Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Soledad, O Soledad
Greg Goodsell | Bakersfield, CA United States | 03/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Eugenie (Soledad Miranda) is a shy girl who lives with her famous writer stepfather (Paul Muller) in an isolated villa. Eugenie wiles away her days dressing like a streetwalker and sneaking peeks at hot titles in the library. One day she stumbles on to a slim volume that blends eroticism with murder. Her stepfather confronts her about the illicit peep, but reassures her that "it's high time you read about such things!" Together they conspire to murder a low-rent nudie model in Brussels while using their attendance at a Paris nightclub that same evening to cover their tracks. Once successful, they begin a killing spree targeting prostitutes. A writer (an unwashed Jesus Franco) is aware of their activities, but does nothing to stop them, too mesmerized from afar by their sex-and-death games. Eugenie then sets her sights on a virginal, young jazz musician and jealousy rears its ugly head. Daddy brutally attacks Eugenie and commits suicide, and Eugenie's deathbed confession falls on Franco's disapproving, fascinated ears.
Eugenie de Sade has an awful lot of what's to be expected in any Jesus Franco film. Ragged pans, halting zooms, a few sparsely furnished sets, nightclub scenes and Franco is an extended role. The very same elements appear in the director's many, many lesser films but with Eugenie de Sade he comes close to crafting a masterpiece. The film's success relies heavily on the tiny shoulders of doomed actress Soledad Miranda, who was to die in a car accident shortly after completion. Frequently seen in a crouching position, her knees to her pretty little face (although in some shots she looks much, much older than her 26 years), Miranda creates sexual tension by just being there. Wearing a red cape, floppy orange hat and oversized sunglasses during the initial murder, Video Watchdog Tim Lucas would later enthuse how Miranda would be the only actress capable of carrying off the scene in hideous thrift store clothing. Through his muse Miranda, Franco is able to milk much romanticism and high melodrama using familiar, shopworn materials.
Another factor contributing to the film's success is unexpected and little written about: a clear and consistent adherence to themes of the source material. Loosely based on Eugenie De Franval by the Marquis de Sade, Eugenie is a respectful exploration of classic sadism. In an interview included on the Blue Underground disc, Franco explains that as a 16-year-old boy living in Franco's Spain he was introduced to the works of de Sade from a kindly older gentleman's library. Flabbergasted by the Marquis' evil writings and clear-headed philosophy, the older gentleman, like the stepfather in the film assured him that "it was high time that he read such things!" Unable to film de Sade's fantasies on a box lunch budget, the finished product was at once too strong for the producers. Wide-eyed depictions of incest and murder amid the expected naked ladies were seen as off-putting to the European soft core market.
The film is especially damning to those who choose to watch it. The film's credits unspool over some lesbian groping by Miranda and a pretty blonde, and the viewer assumes that the shaky, handheld photography is just par for the course for a cheap sex film. It's only after Muller comes on to the scene and kills the blonde does it dawn on us that we're watching a snuff film, being screened with clinical detachment by Franco. De Sade argued that those who watch monstrous acts and do nothing to stop them are just as guilty as the perpetrators.
On a more personal level ... in my late teens I was given a thick book of de Sade's writings by an older relative, who perhaps decided that I was of age and it was also high time that I read such things. Fascinated and repelled, I would go on to do a research paper on de Sade, aided and abetted by an older female professor who I suspect was romantically interested in me, who was at once disgusted, but wanted to know more ... but I digress.
A final delicious tidbit is the interview with Franco included on the Blue Underground disc, which concludes with him forcefully denying that he and Miranda were lovers, but had a "father-daughter" relationship. As several others have pointed out, that's DEFINITELY not the impression he wants to leave the viewer with after they see this particular film!
Good and disappointing
Alfredo-Dario Franco | Deutschland | 02/17/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I like this film very much. It is one of the better Franco films and it is obvious that he was very much interested in the subject (the de Sade novel on which the film is based). So he created an interesting film, despite the fact, that he only had a small budget at his disposal. Soledad Miranda's and Paul Muller's performances are impeccable and even Franco's acting (as writer Attila Tanner) is acceptable, something that cannot be said of many of his other performances in his own films.
The presentation of the film itself is also flawless. The picture quality is very good and much better than in the previous DVD releases of this movie.
It is too bad that in my opinion the same cannot be said abouth the extras. My main interest (in fact my most important motive to buy this DVD) is the Jess Franco interview (ca. 20 minutes). I expected him to talk about the film, how the production was approached, how the shooting went, the casting, anecdotes, whatever he remembered about the movie. And what do we learn? Almost nothing of it all. He talks about de Sade, how he discovered his writings and then of course there is the inevitable talk about Soledad Miranda. Don't get me wrong, I like her much, she was very pretty and she really got into her role here (alas the same cannot be said about her performance in "Count Dracula", the movie made prior to "Eugenie"; there she is pretty as a wax doll, but almost as lifeless). But he hardly says anything about her that has not been said before in other interviews. I must say that this absolute focusing on this actress at the expense of all other actors and actresses which contributed to the making of this movie is beyond my understanding. I guess it can only be explained with her untimely death. Would there really be so much interest in her if she was still alive? Would we learn so much more about her than we learn about, let's say, Maria Rohm, Britt Nichols, Kali Hansa or any other starlet who made several films with Franco? I doubt that.
When I think about the fact that this might be the last time that Franco has been interviewed solely abouth this film I can only say that a golden opportunity has been wasted. It should have been so much more."
Ken Rodgers | 10/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Long ago and far away this kink classic was put together on a small budget. A must for collectors of kink."