Der Turm der verbotenen Liebe (1968)

Teri Tordai, Jean Piat, Uschi Glas, Véronique Vendell,
While King Louis X of France is on a campaign, Queen Marguerite is reigning in Paris. During this time, the inhabitants of the city are disturbed by mysterious murders near a tower.
  • 5.1 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Alexandre Dumas, Kurt Nachmann, Writer:
  • Franz Antel, Fritz Umgelter, Director:
  • Wolf C. Hartwig, Producer:
8 / 10

Malice in the Palace

This film is a crackerjack, at times rivetingly atmospheric con job of a mishmash of a film that defies convention so much that it is pimped as something it really isn't. The title and opening 10 minutes or so promise a sort of Edgar Wallace-like horror thriller about young men lured to their doom in a forbidden tower somewhere in France. There are hooded assassins, some surprisingly gory deaths, a bit of female nudity, and then the film shifts gears to become a swashbuckler right out of Alexandre Dumas -- who gets a writing credit -- concerning "The Hero of the Flanders Campaign" who has come back from chasing maidens around the countryside to engage in derring-do, righting wrongs, making the ladies swoon & the other swordsmen salute his valor, and above all serve his King.

In other words this is a strange movie and I'm not surprised to look at the user ratings vote board and see an inordinate amount of 1 star ratings. That's probably because due to the Englicanized title TOWER OF SCREAMING VIRGINS, most of them gave it a look expecting atmospheric, lurid Euro Horror with 17 year old girls being torn from their clothes by satanists in red hoods for nefarious purposes. And the most notable name in the cast is Uschi Glass, best known for baring her wonderful body in various exploitation & horror epics from the 1970's.

Instead, viewers find D'artangan's 3rd cousin doing the Errol Flynn bit. The best way to describe the film it is that it's a costume drama hybrid mixing horror, swashbuckling, palace intrigue and Three Muskateers flavored heroics. Nincompoops will be disappointed, but fans of *FILM* will find this to be an enjoyable hodgepodge that has a strange agenda. The Screaming Virgins of reference are young men, the film's sporadic & exploitational nudity and at times surprisingly graphic violence are too overboard for the younger audiences this kind of fare is usually aimed at, and the movie is filmed with a sort of ornate, Gothic/baroque production design is often reminiscent of a Harald Reinl or Adrian Hoven production. Misty, vaulted castle interiors with winding staircases to nowhere look like an Escher drawing, with swordfighters leaping from parapets instead of Count Dracula.

The change of pace is most refreshing and I'd say this is one of the most interesting genre films to come out of Continental Europe during the later 1960's. Seek it out, it's quite rare and worth more than one viewing, and you can't say that for a lot of movies with such a title.

8/10

7 / 10

Some Good Elements Overcome the Flaws

Tower of Screaming Virgins (1968)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Based on the Alexandre Dumas novel, this film tells the story of a Queen who has a lust for blood. Each night men are taken to a deadly tower and in the morning their bodies are discovered. One man decides he has had enough and plans to overthrow the Queen.

This German film is certainly a very strange one. It has been released under a number of titles but its TOWER OF SCREAMING VIRGINS is perhaps the most infamous of the bunch. The film's title and promotional materials makes you think that you're walking into a Euro horror picture but that's not really the case. This here is basically a swashbuckler film that someone like Errol Flynn would have appeared in had he been the age he was when he did THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD. What sets the film apart from others in the genre is the fact that this one does feature horror and sleaze elements.

The most surprising thing about this picture are some rather bloody and creative torture and death scenes as well as plenty of female nudity. This film certainly lived up to its reputation as being a rather dirty little picture adn this stuff certainly helps keep the film moving and entertaining. I think the film also deserves credit for having a nice atmosphere, some great costumes and I really liked the cinematography and look of the picture. All of these elements certainly make the film worth watching.

At the same time, I found most of the story and most of the performances to be rather forgettable. Whenever something "dirty" wasn't happening the film really dragged. Still, with that being said, the flaws with the picture aren't great enough to keep people from checking it out.

6 / 10

This is not fact :this is legend.

Abel Gance 's 1955 version was based on Dumas's play but this French-German one is closer to Michel Zevaco's swashbucklers;it's definitely inferior to the fifties' effort ,but the French Lead, Jean Piat ,essentially a stage actor , has plenty of go and wields the sword with gusto ; he does not take the story too seriously , the right thing to do when you deal with a part unworthy of your talent , and his playing verges on tongue-in- chick.

First thing you've got to bear in mind is that it's not history :it's legend ; Marguerite de Bourgogne was Philippe Le Bel's daughter-in -law and this king was no joker :when he learnt that his son's wife had an affair with Philippe d'Aulnay and her sister-in-law Blanche was sleeping with brother Gaultier ,he had both unfortunate young men flayed alive and Marguerite was strangled in her dungeon;as for Buridan ,he was never a victor ,but a scholar :he used to teach philosophy at the university . It's Fran?ois Villon's poem "ballade des dames du temps jadis" who spawned the legend of" this man thrown into the Seine in a bag."All these characters are featured in the film.

There were already nudities in Gance's work,which was risqué at the time ;in 1968 it was more common ,but the plot involved an incestuous relationship (consummated in the movie) .

The first part was certainly influenced by Gance ,but the second one turns melodramatic ,confused,the queen changing her mind every five minutes ; the king seems to be out of a card game ,and the giant chess game out of "Alive in wonderland" ;the cinematography is nice and shots of the tower are particularly successful ; the director already showed a fondness for soft eroticism which he would carry on in the seventies.

7 / 10

A fun swashbuckler with nice eye candy

I saw this film under the irresistible title: The Tower of Screaming Virgins. To its credit, the film offered both a tower and some screaming, although I doubt if anyone in the tower was a virgin. . . not that I was going to complain! I knew I was going to groove on this film from its pre-credit scene where an escaping man was shot with an arrow by a topless woman in a red executioner's hood. This film featured surprisingly good swordplay, a handful of nice, semi-nude ladies, and a better than expected story, something that surprised this viewer.

The plot involved a conspiracy to supply the Queen and her handmaidens with lovers. The women wore masks and waited in the tower. After the men had served their purpose, they were murdered and dumped in a river. Unfortunately, the rogues whose job it was to do the supplying and the murdering had not done the job correctly, and bodies were beginning to be found. The rogues made a bigger mistake when they selected romancing adventurer Bouridan as a guest of the tower. In addition to women and fighting, Bouridan liked a mystery.

The Tower of Screaming Virgins delivered on all the thrills a potential viewer would expect. I recently watched the similar, and somewhat better known, Isabella, Duchess of Devils (aka Ms. Stilleto), but The Tower of Screaming Virgins was the more enjoyable film. It had a better story, quicker swordplay, and nicer actresses.

I hope other viewers will enjoy their time in the The Tower of Screaming Virgins as much as I did.