Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 11th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1988
Director: Akio Jissoji
Writer: Rio Kishida
Cast: Yasumi Hara, Renji Ishibashi, Seiran Li, Kimiaki Makino, Koji Shimizu, Kumiko Tachibana, Minori Terada, Miwako Yonezawa
DVD released: June 30th, 2009
Approximate running time: 96 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Japanese
DVD Release: Mondo Macabro
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
Marquis De Sade’s Prosperities of Vice was directed by Akio Jissoji, whose diverse filmography includes a 1979 feature film adaption of Ultraman, Art House films like Poem and Lived in a Dream, Erotica like Utamaro: Dreams and Knowledge and The Waltz, three films based on the works of Rampo Edogawa The D-Slope Murder Case, Rampo Noir and Yaneura no sanposha and the Anime Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis. Masao Nakabori the cinematographer Marquis De Sade’s Prosperities of Vice frequently worked with director Akio Jissoji. Visually Marquis De Sade’s Prosperities of Vice fluid camera movements and juxtapositioning of objects and characters for maximum effect is this films strongest asset. Another area where this film excels is in its sound design which exaggerates sounds like dripping water, thunder, the ticking of a clock and heartbeats.
The plot interweaves the writings of the Marquis De Sade with the lives of the criminals who perform for the Count. Each characters back-story is fully illustrated by showing parallels in their lives that correlate with events from the writings of the Marquis De Sade. The story takes a darker turn when life imitates art and one of the actors at the counts theater is murdered. The counts downward spiral and those who he surrounds himself with faithfully capture the essence of the Marquis De Sade.
Marquis De Sade’s Prosperities of Vice should not be viewed in the same way that one would expect when watching a Nikkatsu Roman Porno. This film is one of the first made by Nikkatsu after they decided to take a step back from the Roman Porno genre. This new style / genre, was given the brand name Ropponica. Sex scenes are not the focus as they are tame by Roman Porno standards and for those who are easily annoyed by the use of mosaic to blur naughty bits, there is no use of mosaic or any other obtrusive devices in this film. The acting ranges from good to exceptional with the standout performance coming from Koji Shimizu in the role of the count. One of the film’s more memorable moments is a scene where the Count is pretending to whip his wife as part of the play they are participating in. Without warning his wife turns around and she is lashed across her chest with the whip causing her to show her no found ecstasy in a moment of pain.
Mondo Macabro presents The Prosperities of the Vice in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer has been flagged for progressive playback. This is another solid transfer from Mondo Macabro that is on par with their other Nikkatsu Roman Porno DVD releases.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in Japanese and removable English subtitles have been included. The audio is in great shape as dialog is clear and everything sounds balanced.
Some of the extras included on this release like a text piece about Nikkatsu Studios, a twenty four minute documentary titled “The Erotic Empire” and trailers for Female Prisoner: Caged!, Watcher in the Attic, Naked Rashomon, Sins of Sister Lucia, The Prosperities of the Vice and Assault! Jack the Ripper, these extras also appear on the Mondo Macabro DVD release’s for Assault! Jack the Ripper, Watcher in the Attic, Sins of Sister Lucia, Naked Rashomon and Female Prisoner: Caged! “The Erotic Empire” documentary includes comments from actress Kozuko Shirakawa, Jasper Sharp author of “Behind the Pink Curtain”, director Seijin Suzuki, film critic Toshiyuki Matsushima and artist/filmmaker Romaine Slocombe. This documentary gives a well rounded overview of the Nikkatsu Roman Porno genre. Extras new to this release include a text piece about The Prosperities of the Vice and a seven minute interview with Jasper Sharp who discusses Ropponica (Nikkatsu Studios attempt to re-brand the Roman Porno genre), director Akio Jissoji’s eclectic filmography and the censoring of the works of the Marquise De Sade in Japan. Overall this is another superb DVD release from Mondo Macabro.