Saturday, November 28, 2015

EUGENIE ...THE STORY OF HER JOURNEY INTO PERVERSION (1970)


EUGENIE 
...THE STORY OF HER JOURNEY INTO PERVERSION (1970)
3-Disc Limited Edition BD/DBD/CD
Label: Blue Underground
Release Date: December 15th 2015 
Region Code: Region-FREE
Duration: 87 Minutes
Rating: Unrated
Audio: English DTS-HD Mono, Dolby Digital Mono 2.0 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.35:1)
Director: Jess Franco
Cast: Marie Liljedahl, Maria Rohm, Jack Taylor, Christopher Lee, Paul Muller

Synopsis: Marie Liljedahl (the luscious star of INGA) is Eugenie, an innocent young woman taken to an island paradise where she is initiated into a world of pleasure and pain controlled by the sinister Dolmance (the legendary Christopher Lee). But when she surrenders to her own forbidden fantasies, Eugenie becomes trapped in a frenzy of drugs, sadomasochism and murder. Can a frightened girl in the grip of carnal perversion find sanctuary in the orgies of the depraved? 

A young woman named Eugenie (Marie Liljedahl) becomes an unwilling pawn in a soul-maddening game of sexual corruption when the sultry Marianne Saint-Ange (Maria Rohm) seduces the young woman's father, somehow convincing him to let the young girl spend a weekend on her private island for some fun and games. Marianne also invites her creepy half-bother Mirvel (Jack Taylor) to the island for the arousing weekend, and together the pair of pleasure and pain crazed siblings set about drugging and corrupting the young girl. 


Eugenie is essentially a movie about the diabolical corruption of a young woman by two demented and incestuous siblings. They set about drugging her with drug-laced wine and having their way with her in a myriad of way. Afterward they re dress her and when she awakens she's confused and unknowingly used. Eugenie is so out of her mind on drugs that she believes the half-remembered orgies may have just been a bad wine-induced dream, but little does she realize. By the end of the movie she becomes entangled in sadomasochistic orgies and murder, with a shocker multi-twist finale that might leave your head spinning in the aftermath of this erotic tale of corruption. 

The early '70s were a great period of cinema for director Jess Franco, who at the time was just coming off the adaptation of the Marquis de Sade's Justine, the modern era sits well with the somewhat difficult sexual-deviancy of the material, though this adaptation also softens the blow of the source material, which is rather shocking even to this day. The production is lavish and the locations are pretty fantastic, the island location is something Franco would return to again and again in later movies, from She Killed In Ecstasy to Countess Perverse. As with may of his seventies movies the lensing is top-notch, gorgeous shots of the coastline and beaches surrounding Marianne's lavish island paradise are eye-catching with some great lensing and shot composition, with one awful exception. I couldn't ignore the numerous shots that were slightly out of focus, making me feel like my eyes were failing me. Some say that these focus-challenged shots are a device meant to convey the surreal, drugged-up state of mind of young Eugenie, but I that's a crock of shit, this is just not properly focused, and if you've watched any number of Franco movie yo know that this happens from time to time. It did begin to wear on me after awhile but I must say that in the long run the movie is so well shot that it's not ruinous to the movie overall, this is still a fantastic slice of '70s art house sleaze from Franco with a very cool exotic jazz score from Bruno Nicolai.

The cast is superb, we have the young and attractive Marie Liljedahl as the wide-eyed Eugenie, she's coming of age, sexually charged and a bit doe-eyed, but in a good way, not like Romina Power in Justine with her vacant expressions. Liljedahl has more range and nuance in her role, but she always comes through as a corrupted innocent, not a sex-kitten playing an innocent. Maria Rohm is fantastic as the gorgeously deviant Marianne Saint-Ange, she is detestable but she's so damn sexy, I wouldn't mind it if she corrupted me, as long as she kept her creepy brother out of it. Speaking of whom, we Eurocult star Jack Taylor as the half-brother of Marianne, a suitably creepy and deviant portrayal, Taylor always brings some heat to any of his roles. Horror icon Christopher Lee drops in for an extended cameo as the on-screen narrator Dolmance, of course adding a touch of class to the otherwise devious movie. 

Audio/Video: Eugenie ...the Story of Her Journey into Perversion (1970) arrives on Blu-ray from Blue Underground benefiting from a brand-new 4K HD restoration and as with Marquis de Sade's Justine the image is fantastic. This time out Franco with with scope aspect ratio and the results are wonderfully filmic. The HD image has a nice clarity about it, the organic film grain is nicely managed and the fine detail and colors are robust. Skin tones appear natural with just the right amount of sensual warmth, the movie also uses colored-tinted scenes bathed in red and they look great. The English DTS-HD Mono 1.0 audio is crisp and clean, the English-dubbed dialog and Bruno Nicolai's haunting exotic score come through nicely, optional English SDH subtitles are provided. 

Onto the extras we get 17-minute Perversion Stories extra carried over from the 2004 Blue Underground DVD featuring Interviews with Director Jess Franco, Producer Harry Alan Towers, and Stars Marie Liljedahl and Christopher Lee who speak about the making of the movie. Franco discusses the casting of the movie, and working with Christopher Lee, and a few of the locations used in the movie. Actress Marie Liljedahl also speaks about accepting the role, figuring that if Lee was on board it must be alright, while Lee for his part says he had no idea of the erotic nature of the movie, which I find a little hard to swallow. 

There's also a 18-minute interview with Stephen Thrower, author of "Murderous Passions: The Delirious Cinema of Jesus Franco", who again speaks about the various differences between the source material and the adaptation that appears on screen, not the least of which would be the contemporary setting, pointing out that Eugenie is toned down quite a bit, coming off a bit more like Sade's Justine than Eugenie. As with the Justine release from Blue Underground there's also writing on the film from Thrower adapted from his book "Murderous Passions: The Delirious Cinema of Jesus Franco", featuring promotional images and poster art, a CD track listing, chapter selection, and production credits for the movie.  Additionally there's a DVD featuring the movie with the same set of extras and a bonus CD of Bruno Nicolai's exotic lounge score, and a sleeve of reversible artwork featuring the original 2004 Blue Underground DVD artwork and an alternate artwork option. 

Special Features:
- Perversion Stories - Interviews with Director Jess Franco, Producer Harry Alan Towers, and Stars Marie Liljedahl and Christopher Lee (17 Mins) 
- Stephen Thrower on EUGENIE - Interview with the author of "Murderous Passions: The Delirious Cinema of Jesus Franco" (18 Mins) HD 
- Theatrical Trailer (3 Mins) HD 
- Poster and Still Gallery (123 Images) HD 
- 20-Page Collectible Booklet includes writing by author Stephen Thrower
- Eugenie Original Motion Picture Soundtrack CD by Bruno Nicolai (19 Songs, 55 Mins) 

This just might be a top five Franco movie for me, a nice blend of art house erotica and lurid exploitation, Franco was a master of both and rarely did they come together in such a delirious and woozy way onscreen, this is primo Franco. If you're a Franco-phile this is a serious no brainer, you need to own this. 4/5


1 comment:

  1. I have this film the actors and actresses had clothes on when it was made but then Jess Franco shot scenes of nudity in which made Sir Christopher Lee mighty angry has he hates porno pictures and porno films.Christopher never got told this by Jess Franco he found out from a friend of him.

    ReplyDelete