Written by: Michael Den Boer on December 13th, 2007
Theatrical Release Date: France, 1970
Director: Jess Franco
Cast: Soledad Miranda, Paul Muller, Andrés Monales,Greta Schmidt, Alice Arno, Jesus Franco, Marius Lesoeur
DVD released: January 29th, 2008
Approximate running time: 91 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono French, Dolby Digital English
DVD Release: Blue Underground
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
Synopsis: Albert Radeck is a controversial author who has been raising his daughter Eugenie since her mother passed away shortly after she was born. Eugenie has always idolized her father and when he comes to her with the idea of how to commit the perfect crime she readily joins him on his diabolical game of murder and deceit. They become closer with each crime they commit that is until the day when Eugenie allows another man into her life which enrages Albert by pushing him over the edge and further isolating him from the only person he ever loved.
Jess Franco is a Euro/cult filmmaker who over the last fifty years or so has directed around two hundred films. Visually and subject matter Franco’s cinema has a lot in common with the writings of the Marquis de Sade who is in many ways Franco’s artistic soul mate. They may have been born in different centuries and yet there views on sadism and eroticism are mirror images of each other. Through the years Franco has made many films that incorporate elements of the Marquis de Sade with only a handful of films being faithful adaptations of the De Sade like these films Justine de Sade, Eugenie… the Story of Her Journey into Perversion, Justine and Eugenie De Sade.
This time around for Eugenie De Sade Franco goes for a modern day retelling instead of making a period era film. The plot and its characters lend themselves to anytime and anyplace as they are timeless in quality. The killers identities are known from the get go and the murders they commit are done in a more natural/crude way which only helps further drive home the brutality of the killings. The sex in the film at times looks and feels awkward. Jess Franco is a director who is known for his style and camera acrobatics and yet he approaches Eugenie De Sade is more subdued manner then he would in any of his other De Sade adaptations.
One of Eugenie De Sade’s strongest selling points is of course actress Soledad Miranda who gives her most memorable and refined performance of her career. Soledad’s stand out moment is when she does a strip tease for a hitch hiker who they pick up to murder. Soledad turns what could have been another sexy moment with her in unintentional comedy moment as she struggles to remove clothing. The film’s most awkward scene is the sex scene between Soledad and Paul Muller which totally lacks any eroticism. The films extraordinary score was composed by Bruno Nicolai. Some of the motifs in the film appear to be direct lifts from other films that Bruno Nicolai worked with Franco on. Ultimately Eugenie De Sade is a solid adaption of Marquis de Sade’s novel “Eugenie de Franval” and even though it is a film not without its own minor flaws the end result is a film that every Franco fan should enjoy.
Eugenie De Sade has been released on DVD twice before once in North America by Wild East and the other release comes from the UK via a company named Oracle. Neither of these release where flawless or without their drawbacks like cropping of the image. Now in 2008 we have a third release this time via Blue Underground who sources their release from the film’s original negative and the difference in this release when compare to the two previous releases is monumental. Colors have never looked as vibrant or accurate as then now due. Details look equally sharp in the background and foreground. There are no problems with print damage and edge enhancement is mild.
This release comes with two audio options English and French. There is no much difference between them quality wise as they both offer clear dialog and are free of any major sound defects. Removable English subtitles have been included that are easy to follow and understand.
Outside of a English language trailer for the film the only other extra is twenty minute interview with Jess Franco and as always Franco is candid in his remarks which are interesting and at times entertaining. I would find it difficult for anyone to top Blue Underground’s definitive release of Eugenie De Sade, highly recommended.