Sunday, 16 October 2011



From the synopsis on Wikipedia (you can get the whole of Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch's book free online), it appears that this Massimo Dallamano film version is far closer than the Jess Franco film, which bore no resemblance whatsoever beyond having a character with the same name sometimes wearing a fur coat. At least this film is actually about the concept of masochism rather than globetrotting revenge from beyond the grave, and it's technically far superior to Franco's hamfisted zooms and focussing: it's properly photographed, directed and acted.

The masochist in this version of Venus In Furs is Severin, who is on holiday when he sees Wanda, a sexually uninhibited young woman with whom he falls in love. But what he really wants is for her to betray him: to seduce other men and humiliate him - he can only feel sexual pleasure at his own emotional torment. They marry, and they initially embrace the mistress/slave roleplay with gusto: he becomes her chauffeur and watches as she gives herself to other men. But it can't last and one particular man takes his place completely, throwing Severin out completely and even raping the maid in a frankly quite unnecessary sequence (from which the BBFC have removed one minute of footage).

It's also got a nice cheesy listening soundtrack (from the appropriately named Gianfranco Reverberi) and nicely shot, and the interior design of the boudoir is precisely the kind of bedroom I want. However, I don't know that the film does much in expressing and explaining the appeal of masochism - I don't understand how feeling humiliated fuels the sex drive. In Severin's it stems from an incident in his childhood but is that how it normally manifests itself? I genuinely don't know.

Perhaps it's a smidgen unchivalrous, but I'd rather watch Laura Antonelli wander around naked than (the still lovely) Maria Rohm from the Franco film. Generally, I kind of enjoyed it in parts, but as a sleazy sexploitation movie with more attractively showcased nudity than Franco managed, rather than as a serious film about a genuine sexual persuasion (which I'm sure it wasn't intended as anyway). Trivia note: the German versions had extra sequences in which Severin was declared insane; these sequences apparently include an uncredited Paul Muller who also appears in the Franco film.


Venus 2:

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