3 April 2013 | Michael_Elliott
Perversion is Right
Eugenie...the Story of Her Journey Into Perversion (1970)
*** (out of 4)
Jess Franco takes Marquis de Sade's Philosophy in the Boudoir and turns it into one of his best films. A young woman named Eugenie (Marie Liljedahl) is sent off to an island with Madame Saint Ange (Maria Rohm) and her perverted brother (Jack Taylor) and before long the two are sexually assaulting the girl as they act out various de Sade stories. EUGENIE is certainly one of the most bizarre films from this era and I don't think anyone other than Franco could have pulled the material off. I'm sure someone could have filmed a pretty version of this story but I think Franco perfectly nailed the situations because we're basically given one big nightmare for this girl with a psychedelic vision and a terrific score by Bruno Nicolai. What works so well with this film is the vision on its director because you really do feel as if you're watching some sort of strange and perverted trip. I really loved the red tinting that Franco used during certainly scenes and especially all through the finale. This really does add a surreal feel to everything you're watching. Add in the terrific score, which at times is rather playful (example: when Rohm helps Liljedahl with a bath) and at other times creepy and perverse. Another major plus is that Franco is given one of his best casts to work with. I thought Liljedahl was very good in her role. Yes, there are times where she can't fully capture the deprived situation of the character but other than this I thought the actress looked the part and was quite believable during the seduction scenes. Taylor isn't a master actor or anything but he manages to turn in a fine performance as does Paul Muller in his brief role and Herbert Fux in his cameo. It's also fun seeing someone like Christopher Lee in a film like this even though he wasn't aware of what type of film they were making around him. Rohm is the real stand out here as she's really one of the main vocal points in the film. She certainly has the look of the character but also manages to make you believe in everything she's doing. EUGENIE has some flaws throughout including some pacing issues and there are times where the soft or out of focus cinematography is just rather annoying. Still, this isn't a very easy story to tell but Franco brings it to life like only he can.