Justine (1968) Blue Underground Limited Edition 3-Disc Blu-ray Review

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Verdict

Summary

The film is one of the most visually stunning erotica flicks ever made.

Plot:

After being expelled from school, an innocent girl has a series of misadventures, and her tale prompts the imprisoned Marquis de Sade to create a novel about her.

 

Review:

When their parents die, schoolgirls Justine (Romina Power) and her sister Juliet (Maria Rohm) are forced out of the school they’ve attended for years. With only a hundred crowns each, they wander around Paris and end up in a fancy bordello, where Juliet is immediately taken under the wings of the prostitutes, while Justine is cast out once more for being too timid and irrational. She is immediately stolen of her money and placed in the temporary care of a lecherous idiot who attempts to whore her off, but this does not last long, as Justine escapes to the countryside and falls in love with an artist. When Parisian police search the countryside for her (thinking she’s a thief), she escapes for her life once again and is saved by a gang of filthy libertines who take her in and train her for a particular mission that includes murder. When she fails at her mission, she is labeled a murderer nonetheless, and she flees once again, this time to be taken in by a blasphemous order of priests (headed by a delightfully delirious Jack Palance) who worship nothing but desire. She’s put into a jail with a lot of other females, and over time she becomes their leader’s favorite study, who takes pity on her and releases her into the wild since she has a pure heart and spirit. Justine joins a carnival side show and becomes a spectacle (she’s stripped nude every night for the pleasure of intoxicated audiences), but when it’s found that she has a murder mark on her body, she’s handed over to the police and sentenced to death by hanging. Justine enters a convent after a last-minute rescue by her sister, who’s become a renowned and rich prostitute. She’ll likely spend the rest of her days pondering the tragedies of her childhood. The wicked Marquis de Sade (Klaus Kinski, who never speaks a word) writes her tale in a distant jail…

 

Justine, exploitation director Jess Franco’s beautifully-mounted (sorry, I had to) production, may very well be his finest, and it’s obvious that he was working with a large budget, expensive sets, costumes, and locations. The film is absolutely breathtaking in its splendor, and it has some of the most beautiful ladies – nearly all of them have many naked moments – making it one of the best-looking erotica films of all time. Palance steals the show in his few moments (he’s funny), and actress Romina Power is a beautiful young woman who may not have had the screen presence or gravity of some of her contemporaries, but she does a good job in the role. The film isn’t as weird or twisted as it might have been, and it’s really a very good tale of a woman’s journey through adversity.

 

Justine is available on Blu-ray as a three-disc limited edition Blu-ray set from Blue Underground, which includes a bonus CD soundtrack by Bruno Nicolai, an insert booklet, interviews, trailers, and a still gallery. Jess Franco trashes actor Romino Power in an old interview, which is fairly revealing, and he joyfully claims that Jack Palance was intoxicated with wine by 7 a.m. every morning on the set.

 

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