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Schoolgirl Hitchhikers (1973): The Shiver of the Jewel Thieves

Schoolgirl Hitchhikers (Jean Rollin, 1973)

The two protagonists of the film in a liplock superimposed over a scene of Gilda Arancio chained up adorns the box for the remastered VHS version.

“What are you doing? We’ll need that thumb later!”
photo credit: zarban.com

Jean Rollin originally released Schoolgirl Hitchhikers under the nom de plume Michel Gentil, which he would return to in the mid-seventies when he launched a thankfully short-lived career in porn (Douces Penetrations, Sexual Vibrations, etc.). While in 1973 no one could have known what they were in for, with the benefit of hindsight it’s pretty easy to know what you’re getting into here if you know that. Schoolgirl Hitchhikers is softcore (and thus available for streaming—and as of this writing available—on Netflix Instant), so you don’t even get the money shots, and of course it being a Jean Rollin film, the one thing you can count on is inept direction. Depending on your point of view he does not, or continues to, disappoint in that regard.

 

The two lovelies ready to continue on their journey in a still from the film.

“You have to come see us sometime!”
photo credit: mubi.com

Monica (Seven Women for Satan‘s Joelle Coeur) and Jackie (Gilda Arancio, who would retire after a cameo in Rollin’s 1981 feature Zombie Lake) are a pair of lusty young things on a hitchhiking trip on school break. So Monica’s voiceover tells us, anyway; we never see school, nor hitchhiking, so the actual title of the movie is something of a misnomer. The two of them hop a wall they find in the woods and decide to spend the night in what they believe to be an abandoned mansion. After a long scene that will make you wonder where Jean Rollin’s erogenous zones were—the two girls seem to get awfully turned on by licking each other’s sides—they discover they’re not alone. Fred (Curse of the Living Dead‘s Willy Braque), a small-time criminal, is using the place for a hide-out, and when he discovers the ladies, he joins them for the rest of the night in a plethora of anatomically-questionable escapades. (One wonders, or at least this one did, how Monica did not suffocate a time or two.) All well and good, except that once the girls are on their way, Fred’s boss Beatrice (The Adultress‘ Marie-Helene Regne, whose career in film would span just three years. Unfortunate, as she’s a knockout), who quickly becomes convinced that Fred’s erstwhile hotties have stolen a hidden cache of jewels and sends her toady (Lady Oscar‘s Francois Brincourt), who is never named in the film, after them…

Gilda Arancio is tied and prepared for whipping in a still from the film.

“Why are you stringing ME up? SHE’s the one wearing leather pants!”
photo credit: wwwbillblog.blogspot.com

 

Had Rollin simply stayed in the softcore realm and had everything turn into an orgy after that, this movie would be stupid but kind of watchable; pretty much everyone in it is quite delicious (except Fred, and I have little doubt Rollin’s directive to has casting agent was “find the ugliest guy you can, I’m going to stick a fake scar on his face anyway”) and they all obviously enjoy getting into impossible positions. But Rollin’s got this idea that he’s making a heist film, so he tries to graft a plot onto it, and this is where it fails; the actual mystery angle of who stole the jewels is so badly handled that, well, by the end you’ll be wishing Rollin had kept it a softcore movie. This is terrible, but if you’re after acres of bare flesh without actually watching porn, I guess you…could do worse? ½

 


Trailer. Note: the full film is, as of this writing, available on Youtube.

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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