent than I might like, mainly because Richey’s opinions seem so strong that he can come across as condescending. Nonetheless, he brings enough info about those involved with the flick and its shoot to make this a worthwhile listen.

An Interview with Filmmaker Just Jaeckin spans 18 minutes, one second. He chats about the origins of Lover as well as aspects of its production and release. Jaeckin provides a decent little overview, though the segment comes with too many movie clips.

Next comes an Interview with Actor Dayle Haddon. It goes for 23 minute, 24 seconds.

Haddon discusses aspects of her career, her relationship with Jaeckin, and her experiences on Lover. We don’t get a lot about Lover itself but Haddon brings some engaging notes.

Presentation at Cinematheque Fantastique goes for 14 minutes, four seconds and provides a March 30, 2022 screening/panel with Jaeckin, Haddon, and author Philippe Labro.

We get a few thoughts about Lover but this acts mostly as an affectionate appreciation foe Jaeckin. Then ill, the filmmaker would die less than half a year later, so expect some fond connections but not a lot about the movie itself.

A Promotional Gallery offers 16 images, most of which focus on advertising. It becomes a passable compilation.

Finally, Cult Epics Trailers presents promos for Madame Claude, Playing With Fire, Naked Over the Fence, Frank & Eva, The Cool Lakes of Death and A Woman Like Eve. No trailer for Lover appears here.

As a feminist twist on the genre, The Last Romantic Lover throws out a few curveballs. Unfortunately, these come in service of a film both silly and dull. The Blu-ray comes with surprisingly good visuals as well as erratic audio and a mix of bonus materials. Neither erotic not romantic, Lover flops.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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