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Don Martin (Paul Lapidus), an aged actor, has found retreat on an island
called Paradise, where he lives with his wife Marianne (Lina Romay), his
daughter Beatic (Mavie Tienda), former prostitute Marguerita (Christie Levin)
& helping hand Herbie (Ezequiel Cohen). But years of life cut off from
civilization have taken its toll on all of them, as they have turned into a
rather depraved bunch, with Don Martin, slightly mad, having an affair with
Marguerita quite openly, while his daughter watches them doing it frantically
masturbating. & her stepmother Marianne delights in slapping her bare
bottom. & what's more, Don Martin retreats more & more into his
madness, only reliving past gloriess instead of reacting to present events.
But why are all of them staying ?
It is said that Don Martin has hidden some fabulous treasure somewhere on
the island, & they all want ot get their hands on it - also including Mario
(Guillermo Agranati), Marguerita's secret lover, who forces her to stay with
Don Martin to learn the whereabouts of the treasure.
But of course everything takes a different turn in the end: Marguerita &
Mario are stabbbed to death by Don Martin when having sex in his bed, Don
Martin has gone completely off the hook & finally drowns himself in the
sea, & Herbie & Beatric find the treasure, only to find out that
everything is just fake hjewellery for the stage, which Don Martin has kept to
preserve his past,when he was not the great stage actor he has always claimed
to be but a simple vaudeville clown - the promise of richess has only brought
emptiness to Beatric & Herbie.
In the end, it looks unlikely that either they or Marianne will ever leave
With this movie, Jess Franco picks up the theme of his erratic erotic murder
mysteries, of which he made a great many in the 70's (e.g. Eugenia - Una
Historia de la Perversion, Tendre et Perverse Emmanuelle), which,
despite making next to no (rational) sense, were among his best works, mixing
S/M sex & general sleaze with pulp clichés & whodunnit motives, all
blended in a weird but poetic way. Broken Dolls is unfortunately not on
par with Franco's 70's output - even tighter budgets & Franco's transition
to working on video prevent that -, it is however still a weird visit to that
wonderful Jess Franco-land