Marquis de Sade, a frenchman born in 1740, was known for his lifelong
quest of brutal fetishes, activity rumored to be a result of repeated naked floggings
by his Jesuit teachers for his insolence. His subsequent acts, cause for people
of reason and morals to recoil in terror, provided the Marquis with sensations
of ecstasy. Specifically, the physical and emotional domination of another and
the violent destruction of youthful innocence. This ecstasy is portrayed by
one of the protagonists of "Philosophy in the Boudoir", who exclaims,
"How delicious to corrupt, to stifle all semblances of virtue and religion
in that young heart!"
"Eugenie, ...the story of her journey into perversion" is based on
that Sade novel and revolves around the transformation of Eugenie (Marie Liljedahl),
an innocent young girl, from her normal existence into one of perversion, drugs
and eventually murder.
Wanting to break away from her nagging parents, Eugenie accompanies her fathers
mistress, Marianne Saint-Ange (Maria Rohm), to the island home of a sadistic
man named Dolmance (Christopher Lee) who spends most of the movie walking around
in a red smoking jacket reciting the works of Marquis de Sade. Marianne and
her stepbrother Mirvel (Jack Taylor) immediately set out to break her spirit
by repeatedly drugging her into unconsciousness then raping and torturing her,
later convincing her it was all a dream. As she falls deeper into these depths,
she becomes willingly involved in drugs, sadomasochism and murder.
Released by Blue Underground, this 1969 work by director Jess Franco was believed
lost until this release. Very typical of Franco's perverse style, it has the
sadistic edge of torture and the exploitation of an young innocent, both which
are covered in depth. Add to this, greating film work, exotic scenery, beautiful
women and the presence of Christopher Lee and you have a very unusual piece
that compels you to keep watching. It is supported to a large degree by the
lead star, Liljedahl, renown for her earlier work in the Swedish picture "Inga",
which also featured a young woman manipulated by her elders. Once again she
makes a good performance in the believable transition from innocence to corruption.
Rohm, a regular fixture in Franco pictures of the period, does an equally impressive
job in the film. Harry Towers (de plume Peter Welbeck) successfully translated
this De Sade story to a workable modern day version. But intense as it is, thankfully,
it is really only a mild sampling of the depths of perversion to which De Sade
stooped to in real life.
Original Aspect Ratio of 2.35:1 - Widescreen, Anamorphic. This is interesting
as Franco rarely worked in this aspect ratio.
A very nice presentation for a film that was believed lost. It is soft overall
and appears to have been that way in the source print with some ringing around
high contrast areas usually a result of an attempt to enhance detail. Color
is good with a bit of video noise present at times. Some dramatic scenes are
over saturated for effect using a blood red filter or tint. Very little film
damage is apparent and none of these items detract from its viewing.
The sound is English and French dubbed mono with no subtitling. Voices are
clear and distortion free with little hiss noticeable. The score, while not
Bruno Nicolai's best work, comes through well. The native English track is the
better of the two.
Static menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Franco Biography & Filmography
A documentary, listed on the menu as "Perverse Stories" contains
interviews with Franco, Liljedahl and Christopher Lee (Dracula, Lord of the Rings). Lee's part in this interview
is especially interesting. The person originally casted for this role died two
days earlier. Lee was contacted and told it was just a couple days of filming
him reciting Sade's works while wearing his red smoking jacket (the one he wore
in his film about Sherlock Holmes). Lee consented, did two days of filming with
the cast present, at which point his part was complete. Later, unknown to him,
all the scenes were reshot around him replacing the docile clad members with
naked members immersed in orgies of perversion and torture. He found out about
it some while later when a friend told him it was showing at an x-rated venue
down the street. Thirty years after the fact in this interview, he was quite
glib about the whole thing stating "Well, I guess now I have appeared in
just about every kind of movie than can be made." Harry Alan Towers admits
that they probably deceived him "Just a little bit." The documentary
also touches on the area of sexuality and censorship. Liljedahl mentions how
she was young and didn't know what she was doing, and stopped doing those parts
later on. Franco muses on how he only does soft porn and how shocked his distributors
were when they saw what he had delivered, expecting much racier stuff.
There is a gallery section, where about 75 black & white and color stills
are presented, many R-rated including both foreign and domestic lobby cards.
Included is the entire press book. You can get a general feel for the piece,
but most of the text is too small to read.
A Franco filmography and biography is there and appears to be the same one as
on the "Justine" (1968) DVD. Widescreen trailers for both Eugenie
and Justine are present as well.
A very complex work supported by a good and enjoyable cast. Viewers of this
genre that enjoy works such as "Image", "Justine and "Inga"
will definitely want to pick it up to add to their collection of Euro's as well
as readers of De Sade's works that desire a softer version in video form. Those
critical of Franco's work may have a different feeling after seeing this one.