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Eugenie

Eugenie... the Story of her Journey into Perversion
De Sade 70 / Die Jungfrau und die Peitsche / Philosophy in the Boudoir

Spain/West Germany/UK 1969
produced by
Harry Alan Towers
directed by Jess Franco
starring Marie Liljedahl, Maria Rohm, Jack Taylor, Christopher Lee, Paul Muller, Anney Kablan, Ingrid Swenson (as María Luisa Ponte), Uta Dahlberg, Herbert Fux, Nino Korda
screenplay by Harry Alan Towers (as Peter Welbeck), based on the novel La Philosophie dans le Boudoir by Marquis de Sade, music by Bruno Nicolai

Eugenie, Jess Franco's Marquis de Sade-adaptations

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Available on DVD !

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Marianne (Maria Rohm) seduces Monsieur Mistival (Paul Muller) in order to persuade him to let his daughter Eugenie (Marie Liljedahl) spend a weekend on their island with her and her stepbrother Mirval (Jack Taylor), who is for some reason madly in love with the girl.

On the island, it doesn't take long for Mirval and Marianne to drug the girl and take advantage of her state. On the next day though, the two act as if nothing has happened and even she thinks that the rape was merely a nightmare. The next evening, Mirval and Marianne drug Eugenie again, only this time they have invited a group of followers of the Marquis de Sade led by Dolmance (Christopher Lee) to their home who torture poor Eugenie. The next day, Eugenie wakes up a nervous wreck, but when she is examining her bodies for traces of torture she finds none (in fact, the whole torture scenario was real but the actual torture was just make-believe, and therefore the pain she suffered was only in her head). Once again, Marianne and Mirval calm her down and convince her it was just a bad dream.

The third evening, Eugenie stumbles upon the dead body of a maid that is very real, and she was obviously killed by Mirval, who now awaits her to rape her right beside the dead body ... but Eugenie grabs a knife and stabs Mirval to death ...

Unfortunately though that's just the beginning because everything was jsut a fiendish plot set up by Marianne who wanted to get rid of her stepbrother on one hand, on the other she wanted to turn Eugenie over to the Sade-an circle because she thinks Eugenie stole the love of her brother from her. However, dolmance is not one to be bossed around, and instead of torturing Eugenie to death, he orders his disciples to do their stuff on Marianne, and he actively encourages Eugenie to join in the fun - until she rips out Marianne's heart.

At this point the sadists leave, leaving behind Eugenie with two murders (she really committed if out of self-defense) on her hand. In the end, a dexsperate Eugenie runs through the island in the nude in search of a hiding place.

 

Even if this is not director's Jess Franco's best fiolm as such, it is Franco at his best: Much naked flesh, a De Sadean script about innocence corrupted, very trippy storytelling and plenty of his characteristic unusual camera set-ups. If you care at all for retro-erotica, you will probably love that film.

In 1980, Jess Franco remade this film as Eugenie, Historia de una Perversión, starring a young Katja Bienert.

 

By the way: In interviews, Christopher Lee often claimed that Harry Alan Towers tricked him into playing in a softcore porn when hiring him for that and that all the shots of nudity were filmed after he had already left the set. This tale though is quite probably not quite correct since a) the scenes he's in involve quite little nudity and b) he is in at least one scene together with naked (or rather as good as naked, she wears a see-through something) Marie Liljedahl. It seems much more likely that Christopher Lee, when agreeing to do the picture, did not care too much about what it was about (i.e. didn't read the whole script) and only later found out the true nature of the film (though his lines clearly point in that direction), with no trickery involved - but that's just my guess to destroy another of these anecdotes that are too good to be true.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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produced by and starring
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directed by
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written by
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starring
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