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In a word; terrible. The actual story "Justine" is a somewhat perverted morality tale that has a very shrewd understory; de Sade is well known in spite of his fascination with the perverse - he truly was a gifted wordsmith.
Would that the same could be said of Franco's "Justine". According to Franco on the short interview included on the DVD, Romina Power was basically forced on him to be the "star", and he does not hide his disgust at her performance in the interview. Franco didn't want her, Power didn't seem to care either way (he said she rarely even knew when the camera was rolling; basically, she'd have a hard time even playing convincing furniture) and to things even better, Romina's Mom tagged along.
If you're looking for S&M, you're not going to find it here. If you're looking for nudity, you will find it here, but you quickly won't care. If you're interested in the Marquis de Sade, you won't learn anything about him by watching this. If you're on Death Row with two hours left, then this truly is the film for you; but all others should really steer clear.
Klaus Kinski was listed as the star of the film in Europe, and yet he speaks no lines and interacts with none of the other characters in the film. The first few minutes of the film (around 10 minutes, but it seemed like 30) show Kinski as the Marquis. He appears to be swimming in a sea of writing compulsions and drifting beyond the bounds of reality, or he's simply in dire need of a strong laxative. Either way, his segments are interspersed throughout the film, and they add absolutely nothing.
Jack Palance is wildly flamboyant, but it's hard to tell what the heck is going on with him anyway. In one particularly bizarre sequence he's gliding around on some sort of a wheeled dolly like a wax statue. According to Franco, Palance was always drunk, but he was pleased with his performance as Antonin.
It's not erotic. It's not sensual. It's not alluring. My wife and I watched it anticipating something like "The Story of O", but ended up with "The Story of O No". Definitely NOT recommended.
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