|Nov 2 2021
The black panther returns.
We're back into French sexploitation today with this poster for Baby Cat, which starred Israel born actress Shulamith Lasri, aka Julie Margo. The title, which is what the movie played under in France, is probably meant to be an allusion to the English word “pussy.” If so, the French filmmakers missed their target, since cats of any age can be called pussycats. But we couldn't make an allusion in French under pain of torture, so we'll give them a pass. We watched this only because Margo had aroused our curiosity with her outing in 1976's Emanuelle nera n° 2. She starred in that as Shulamith Lasri, her real name. Most websites haven't made the connection that Lasri and Margo are the same person. IMDB, for instance, has separate profiles for each, and Wikipedia's entry on Emanuelle nera n° 2 (Black Emanuelle 2) expressly states that it was the only film in which Lasri appeared. Well, now the truth is out.
In Baby Cat Lasri/Margo plays a jaded Paris model with two boyfriends—one a hustler, and the other a one percenter. The rich boyfriend won't commit, and we can't imagine why he would, since he's a fashion magazine publisher and hangs out with beautiful women for a living. But this annoys Margo, so she teams up with the hustler to stage a fake kidnapping and try to pry loose a ransom. Unfortunately, her one percenter catches wind of the plot and sticks her in a basement to consider the error of her ways. This accomplished, he flies off for a photo shoot to the French/Dutch island of Saint Martin with a bevy of skinny models (among them Corinne Corson, Eloïse Beaune, and Sylvie Schmidt) who mostly wander around topless in the tropical heat. Having spent some time on Saint Martin, we can tell you that the toplessness brings a touch of reality to the proceedings. We don't see Margo much during this middle stretch of the film, but she'll get loose from that Paris basement soon enough.
Margo isn't classically pretty, but she has a flawless body any woman would sell her soul and everyone else's to have. In Emanuelle nera n° 2 she was referred to as a panther, and amusingly, here four years later a completely different set of filmmakers beat the identical drum with lines like, “Hey, she moves just like a cat. A black panther.” We get it—Margo is exotic as far as European filmmakers are concerned, but any questions about her feline qualities are moot for us, because she can't act. Like, at all. She took a four-year break after Emanuelle nera n° 2, coming back to make three more films, of which Baby Cat is the last. It was probably good she stopped. Hell, it was good this movie stopped. Watching Margo work that body of hers was enjoyable, and the Saint Martin exteriors brought back lovely memories for us, but for you, beloved pulpsters, Baby Cat is a movie you can probably bypass. It premiered in France today in 1983.
FranceIsraelSaint MartinSant MartenBaby CatJulie MargoShulamith LasriCorinne CorsonEloïse BeauneSylvie Schmidtposter artcinemanuditysexploitationmovie review