Blue Underground presents
Eugenie De Sade (1970)
"You'll be amazed to find that pleasure is always at someone else's expense. We'll carry this to its ultimate expression through wounds and blood and death. I know you'll love every minute of it."- Albert Radeck (Paul Muller)
Stars: Soledad Miranda, Paul Muller
Other Stars: Greta Schmidt, Alice Arno, Jess Franco
Director: Jess Franco
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nudity, sexuality, violence)
Run Time: 01h:30m:42s
Release Date: 2008-01-29
DVD ReviewSpanish cult filmmaker Jess Franco has long had a fascination with the works of the Marquis de Sade, borrowing themes, titles and characters in a kaleidoscopic vision that is highly idiosyncratic. This 1970 picture marks one of his earlier ventures into de Sade territory, using his muse Soledad Miranda in the key central role to express both a fascination with cruelty and death, even though she attempts to pull back after she has gone over the brink.
Miranda (billed as Susan Korday) is featured as Eugenie Radeck, stepdaughter of frustrated novelist Albert Radeck (Paul Muller). When he casually offers her some Sadean literature, she finds her libido stoked and she not only delves into cruelty, but incest as well. Albert's interest tends to run in the direction of committing the perfect crime, and he helps drag Eugenie into a cesspool of erotically charged homicide. But when she meets Paul (Andres Monales) and finds herself falling into a more normal love, Eugenie is unable to bring herself to continue with the sex games with Albert, triggering his fury.
Miranda is at her best in this picture, both as erotic seductress and as curious student of crime and transgression. While Franco's pictures often tend toward the explicit in their sexuality, Eugenie de Sade takes a more restrained approach, with Miranda sinuously moving like an erotic cat; even fully clothed she's volcanically sexual, to the point that her nudity almost feels like a letdown. Both coy and knowing, she really sparkles in this role, even more so than with her signature turn in the legendary Vampyros Lesbos. It really underlines the possibilities that were cut off by Miranda's death in a car wreck scant months later.
Muller is reasonably solid as her perverse stepfather, in true Sadean fashion taking more gratification from his corruption of Eugenie than in his actual sexual practices (though it's worth noting that it is Eugenie who seduces him, and not the other way around, giving their relationship a depth it might not have had otherwise). His craggy face contrasts well against Miranda, and his combination of arrogance and cruelty works very well for the subject matter. Franco himself has a sizable role as Attila Tanner, a rival novelist who takes an unhealthy interest in the Radeck family's activities; much of the movie is told in flashback to him by Eugenie after he promises to kill her.
The production values are better than one typically expects from Franco, at least with regard to the exteriors. The Radeck home seems disturbingly bourgeoise for the antics going on within, though that may be one of Franco's messages. Although the subject matter will be distasteful to most mainstream viewers, this does manage to be one of the director's more accessible pictures, and certainly a showcase for Soledad Miranda.
Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B
|Aspect Ratio||1.66:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: The anamorphic widescreen image offers a marked improvement over the possibly grey market limited release on another label many years ago. The source print, allegedly from original elements, is in impeccable condition. Detail is quite good, and texture works well, with little sign of aliasing or noise. Color is well defined, with nice solid backs. The frequent skin tones are spot on. Other than the dated color palette, which is inherent in the image, there's nothing to complain about here at all.
Image Transfer Grade: A-
Audio Transfer Review: Both English and French mono dubs are included. Both are quite clean, though Bruno Nicolai's sleazy Euro score is mixed quite a bit louder on the English track. Dialogue is quite plain though at least the English dub is not a terribly good match for the actors.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasStatic menu with music
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: clear plastic keepcase
Layers Switch: 00h:54m:46s
Extras Review: The only extras are an anamorphic widescreen trailer that emphasizes the sleazy aspects of the production (and which seems to have a few bits of unused footage as well), and a modern interview with Franco, entitled Franco de Sade (20m:42s). The latter is a decent discussion, with attention given to the writer/director's fascination with the writings of de Sade, the difficulties inherent in the subject matter that resulted in compromises such as making Albert the stepfather instead of the father of Eugenie, and Franco also discusses in some depth Miranda's talents and his hopes for starring her in the entire series of films on de Sade, as well as the roles that eventually would be portrayed by Lina Romay. It's a must for fans of Miranda.
Extras Grade: B-
Final CommentsDisturbing and sexy, Eugenie de Sade is a good starting point for anyone interested in diving into the wacky world of Jess Franco movies. Miranda is stunningly sexy, and the transfer is excellent.
Mark Zimmer 2008-01-28