Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 9th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1969
Director: Massimo Dallamano
Writers: Inge Hilger, Fabio Massimo
Cast: Laura Antonelli, Régis Vallée, Loren Ewing, Renate Kasché, Werner Pochath, Mady Rahl, Wolf Ackva, Peter Heeg, Josil Raquel
DVD released: December 31st, 2007
Approximate running time: 82 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Shameless Films
Region Coding: Region 0 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £12.99
Synopsis: A childhood trauma leads a young man named Severin to explore his needs for inflicting and receiving pain. While on vacation Severin meets a young woman named Wanda who quickly falls under his spell. Will Severin find the ecstasy that has always alluded him or will his own insecurities push him over the edge?
Venus in Furs is based on Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s novella of the same name. Venus is Furs was directed by Massimo Dallamano who began his career as a cinematographer working on such notable films like A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More. His standout films as a director include What Have You Done to Solange? And What Have They Done to Your Daughters? The film’s psychedelic sounding score was composed by Gianfranco Reverberi (Delirium, Black Magic Rites). The score is at times reminiscent to the style present in many of the score that Bruno Nicolai composed for Jess Franco in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.
One must not overlook cinematographer Sergio D’Offizi’s contributions to the look and style of the film. Some of Sergio D’Offizi’s more notable films as cinematographer include The Eroticist, Don’t Torture a Duckling, Cannibal Holocaust and The House on the Edge of the Park. Visually Venus in Furs makes good use of its many exotic locations. The film’s strongest asset is the camera’s fluid movements and voyeuristic roving eye. This is film that relies heavily on visuals. The plot and underdeveloped characters are merely pawns that are strategically maneuvered for maxim effect. The bulk of the film revolves around Severin’s Sado-Masochism tendencies and during these scenes is when the performances in the film are most captivating.
Régis Vallée is cast in the lead role of Severin. Outside of Venus of Furs his filmography is limited to only two other films. Which is a shame since his performance in Venus in Furs is very good and it is surprising that it didn’t lead to more films. Laura Antonelli is cast in the films other main performance as Wanda the object of Severin’s desires. She certainly has the physical attributes that this role required while her performance is adequate at best. Ultimately Venus in Furs is a fascinating tale about pleasure and pain that fans of Eurotica will thoroughly enjoy.
Shameless Films presents Venus in Furs in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. Colors look robust and nicely saturated throughout. Print damage is minimal and black levels are strong. The image looks a tad soft in a few scenes, most notably during darker scenes. Overall the image looks reasonably sharp and the image remains stable throughout.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The audio while free of any major audio defects does sound a flat at times. Dialog is clear and music sounds evenly balanced throughout.
Extras for this release include trailers for Venus in Furs, Flavia the Heretic, Ratman, The Black Cat, The Frightened Woman, Night Train Murders, and Killer nun. Venus in Furs has been cut for its UK DVD debut. There is one minute and five seconds that has been removed from a scene involving a rape victim who starts to enjoy the assault. There is an uncut DVD of Venus in Furs that was released in Japan. Unfortunately the film is presented in a 1.33:1 cropped version from the film’s original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Overall the positives about this release outweigh its shortcomings as Venus in Furs gets a strong audio/video presentation from Shameless Film’s.