EDITOR’S NOTE: This was first on the site on February 6, 2022 and is posted again as Blue Underground has released a 4K UHD of this movie, which looks gorgeous.
It features Ultra HD Blu-ray and HD Blu-ray Widescreen feature presentations of the film. Extras include new audio commentary from film historians Nathaniel Thompson and Troy Howarth; interviews with Jess Franco, Harry Alan Towers, Marie Liljedahl and Christopher Lee; Stephen Thrower discussing the film, a Jack Taylor interview, a trailer and a newly expanded poster and still gallery.
You can order it from MVD.
An adaptation and modern-day update of Marquis de Sade’s Philosophy in the Bedroom, this was the second de Sade film made by Jess Franco*, but by no means the last. In fact, it’s not even the last movie called Eugenie that he would make. While this one is Eugenie… The Story of Her Journey into Perversion (or De Sade 70 or Marquis de Sade’s Philosophy in the Boudoir), there’s also the better-known — and Soledad Miranda-starring — Eugenie de Sade.
Eugenie (Marie Liljedahl, Inga, Dorian Gray) has spent her entire life in a convent and despite an exterior that drives men and women wild with list, she’s inexperienced in the ways of the world. Her father (Paul Muller, Nana, Barbed Wire Dolls) wants to bed Madame Saint Ange (Maria Rohm, the wife of producer Harry Alan Towers who appears in 99 Women, Venus In Furs and The Bloody Judge amongst other movies; don’t judge her being in this as nepotism, because she’s amazing in this movie), who agrees as long as she can take Eugenie to her secluded island mansion, where she and her step-brother Mirvel (Jack Taylor, whose career in exploitation movies took him all over the world) can seduce her and probably each other and definitely everyone and play the kind of strange incestual games that only the super rich seem to play.
Sir Christopher Lee also shows up as the narrator for all this wallowing and also as Dolmance, the leader of a cult of fiends that drug young women and beat them with whips and yeah, Sir Christopher claims he had no idea what kind of movie he was in, which I find hilarious, because this wouldn’t be the last time he’d work with Franco. Providing his own wardrobe — the smoking jacket he wore in Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace — Lee claimed that he was unaware there was a nude woman on the sacrificial altar behind him, as Franco and crew had wrapped drapery over her that they’d yank off as soon as the camera started and would then recover her when he was done with his scene. I mean, I love Jess, but sometimes he can barely focus the camera. One wonders how he’d ever had the chicanery and ability to pull one over on a man that was once quite literally a secret agent.
This movie feels like a dream. I’ve said that of other Franco movies, but trust me, a much better realized and better shot dream, with a score by Bruno Nicolai that makes it seem way classier than it is.
There’s a scene where Jack Taylor won’t stop messing with the blinds, the camera goes way out of focus for an extended period and Maria Rohm is near Satanic. David Sodergren on Letterboxd said that Franco’s films seem better when he’s working under the threat of Spanish censorship. It forces his films to not show you everything while at once feeling packed with sinful moments that worm their way into your brain. They are more erotic for their hard work in the face of opression with no need for Franco’s later obsessive need to show you every inch of his female cast.
*The first is Marquis de Sade: Justine.