Written by: Michael Den Boer on December 11th, 2015
BluRay released: December 15th, 2015
Approximate running time: 87 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
BluRay Release: Blue Underground
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $39.98
Synopsis: A young woman named Eugenie is sent away to a remote island to spend time with her fathers’ mistress and her stepbrother. What should have been a relaxing weekend getaway, quickly turns into decadent game where the line between pleasure and plain are blurred.
Over the course of two years Jess Franco would collaborate with producer Harry Allen Towers on a total of nine films. With Eugenie… the Story of Her Journey into Perversion being their seventh collaboration and their 2nd adaption from the literary works of the Marquise De Sade. And once again the screenplay would be written Harry Allan Towers under the pseudonym Peter Welbeck.
Content wise, where their previous De Sade adaption Marquis de Sade’s Justine was an epic in scope costume drama set in the 18th century. This time around they would set the story at hand during the present and make it more intimate setting. Fortunately these changes greatly added to what the Franco’s vision and not a more sanitized version for the masses like its predecessor. Needless to say the end result as Eugenie… the Story of Her Journey into Perversion is clearly the superior of the two Franco / Towers De Sade adaptions.
When compared to Marquis de Sade’s Justine the first thing that immediately grabs you while watching Eugenie… the Story of Her Journey into Perversion is how much more explicit of adaption it is then its predecessor. And nowhere is this more evident then in its graphic deception of sexuality and sadism. With the film’s key moment of depravity being a scene where Eugenie’s will is finally broken by Madame Saint Ange and her stepbrother. Also while watching this film one can clearly see themes which would dominate Franco’s cinema from the 1970’s and beyond.
From a production standpoint the film is filled with gorgeous visuals and many moments that are filled with a tremendous amount of atmosphere. And when it comes to this film two leading Ladies Franco does not waste moment to showcase the more than ample assets. With one of the best moments in this regard being a scene where Madame Saint Ange helps Eugenie as she is taking a bath. Another strength of this film is when it comes to pacing it is never an issues as things are always moving forward.
From a casting perspective this film features another strong ensemble cast and more importantly a more inspired choice in regards to the casting of Marie Liljedahl (Inga) in the role of the film’s protagonist Eugenie. She delivers a captivating performance that finds just the right balance between naïveté and decadent behavior. Another remarkable performance includes Maria Rohm (Venus in Furs) in the role of Madame Saint Ange, she is Eugenie’s fathers’ mistress. Other notable cast members include, Paul Muller (Eugenie De Sade) in the role Eugenie’s father, Jack Taylor (Succubus) in the role of Madame Saint Ange’s step brother and Christopher Lee (Count Dracula) in the role of Dolmance, this character serves as a narrator for Eugenie’s journey.
Eugenie… the Story of Her Journey into Perversion comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. For this release a brand new 4k transfer was created. Just like the recently re-released Marquis de Sade’s Justine, this release has been given an extensive makeover and the end result is hands down the best this film has looked to date on home video. Areas of improvement include colors saturation, black levels and image clarity. Also there are no issues with DNR or compression.
This release has one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English. There are no issues with distortion or background noise and everything sounds balanced. Also dialog comes through clearly and the film’s soundtrack always sounds robust. Also included with this release are three subtitle options, English SDH, French and Spanish.
Extras for this release include, a poster & stills gallery, a English trailer for the film (3 minutes 23 seconds), a featurette titled ‘Perversion Stories’ (17 minutes 30 seconds, in English and French with English subtitles) and an interview with author Stephen Thrower the author of ‘Murderous Passions: The Delirious Cinema of Jesus Franco’ (18 minutes 7 seconds, in English).
The extra titled ‘Perversion Stories’ include comments from director Jesus Franco, producer / screenwriter Harry Allan Towers, actor Christopher Lee and actress Marie Liljedahl. Topics discussed in this extra include, how after making Marquis de Sade’s Justine Franco and Towers wanted to make another De Sade film, how the original source for Eugenie… the Story of Her Journey into Perversion was too explicit to shoot and how the screenplay was carefully crafted so that it retained the essence of the story, how Marie Liljedahl was cast due to the success of Inga, how Christopher Lee ended up in the film, locations that were featured in the film and Franco is a roundabout way reveals that this film is one of his favorites out of the films he made.
Topics discussed in the interview with Stephen Thrower include, other Franco / Towers collaborations, how Eugenie… the Story of Her Journey into Perversion was their second De Sade collaboration, how this film was a modern day adaption of De Sade, his thoughts on the casts performances and Christopher Lee’s last minute participation and how this film did not play theatrically in many countries due to its subject matter.
Rounding out the extras is a reversible cover art, a CD that contains the score for the film and a twenty two page book with cast & crew info, a lengthy essay about the film titled ‘Justine Among the Swingers: Jess Franco’s Eugenie’ written by Stephen Thrower and information about the CD that contains the film’s score. Also included with this release is a DVD that has the same content included on the Blu-Ray included as part of this combo release. Overall Blue Underground gives Eugenie… the Story of Her Journey into Perversion its best home video release to date.