REVIEWED BY-STEVE GENIER DIRECTED BY-CLAUDE PIERSON CAST-ALICE ARNO, YVES ARCANEL, MICHEL BERTAY, GEORGES BEAUVILLIERS, CHANTAL BROQUET, CHRISTIAN CHEVREUSE and FRANCO FANTASIA. SOURCE-X-RATED KULT (PAL R2) DVD(2005)
This taken from the famous Marquis de Sade book, we follow Therese a poor orphaned girl who is trying at all costs even with her own life to keep her virtue from the evils of sin. In her journeys she is met with several situations, saving the life of a man who is being held against his will in return for Thereseís chaste. Promising it only to help the man escape and run off with him while the robbers are asleep. The man at first pledges his life in return, and then his true colors emerge as becomes ruthless as his needs become the main priority. A Count who has the lust for erosing in the heat of sucking oneís blood. As well as a convent of hermits whoís acts arenít so faithful in the eyes of God. Every case situation, every good deed she performs, Therese finds out that her act of generosity comes with a hefty price to pay. Though she has been tortured, poked and probed, she ultimately finds her true identity at journeyís end.
I found director Claude Piersonís version of this tale quite enjoyable indeed. At first I thought I was in for another mindless adult romp, but was pleasantly surprised at how I become instantly interested in not only the obvious amounts of nudity, but by itís storyline as well. Though there are areas that tend to get tedious and repetitive, especially when with the start of each new situation Alice Arnoís character of Therese encounters, she gives the same speech about her being a poor orphan etc. These areas really are limited and donít effect the pace of the overall film too deeply, in fact next to nothing really. Still, small things tend to get to oneís patients here in there. Though for the most part Piersonís direction is pretty much your usual European softcore with the odd hardcore situations from time to time. He dives into almost every sexual situation known to man, with a few exceptions of course. With the bulk of these sexual themes being S&M, rape, group sex and yes gay themes as well. One would find it quite impossible for a character like Therese, though wanting to keep her virginity intact, and is even for her. Though skiving with her chaste intact a couple of times, it is only a matter of time before they get the best of her.
Even the acting in JUSTINE DE SADE is quite passable as well, all involve really do a passable job even for this being a period piece. Even the very voluptuous Alice Arno (A VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD, EROTIC KILL) is quite fun to watch as she makes her way through a maze of sexual debacles and situations. Her pleading for mercy knowing that she really wants whatís coming to her, or at least one would read into this. One thing I could never figure out though was why didnít they just tell her to keep her clothes off seeing that you canít count the amount of time see would take them off or keep them on for lack of a better reasoning. Still, this is no classic, but does harbor a worthwhile viewing especially for those who enjoy European exploitation, as well as softcore/hardcore romps.
Just a few tidbits about the films that interested me, one in particular is when Therese was entrenched in a plot to kill the one Countess with poison, she tells the Countess thus spoiling the plot. The Countess wanted proof of such a crime and Therese provides her with the package of poison she was to use, in turn the Countess pours it into her tea letting her dog drink it. Now, the scene afterwards yields a dog breathing itís last breath and I assure you it seems quite real and very disturbing. It seems that they had employed the services of a dying dog who had been given a lethal injections as was filmed during it's last moments. Another little tidbit about this film is, for one itís not to be mistaken for Jess Francoís 1968 film MARQUIS DE SADE: JUSTINE as well as. I have also saw that Franco had directed another film with the title JUSTINE (1975) which was either a re-edit of Claude Piersonís film which has hardcore inserts of Lina Romay or itís a Franco film that uses inserts from Piersonís film. Either or, I would like to know more about this so email or post something in our forum with any information about this.
This disc is presented in an anamorphic wide-screen (1.85:1) and is completely uncut. Audio wise the disc offers the choice of either an French or German option with English subtitles which are removable. The French audio in which I viewed it with is quite rich sounding. The X-Rated Kult DVD isnít the best offering they have had in the past as it seems that the restoration of this film really took to the backseat. Throughout the film get frustrated with the pixel trails when object move especially in scenes involving close-ups. Extras wise, you can watch the complete theatrical version of JUSTINE which is only presented with German options and is not restored. There is also a photo gallery and trailer for the film. Sadly this is not one of the better offerings available through this highly regarded German DVD company.
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