Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 18th, 2007
Theatrical Release Dates: Spain, 1984
Director: Jess Franco
Cast: Alicia Príncipe, Carmen Carrión, Daniel Katz, Mari Carmen Nieto, Mauro Ribera
DVD released: April 24, 2007.
Approximate running time: 92 minutes
Aspect ratio: Anamorphic 2.35:1 Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Spanish
DVD Release: Severin Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
Synopsis: Odile is a beautiful and young American tourist who is seduced by a couple who are staying at the same hotel she is. The couple slowly gains her trust before selling her as a sex slave to a woman named Princess Bombaqui. Odile loses herself in the throws of passion as the seduction become more sadistic and bizarre with the consequences of her actions leading to dangerous climax.
Jess Franco’s The Sexual Story of O should not be confused with Just Jaeckin’s film The Story of O. Franco was forced to use the title because at the time Just Jaeckin’s films where very successful. The Sexual Story of O like many of Franco’s films can finds its inspiration in the works of the Marquis De Sade. Visually The Sexual Story of O is a nearly flawless film that is filled with beautiful compositions that perfectly compliment the various locations used in the film. Direction wise Franco’s style is evident through out it is just not as heavy handed as he gets in some of his films.
Even the erotic scenes are not as explicit as one would expect while watching a Franco film. Ironically the erotic scenes in The Sexual Story of O are some of the least effect that I have seen in any Franco film. I found them crudely put together and as un-sexy as any scene of this type can be. During his interview Franco does discuss how he wanted to make a erotic film unlike anything he had previously done so the lackluster end result of these erotic scenes might be intentional.
If you are looking for a plot or characters that are multidimensional then look elsewhere since this plot and its characters are virtually invisible. I found the first half of the film where the couple seduces Odile to be overlong and dull. It is padded with endless sex scenes and little if any dialog is spoken. This first half of the film feels padded and it lacks any redeeming qualities. The second half of the film is where things start to get interesting. Those who can make it through the first act will be rewarded with a entertaining second half of the film that leads up to one of the most unusual even by Franco standards endings.
This film doesn’t feature any of Franco’s regular cast and only a few of them would appear in other Franco projects. The strongest part of the cast is actress Alicia Príncipe who does an admirable job playing the young and innocent Odile. The films core was composed by frequent Franco collaborator Daniel White under the name Pablo Villa. The melancholy score which also features a famous music cue from Franco’s Female Vampire perfectly compliments the films visual style. Ultimately The Sexual Story of O starts off as Peeping Tom’s version of Rear Window before settling into a more brutal piece of S&M delight.
Severin Films presents The Sexual Story of O in an anamorphic widescreen which retains the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The colors and flesh tones look natural and faithfully reproduced. Black levels remain are solid as there is an exceptional amount of detail present in every frame. The source material used for this transfer is free of any print damage, artifacts or edge enhancement. Overall this flawless looking transfer looks spectacular.
This release comes with one audio option the films native Spanish language which is presented in a Dolby Digital mono. This audio mix is free of any audio defects. Dialog is clear and music and effects sound full and evenly balanced. Overall considering this films age and rarity the audio mix sounds exceptionally good. Removable English sub titles have been included that are easy to follow and free of any typos.
Extras for this release are limited to fourteen minute featurette titled “Franco’s O”. During this interview Jess Franco discusses the genesis of the film and why he directed this film, he also talks in depth about the various cast member son the film. Overall Franco’s comments are candid and give a thorough recap about the making of this film.
Severin adds The Sexual Story of O a rarely seen Jess Franco film to their ever growing collection of the directors’ films. There release gives fans the chance to see the film for the first time on DVD uncut and in its original aspect ratio. Severin’s The Sexual Story of O DVD release is a solid effort that comes with a stunning audio/video presentation and a insightful interview with Jess Franco, recommended.