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Hounded by the police on charges of inflammatory writing, the once handsome Marquis De Sade seeks refuge in an abandoned family mansion. This colorful movie depicts DeSade's life from childhood to manhood. A life infamous for erotic behavior, going from woman to woman, seeking a love that eludes him. Written by
Though I did not see this movie until recently I remember it's theatrical release in 1969. This was the film that Keir Dullea made immediately after his performance in "2001: A Space Odyssey", and by sheer irony the two films seem to be connected. As David Bowman his last scenes in "2001" took place in a French room that was decorated in French style. He left that room, in a very mysterious way, in that movie and seems, in "De Sade", to have continued with the French decor. However, his performance in this movie is very disappointing- particularly compared to his performance in "2001". In fact, the entire movie is a big disappointment.
I am of the opinion that if you have naked women and sex in a movie then it cannot be a total flop. And, in fact, the naked women in this film were the only thing that made this movie bearable to watch. As this movie was made in 1969 there were some aspects of female nudity they still could not show on the screen- they had to concentrate on breasts and butts back then. Nothing wrong with womens breasts and butts, but the total nudity that could be shown in movies by the late 1970s was still off limits in 1969. If you examine this film you will see that though there is a lot of female nudity in it; there is still a lot of "suggestion"-they could not show everything back then. And, that includes the sadistic scenes. Some sadism is shown but not enough to show how De Sade earned his reputation.
One very good thing about the DVD release of this movie is the recent (in the year 2001) interview with the writer Richard Mathison concerning the historical Marquis De Sade. He gives a bit of history about De Sade, and how he was actually something of a nice guy in real life. The movie could have taken an interesting turn (it almost did but not quite) on examining whether or not we are all sadists at heart. Sometimes the best thriller or mystery story is the one that ends with the perpetrator being discovered and finding that the bad guy is the one whose face is seen in the mirror (i.e. the observer). But, as disorganized as this movie is that aspect was not shown.
I remember this movie been considered disappointing in 1969. Thirty Eight years later it still is.
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