Monday, July 5, 2010

Eugénie de Sade (Jess Franco, 1970)

Is the desire to suffocate strangers while scantily clad come naturally, or is it more of an acquired skill like say, turnip juggling or the ability to go hand gliding over rural Saskatchewan? Some of you, no doubt, will be so preoccupied with the not even close to being strenuous act of drinking in the visual resplendence dangling from the lower half of Soledad Miranda's exquisitely shaped torso, that you will be unable to properly ask and answer that particular question. However, those possessing the ability to multitask–in other words, counterbalance the vital fluid that is rushing toward places that desperately need it to function effectively–will be surefooted when it comes to enjoying every tantalizing aspect that Eugénie de Sade (a.k.a. De Sade 2000) has to offer. Now this chunk of space is where I usually throw around titles like, "sleaze peddler extraordinaire" and "the crown prince of perversion" to describe filmmaker Jess Franco (Bloody Moon). And while those titles still apply–especially after seeing this film, which is loosely based on a novel by Marquis de Sade–I was genuinely surprised by the level of artistry at work here. It could have been the quality of the source material, or maybe it was completely accidental, but whatever it was, there's no denying that this film had an intoxicating aroma that elevated it beyond your typical slab of Eurosleaze. There was a classy air about it, one that mixed well with the film's seedier elements. Seriously, art and debauchery have never been so compatible with one another.

A shamelessly leggy woman, Eugénie Radeck de Franval (Soledad Miranda), and her author/book critic stepfather, Albert Radeck de Franval (a suave Paul Müller), live in a fancy home just outside Berlin (the winter scenery was eerily beautiful). Molding her like a delicious mound of sexy clay, Albert leaves titillating literature around the house with the hope that she will read them and slowly come over to his perverted way of thinking.

Helping matters is the fact that their relationship was already a tad on the wrong side. They routinely touch each other in an erotic fashion and occasionally share the same bed. Yet Albert wants to steer their creepy relationship in a more murderous direction. You see, he already kills people in his spare time, but now he feels it's time to include his stepdaughter in the homicidal fun.

Watching Eugénie grind her naked crotch into her bed from another room was the exact moment Albert decided to bring her into the sadism fold. Not an exact quote, but he basically tells her: "All pleasure comes at someone else's expense."

Dressed luxuriously in nothing but red, Eugénie and Albert travel to Brussels via Paris to dispatch their first stepfather-daughter victim. The boldness of their wardrobe is meant to convey a sense of obviousness; in that, sneaking around in the dark will not be their killing method. Anyway, combining three of my favourite things: Backroom fashion shoots, clueless Belgian women in lingerie (Alice Arno) and brightly coloured clothing, this overly chic sequence oozes style and elegance, as Eugénie gets her first taste of the stifling wonder that is close range asphyxiation.

A chatty Austrian hitchhiker is the next on the hit list. Bragging openly about her talent for sizing people up, Kitty (Greta Schmidt) hops in their car with the hope of getting a ride to Hamburg. Unaware of their murderous intentions, the dense women excepts an invitation to come over to their house to play dress up and bizarre drinking games. After failing in a game that involved playing dead, Kitty suggests that Eugénie's punishment be that she perform a striptease.

Even though she came off as annoying and shrill, the amount of love I felt towards Kitty the moment she utters the word "striptease" was off the freaking charts. Also, the genuine struggle Soledad goes through to remove one of her buckle-adorned boots was hilarious. It added humour to what was about to become a dire situation...for Kitty.

Bored with killing hitchhikers–they've apparently dispatched dozens–the kinky duo focus their sinister gaze on a Che Guevara-worshiping trumpet player named Paul (Andrés Monales). The plan is to make him fall in love with Eugénie and somehow get him to kill himself. As expected, Paul falls for Eugénie. (Duh, have you seen Soledad Miranda in thigh-high leather boots?) Totally unexpected, however, was that Eugénie would develop non-murderous feelings for Paul; and, not to mention, become somewhat obsessed with the uncombed roguery of his unshaven ass. This set of circumstances will probably complicate Eugénie's relationship with Albert, who is a bit a stickler when comes to the execution of a cutthroat scheme.

Further complicating matters is a greasy author named Attila Tanner (Jess Franco). He knows that Eugénie and Albert are killers, but looks the other way because he wants to write a book about them when all is said and done. Nevertheless, having this shifty author constantly following them around does cramp their style somewhat.

Cognizant to the fact that her world class legs were causing men discomfort (the external facet of their genitals presses against their tight trousers whenever they found themselves in her tasty presence), Eugénie would try to placate the nascent hardness brewing downstairs by grasping her legs with her arms when sitting.

As with almost every attempt to undermine the integrity of a man's erection since the beginning of time, Eugénie's actions only seem to exacerbate the situation.

Having sexy leg awareness (S.L.A. for short) seems to backfire in Eugénie's case. Her failure to thwart cocks (or as my Aunt Judy used to call them, "filthy coat hooks") from becoming engorged with blood is written all over her face. The tears she sheds are not over the fact that her stepdad is a lecherous fiend, but because she can't seem to contain her own sex appeal.

I'm afraid acute stiffness followed by some mild precipitation is a forgone conclusion whenever Soledad decides to hug her own legs.

Whether clasping at them with her arms, covering them with boots (adorned with long zippers and mouth-watering buckles), sheathing them in pantyhose, or decorating them with garter belt-assisted slabs of red leather, everything Soledad does with her legs ends with the same exact result: Male and female-based wetness.

The thought that Soledad might appear on-screen with her legs completely covered was my biggest fear as I watched Eugénie de Sade. Sure, there were a couple of instances where they were undetectable to the leg admiring eye (during a walk near an icy lake and while leaving the airport). But for the most part, they're on display in a manner that even the most casual gam fan would find agreeable.

Begrudgingly moving up her yummy frame, Soledad Miranda has the kind of piercing dark eyes that cut right through the noise and clutter of the world. You could totally tell that Jess Franco loved getting all up in her face with his camera. Add the girly vocalizing of the music score by Bruno Nicolai, and what you end up with a Soledad-laced treat from start to finish.

Special thanks to the friendly and relatively sane individuals over at Adventures In Nerdliness and Love Train for the Tenebrous Empire for making me aware of the this leggy lark.


  1. I love the (sort of) line, "All pleasure comes at someone else's expense". What?! The pics are great, too. It is remarkable how many you found of the girl in the exact same pose! Cool post.


  2. Glad you liked it. They really could have called it "Legs" couldn't they?

    I had not noticed all the leg clutching until you mentioned it. Perhaps it was a way to "Miley Cyrus" the then twenty-three year-old Soledad? Not that I find such a thing necessary.

    "Vampyros Lesbos" certainly maintains the leg action. I have not seen "She Killed in Ecstasy" yet, but I have high hopes.

  3. Tower Farm: Thanks, JM. I felt I had to post all those pics in order to justify the amount of figurative ink I used rambling about her unique sitting technique.

    Darius Whiteplume: Yeah, man, they could have easily called it that. Ironically, her legs are nowhere to be seen on the cover of the DVD.

    It's a leg clutching extravaganza!

    I haven't seen "Vampyros Lesbos" in quite some time... thanks for the reminder.

  4. Love the S.L.A. reference.

    Soledad Miranda is so beautiful... so much so that I find myself too distracted (or mesmerized) to objectively watch her films.

    No matter what kind of character he plays, it's always appropriate to describe Jess Franco's appearances as "greasy".

  5. Good point about being too distracted/mesmerized about watching Soledad. I mean, I having trouble remembering what this film was even about.

  6. I hate the psychic octopus. I'd like to send him hand gliding in Saskatchewan. Poor Dutch.

    I spent a night at a hostel in Brussels, debating on whether or not I was going to see Four Weddings and a Funeral in a foreign language. Flemish? French? I ended up not going, so I sat in my room and did crossword puzzles, which is actually similar to what I did in a hostel in Hamburg. No, I didn't hitchhike there.

    Soledad reminds me of someone. Maybe someone who hugs her legs a lot?

  7. A hand gliding psychic octopus from Saskatchewan. Hmmm, who should I pitch that idea to?

    Someone in my inner circle predicted that Spain would win the World Cup three months ago, so I'm dealing with a lot of insufferable smugness at the moment.

    You've been to Brussels? Coolness. Personally, I would have gone to Ghent... but still. ;)

    An habitual leg hugger.

    So, have you seen any decent movies this summer? Call me a negative Nancy, but everything out there looks like crap.

  8. Hand gliding - is that where you wave your hand over fields of billowing wheat while either running or driving through a field? I sure hope not. Franco's better than that. I get this film confused with Eugenie: Story of her Journey into Perversions, wherein what's his name, the Nordic alien with the weird blue eyes Jack something, opens and shuts the porch blinds a lot, while apparently on the same kool-aid David Lynch took to make My Son My Son What Have Ye Done... oh man, why can't America be cool like europe?

  9. I just saw the video at the ending of your post of the Eugenie's she really gots that thing you talk about in this post,gogreous

  10. Despite being a diehard Soledad fan for over a decade I only saw this recently. It was worth the wait! Glorious.