Eugenie, The Story of Her Journey Into Perversion (1969)

Genres - Adult, Drama, Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Sexploitation, Sex Horror  |   Run Time - 100 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Mark Deming

One of Jess Franco's earlier efforts at bringing the work of the Marquis de Sade to the screen (with many more to follow), Die Jungfrau und die Peitsche is rather subdued by Franco's standards, though it has enough nudity, decadence, and pretty people doing awful things to satisfy the vast majority of his fans. Die Jungfrau und die Peitsche (released in the United States as Eugenie: The Story of Her Journey Into Perversion) features plenty of lovely scenery and pleasing sequences of the idle rich enjoying themselves to balance out the lurid and enthusiastic torture sequences, though most of them are mildly creepy rather than bloodcurdling. Christopher Lee's all too brief supporting performance as master sadist Dolmance hits all the right notes (though it's not hard to believe his claims that the nudity was all filmed after his departure, so he wasn't aware of the full level of debauchery he was witnessing), and Maria Rohm and Jack Taylor are a fine pair of creepy, if attractive, libertines. Marie Liljedahl, however, takes top honors as the defiled innocent Eugenie, who walks an appropriate line between schoolgirl charm and ripe sexuality -- scoring impressively on both sides. Die Jungfrau und die Peitsche may be sleaze, but it's sleaze with style, delivering kinky softcore sex and amusingly pretentious philosophizing in amusingly equal measure.