Adult, Drama, Romance, Thriller

Eugenie (1970)

Comments Off on Eugenie (1970) 22 June 2016


Studio: Blue Underground

Theatrical Release: August 5, 1970 (USA) 

Blu Ray Release: December 15, 2015 

Director Jess Franco 

Not Rated 

Review by James Klein

Following his most expensive film to date Justine, Jess Franco went back to direct another Marquis de Sade adaptation. His take on de Sade’s novel “Philosophy in the Boudoir” is a bit more explicit than Justine. Changing the title to simply Eugenie, Franco shot this erotic nightmare on a much smaller scale centering on a young woman’s descent into perversion. While it was extreme for 1970, don’t expect the movie to be filled with over the top or extreme nudity or violence as it was a struggle for me to even make it through the entire 87 minutes.

From the very opening credits with a strange cloud-like mass across the opening title cards, this cryptic nightmare starts off promising as Christopher Lee narrates from de Sade’s book as he and a bunch of weirdos dressed in all sorts of strange garb stand in a black room as a naked woman has her heart torn out in what looks like an alter sacrifice. But this little intro doesn’t last long as it cuts to Madame Saint Angie (Maria Rohm from Justine) reading the novel that Lee was narrating. Sucked into this strange world of torture and perversion, Saint Angie seduces an older gentleman named Mistival (Paul Muller from Vampyros Lesbosso she can get to his young daughter Eugenie (Marie Liljedahl from the Swedish Inga films).

EugenieTired of being trapped under her parents wing, Eugenie accepts an offer from Madame to stay at her private island resort for an unlimited time. Without any questions asked, Eugenie’s first day at the island is sunbathing with the Madame completely nude but not before her breasts are cleaned in the bathtub by the hostess who tells her that someday a man will be doing this for her. I was just waiting for these two lassies to go at it and make Franco fuckins but it never happens unfortunately. The Madame’s strange step brother Mirvel (Jack Taylor from Pieces) is also staying with the two young ladies and he makes it all too clear he has the hots for young Eugenie as well as having a “deep” relationship with his sister.

Maria RohmWhile drugging Eugenie, Mirvel and the Madame have their way by raping Eugenie while she in unconscious as well as beating her with strange objects. The next day when Eugenie awakes they tell her she has drank too much wine and yet again, the brother and sister combo go at it again, taking their depraved acts to the extreme. Now at some point reality and fantasy come together as Christopher Lee pops up once again with his strange companions and allows more debauchery to take place as he quotes from de Sade. It is also made perfectly clear through the editing that Lee was not on the set during any of the sex scenes. At one point a woman looks like she is about to go down on Lee but stops half way and just falls to the ground.

Christopher LeeWhile this has all the makings of something bizarre and different, Eugenie sounds more exciting than it actually ever is. There are your standard Franco wide shots that last forever, like a lingering shot of someone in a boat going from one side of the screen to the other. There are many moments like this which made me think this was done purposely to pad out the running time. The more the movie went on, the more repetitive it became. The greatest sin is making a boring film and unfortunately this movie is dull. The performances are fine and Taylor is the stand out as the creepy Mirvel but all of the actors aren’t really given much to do aside from looking at one another while getting naked. I won’t get into character development in a Jess Franco film but I didn’t care or give two shits to what happened to anyone. And for Christopher Lee fans, he may be in the movie for all of five minutes tops.

Jess FrancoBlue Underground goes out of their way once again in making an ultimate definitive version of a movie that I feel didn’t really deserve the effort. First off, the saving grace of this film was the wonderful soundtrack by Bruno Nocolai and that is thankfully provided as an extra bonus CD. The picture quality is a mixed bag but this may not be so much Blue Underground’s fault. While the film’s colors are simply gorgeous and striking, I noticed many images out of focus and certain shots so soft that they looked like the lens was covered in vaseline. It feels like this was a directorial choice as I noticed it more during the nude scenes where naked fannies looked like blurred masses of flesh. The images going in and out of focus may be the result of the focus puller not doing his/her job when the camera was zooming or panning. Either way, its extremely distracting. The DTS -HD 1.0 mono soundtrack works fine with dialog being heard clearly and music not over powering the dialog.

Jess Franco's EugenieThe special features are definitely worth a look as there is a nice featurette on the making of the film with Franco, producer Harry Alan Towers, Marie Liljedahl (who still looks hot in a milf sort of way, even with the stick up her ass attitude) and the late, great Christopher Lee who laughs at how silly this movie is and admits he had no idea this was an erotic picture. Franco is particularly animated about how much he likes this film, maybe even citing it his favorite (Really Jess?) or as he puts it “his least hated”. I also enjoy his argument with Towers over not showing Jack Taylor’s penis during the sex scenes. Franco scholar Stephen Thrower has his own featurette and goes into great lengths about the making of the film as well as comparing this film to the original story, which he claims the violence in the original source as “unfilmable”. There is the theatrical trailer, poster & still gallery, a DVD of the movie, and a nice little booklet inside the blu ray on the making of Eugenie.

Franco fannyI think this blu ray is more of a curious purchase or for those who are complete Franco nuts that must own everything he’s done. It’s still better than anything that is currently out in U.S. theaters right now.

Movie Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Blu Ray Rating: ★★★½☆

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