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Der Teufel kam aus Akasava / El Diablo que vino de Akasawa

The Devil came from Akasava

West Germany/Spain 1970
produced by
Artur Brauner, Karl Heinz Mannchen (executive) for CCC-Filmkunst, Fénix Films
directed by Jess Franco
starring Soledad Miranda (as Susann Korda), Fred Williams, Horst Tappert, Ewa Strömberg, Siegfried Schürenberg, Walter Rilla, Paul Muller, Blandine Ebinger, Howard Vernon, Albero Dalbés, Jess Franco, Rudolf Hertzog, Karl Heinz Mannchen, Ángel Menéndez
screenplay by Jess Franco, Paul André, Ladislas Fodor, based on the novel The Akasava by Edgar Wallace, music by Manfred Hübler, Siegfried Schwab, Bruno Nicolai

Jess Franco's Soledad Miranda Trilogy, Edgar Wallace made in Germany, Edgar Wallace by CCC Filmkunst

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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In Akasava, Professor Forrester (Ángel Menéndez) has just discovered a certain highly radioactive stone that can turn metal to gold ... but no sooner is it in his possession that he disappears and is presumed dead. At roughly the same time, a Secret Service agent is killed in Forrester's London office - which is why the case all of a sudden interests both the Secret Service and Scotland Yard, which is why chief of Scotland Yard Sir Philip (Siegfired Schürenberg, pretty much redoing his Sir John from the Rialto's Edgar Wallace series) and Secret Service agent Jane (Soledad Miranda) meet - in a brothel of all places, because it is the perfect cover-up ...

Soon enough, Jane is off to Akasava, where she meets up with consule Lambert (Alberto Dalbés) and Italian secret service agent Tino Celli (Jess Franco himself), and they soon pick Doctor Thorssen (Horst tappert), a close friend of Forrester, as their perfect suspect. But when Celli and Lambert are searching Thorssen's place while Jane has invited him to one of her strip performances (in best Jess Franco tradition, she is both a stripper and a spy), Celli is exposed to the radioactive stone - which pretty much proves the two were on the right trail - and killed by its radiation, while Lambert is shot trying to get away ...

Meanwhile, Walter Forrester (Fred Williams), the professor's nephew, has come to Akasava as well, allegedly to investigate his uncle's disappearance, but he seems to be more interested in Thorssen's wife Ingrid (Ewa Strömberg) than in doing investigations. And Thorssen doesn't even mind ... oh, and on the side, Walter starts something with Jane as well, even though she doesn't fully trust him. Then, in a turn of events, Walter is shot in the leg, and Thorssen personally applies his casket - and hides the stone in the casket to get it to London ...

Back in London, Jane, Walter - who has since turned out to be a Scotland Yard officer - and Sir Philip have to realize they haven't gotten one step further in their investigations - not knowing of course that Walter has smuggled the stone to London, which is now in the possession of Thorssen and his associate Doc Henry (Paul Muller) - so they try to use Walter as bait, and after almost having gotten in too deep with Chinese agents, they do lure the real culprits out into the open, Lord Kingsley (Walter Rilla), his sister abigail (Blandine Ebinger), and their valet Humphrey (Howard Vernon), who have in the meantime , out of greed, even killed Docs Thorssen and Henry.

But of course, Walter and Jane put an end to their shenanigans.

 


After She Killed in Ecstasy and Vampyros Lesbos, this was the third film Jess Franco made for CCC Filmkunst, using largely the same great and memorable music (by Manfred Hübler and Siegfried Schwab) and also starring Soledad Miranda (in her last ever role), which is why this films can be seen as a trilogy.

The Devil Came from Akasava however is the weakest of the trio, a late, cheap attempt to cash in on Rialto's Edgar Wallace series - as opposed to the first two films which would work on their own. But for a mainstream murder mystery, The Devil Came from Akasava is too sloppily scripted, too cheaply produced and too preoccupied with getting Soledad Miranda naked (which in itself is not a bad thing). And then, murder mysteries were never Jess Franco's forte.

Tghat said, The Devil Came from Akasava is not a bad movie as such, it works quite well as a sexy spy thriller parody, with intentionally silly dialogues, outrageous 1970's outfits and designs, Jess Franco's erratic filming techniques including massive use of the zoom lense, many unexpected close-ups, strrange camera set-ups and the like. And then there is of course Franco's trademark tongue-in-cheek approach to the genre and to pulp as such, all of which makes this film, seen as a parody, worthwhile after all.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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directed by
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