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Ich - Ein Groupie

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    Ian Jane
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  • Ich - Ein Groupie



    Released by: Ascot Elite
    Released on: July 2nd, 2014.
    Director: Erwin C. Dietrich
    Cast: Ingrid Steeger, Rolf Eden, Vivian Weiss
    Year: 1970
    Purchase From Diabolik DVD

    The Movie:

    Directed and produced by Erwin C. Dietrich, 1970's Ich - Ein Groupie (also known as Higher And Higher) stars the beautiful Ingrid Steeger as a young woman named Vicky who meets a rock musician named Rolf (Rolf Eden) at a gig in London. She falls for him and soon enough, they're an item… sort of. She and her friend Vivian (Vivian Weiss) wind up following the band to Germany and then to Amsterdam and before you know it, Vicky's partying it up and living like there's no tomorrow. Before you know, she's a woman of the world, indulging in drug parties and plenty of sex but soon things take a turn for the worse. After a run in with a biker gang she winds up getting involved with… Satanists and it all sort of goes downhill for Vicky from there.

    This one plays out more or less exactly like you'd expect it to and much of the film is obviously built around showcasing Ingrid Steeger in various states of undress but it's a pretty entertaining picture that takes a few unexpected turns along the way. The film serves as an interesting time capsule of the hippie/counter culture scene of early seventies Europe so we get some kooky music courtesy of bands like Birth Control and Murphy Blend and we get all manner of rad mod and beatnik style fashions right from the get go.

    On top of this, we get an aura of seediness running through much of the movie. The rampant sex you'd expect is here and Steeger's far from the only attractive Euro-babe to drop her pants from the camera but in addition to that we get some reasonably graphic scenes of drug use (complete with an LSD trip scene). This is furthered by the scenes with the Hell's Angels which culminates in a motorcycle ride through what looks like live traffic on a real highway with some living, breathing and very naked ladies holding onto those bikers for dear life as they zip on down the road. It's goofy, and somehow remarkable. The Satanism angle in the latter part of the movie is an unexpected twist and completely out of place but given that society had an infatuation with the occult in the late sixties and early seventies, it is in many ways a product of its time.

    All of this goes at a good pace and features some genuinely solid location photography. The camerawork here shows off plenty of sights as our heroines be-bop across continental Europe looking for kicks, so the movie allows us to do a little traveling from the comfort of our couch. The real reason most will be interested in this one, however, is because it features Steeger in the lead role. She's beautiful here, a curvy blonde bombshell with plenty of zest and a free spirited attitude towards sex that makes her nearly impossible to dislike. The movie turns into a cautionary tale and becomes a bit of a morality play as it draws to its close but most of what leads up to that is good trashy fun and given that Steeger gets more screen time here than she does in pretty much any of her other films, it stands to reason her fan base will appreciate this picture.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Ich - Ein Groupie arrives on Blu-ray in AVC encoded 1080p high definition presentation, framed at 2.35.1 widescreen and like pretty much every other Dietrich/Franco Blu-ray release from Ascot Elite at this point, it's a strong upgrade over the previous DVD release. Some small specks show up now and again but there's no serious print damage or distracting scratches to bother complaining about. The elements used for the transfer were obviously in pretty decent shape even if they don't appear to have undergone an extensive restoration. Skin tones look nice and warm without ever coming across as too pink. Detail is really strong throughout though the colors are a little faded in some spots. There were no compression artifacts or edge enhancement issues noted at all - the movie translates to Blu-ray really nicely.

    Audio options are provided in both German and English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio tracks and in German, French and Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 options. The clarity of the English track is fine, but don't expect much in the way of surround activity as the rears are used primarily for the occasional bump in the score. Dialogue stays clean and clear and the music, which plays a really big part in the successfulness of the film, has some good depth to it even if there's a bit of flatness in some scenes. Optional subtitles are provided in French and German.

    There are quite a few extras here but they're not subtitled in English so your mileage may vary. An Italian language version of the film is included in HD, as is a featurette entitled Memories Of A Groupie which is basically an interview with Erwin C. Dietrich and cameraman Peter Baumgartner A featurette called Von Groupies And Stewardessen interviews Andreas Mannkopff and a third featurette entitled Ich, ein Playboy' mit Rolf Eden. A featurette called Von Groupies And Stewardessen interviews Andreas Mannkopff and a third featuretted called called Ich, Ein Playboy interviews Rolf Eden. Also look out for a couple of trailers for the feature, a still gallery and trailers for a few other Dietrich titles available from Ascot Elite. Menus and chapter stops are included as well. There's plenty of stuff here to take in and much of it looks like, if you can speak the language, it's pretty interesting and in-depth. Given that Dietrich used real Hell's Angels in the movie and at one point had Jack Hill tapped to direct, there's gotta be some stories here…

    Once again, for the BD-Rom equipped out there, if you pop the disc into your computer you'll have access to a thirty-six page text interview with Dietrich from an issue of a German fanzine called Splatting Image. This is all in German but it's got some very cool pictures and stills accompanying it. Additionally, the disc also includes the complete text of the incredibly rare one hundred and ninety seven page book on Dietrich's films, Mädchen, Machos und Moneten: die unglaubliche Geschichte des Schweizer Kinounternehmers Erwin C. Dietrich. It's also all in German but it's loaded with pictures and archival images.

    The Final Word:

    In a lot of ways this is more of a dark cautionary tale about the perils of excess than it is the kind of typical sexploitation picture Dietrich is known for, but that simply serves to make it more interesting. Fans of Ingrid Steeger will definitely enjoy this one, it's a good role for her that lets her act as well as show off the goods, and the early seventies vibe makes it an interesting time capsule. The Blu-ray release from Ascot Elite is strong and while the extras aren't subtitled, they're definitely extensive.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!































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