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Devil in the Flesh (1969)
"Le malizie di Venere" (original title)

 |  Drama  |  1976 (USA)
5.4
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Ratings: 5.4/10 from 302 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 12 critic

Based on the infamous novel by Leopold Sacher-Masoch this fine film follows the perverted passions of a young couple as Severin watches the beautiful Wanda writhing naked amongst furs. His ... See full summary »

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(novel) (as Leopold Sacher-Masoch) , (screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Laura Antonelli ...
Régis Vallée ...
Loren Ewing ...
Bruno (as Ewing Loren)
Renate Kasché ...
Blond Maid (as Renate Kasche)
Werner Pochath ...
Andreimis - Young Fisherman (as Verner Pochath)
Mady Rahl ...
Helga Witte
Wolf Ackva ...
Heshwan - Horse Breeder
Peter Heeg ...
Psychiatrist
Josil Raquel ...
Brunette Maid
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Storyline

Based on the infamous novel by Leopold Sacher-Masoch this fine film follows the perverted passions of a young couple as Severin watches the beautiful Wanda writhing naked amongst furs. His disturbing peeping tomism triggers off a whirlpool of emotions due to a childhood episode which punishes voyeurism with pain. Written by Ørnås

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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She'll Beat You Into Ecstasy! See more »

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Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Devil in the Flesh  »

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,  »
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| (Redemption Films)

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It was filmed in 1969 for the German market, like Venus in Furs (1969). In 1973 it was released in Italy for the first time and immediately confiscated by the authorities. In 1975 it was released again in Italy after all the sex scenes were cut and replaced with plotless judicial scenes. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Way ahead of its time
8 December 2014 | by (Munich, Germany) – See all my reviews

The 1969 "Venere in pelliccia" could have been Laura Antonelli's big break, had it been released in Italy. It would have predated "Malizia" by four years, but due to censorship problems, it came out in other European markets only. Finally, in 1975, in Italy as well – but in a heavily edited and changed version. More on that later.

The lake Tegernsee in Upper Bavaria: Writer Severin's leisure is interrupted when the gorgeous model Wanda arrives at his hotel. He can spy on her through the wooden wall between their rooms, and quickly falls in love with her. After a rather old-school advance, they get together. Severin then discloses his sexual fantasies: In his view a man is defined by his childhood experiences and traumas. For him, this means he has to suffer in a relationship, both physically and mentally. Wanda on the other hand is used to cheat on her partners, but she falls in love with Severin and agrees to play along in his games. This means for her to have sexual encounters with other men, enforced and watched by Severin. But after a couple of weeks, during their honeymoon in Spain, Wanda is sick of it and the relationship spirals downwards into disaster…

This may sound very plot- and dialog- driven, but it actually isn't. Characterisation and motivations are explained very quickly and mostly through thoughts (in voice-overs). It's up to the viewer to interpret the rest, although there are instances where this doesn't work out completely. Especially regarding Wanda's actions I was not convinced throughout. At one point she is obviously sick of it all, beats Severin down and we see him hurt and bruised. But in the next scene, the bruises are gone (some time must have passed) and they are back in their role playing. Why would she stay with him after that, given that she is a nymphomanic, self-confident dream girl and can do whatever she wants? But maybe that's just me who can't see that, as said, it's up to the respective viewer. A little bit of explanation would have helped, especially since this is a rather short film, not reaching the 90 minutes mark.

Problems like these are easily forgiven, as this is a fantastic film to watch. The visuals are incredibly well- made, every single scene is shot perfectly. The locations are beautiful, too, especially the lake and meadows of the first half. The score supports the plot perfectly. A fascinating mix of 60ies lounge-piano and wild, psychedelic flower-power feel.

And oh boy, this movie is hot. Incredibly hot. For the time of production, it goes surprisingly far, but this is still the time when you couldn't show all and had to be creative. The amount of nudity (including full frontal) and sex scenes performed by Laura Antonelli is absolutely incredible, and the director and camera knew what they were doing. Tasteful and absolutely arousing.

Speaking of the actors, Régis Vallée performs decently and is convincing, although he may seem a little bit too passive towards the end of the film. Laura on the other hand puts her heart and soul into her role. She steals most of the scenes with Vallée, and definitely not just for appearances.

Now let's speak of the Italian version of 1975. You can see by the way it was made that the censors have had problems with two things: The sado-masochistic aspect of Severin wanting to suffer, and some of the sex scenes were too explicit. So they brought in Vallée to shoot a background story: Severin is in jail (and later in court), being accused of the murder of that guy Bruno (they shot some extra scenes with that actor, too). Severin tells the story of his relationship to Wanda and how it could come to the murder. It is terribly boring. The 1969 scenes are arranged differently (mixing Bavaria and Spain scenes at random), and strongly edited. The voice-overs, all the "suffering" dialogs, all gone. It's not true the sex scenes were all cut, many are completely intact. Others were shortened, for the scene at the lake, when Severin satisfies Wanda orally, they even added a filter on the right side of the picture in order to cloak what's going on. And the horse sex scene is gone, too, luckily. The film was re-dubbed completely and shows Severin as a normal guy who falls for Wanda, who is the one to openly cheat on him and cause them to break up which leads to the murder. Anyway, the 1975 one is a total waste of time and should you decide to watch it, you should do it before you watch the 1969 version.

Overall, this is a very good film and an absolute must-see for fans of Laura Antonelli (although I didn't like her dyed hair and the strong make-up too much). The sexual liberality is surprising, sometimes shocking, clearly the film was way ahead of the times. Superb cinematography and soundtrack, convincing actors and a controversial subject – but go for the 1969 version please.


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