French Quarter (1978)

Genres - Drama, Fantasy  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama  |   Run Time - 101 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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This offbeat genre-bender is worthy of rediscovery by cult movie fans with a yen for 1970's-era fare. The clever script, penned by Barney Cohen with director Dennis Kane, offsets the sexploitation elements of its brothel-set storyline with a compelling double-storyline premise that allows several of its actors to play dual roles. It also blends comedy, romance and supernatural elements in a balanced and confident manner. Kane directs his story well, showing a flair for a genuinely adult style of eroticism one doesn't always see in low-budget fare from this era and making fantastic use of real New Orleans locations to achieve a convincingly decadent atmosphere. More importantly, he gets excellent performances from a well-chosen cast: lesser known starlet Alisha Fontaine is likeable as the ethereal, troubled dual-heroines of the film's two storylines while Bruce Davison adds an unconventional charm as the piano-player romantic interest in the vintage plotline and Virginia Mayo infuses her role as a madam with an old-fashioned Hollywood style of elegance. All these elements are woven together in an impressive fashion, making French Quarter a sexy, unpredictable story that is likely to entertain b-movie fans and adventurous arthouse-film patrons alike.