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Die Marquise von Sade (1976)

A lonely aristocrat Miss Gray has a twin sister who's in an asylum. They share a strange bond. Miss Gray is rational but frigid while her sister is insane yet feels sexual pleasure for both... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Doriana Gray / Doriana's Twin Sister
Monica Swinn ...
The journalist
Raymond Hardy ...
Ziros
Peggy Markoff ...
Blond victim
Martine Stedil ...
Ziros's Girlfriend
Andrea Rigano ...
Nurse
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A lonely aristocrat Miss Gray has a twin sister who's in an asylum. They share a strange bond. Miss Gray is rational but frigid while her sister is insane yet feels sexual pleasure for both of them. A female reporter arrives at the mansion. Written by Anonymous

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1976 (Switzerland)  »

Also Known As:

Doriana Grey  »

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1.85 : 1
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Spoofed in Vampire Killer Barbys (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

DAS BILDNIS DER DORIANA GRAY aka DORIANA GREY (Jesus Franco, 1976) ***
17 October 2004 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

While I had always been intrigued by the plot (maybe because I've a twin brother myself:)!) of this, my 25th Jess Franco movie, and the fact that it was inspired – if ever so loosely, as is his norm – on Oscar Wilde's literary classic 'The Picture Of Dorian Gray', I was a bit wary of approaching the film in view of its graphic depiction of sexuality which, this time around, can ONLY be described as pornographic. Well, surprisingly enough, I didn't hate it because of this and, in a strange way, it was kind of refreshing to watch the real thing as opposed to its bland/fake representation in most mainstream films – though it does overstay its welcome, in the long run, despite the relatively brief running time.

The narration and the various conversations between Lina Romay and Monica Swinn (lending it a vaguely intellectual slant), coupled with the natural beauty of the settings, are the best of it, in my opinion…not that there's much else to look up to:). I also liked the eclectic, and lyrical quality of the soundtrack comprised of Walter Baumgartner's sitar-infused score and the 'invading' audio effects of the various natural elements that are present all around Chateau Grey. Besides, the clarity of the DVD transfer (marred only by a curious stop-motion effect every once in a while, possibly the result of some missing frames), the muted color scheme, and the frank sexual content makes it feel like a product from some two decades later – which is a good or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it! What I mean to say by this last statement is that the film was totally removed from the Franco of the early 1960s or his work for Harry Alan Towers (which are perhaps the periods I admire the most, or have most affinity with) and, if anything, is probably a very good indication of where his cinema was really heading to, starting from the mid-70s up till the present day.

DORIANA GREY gives Lina Romay what is possibly her greatest role(s), though the mad sister is somewhat annoyingly one-note (despite her frequent rendition of a delicate ditty); the Lady Grey character, on the other hand, was quite well-sketched, compelled to love her partners to death – gradually becoming more bestial (reaching its apex in the disquieting 'murder' of Ziros' girlfriend, aided by him, and later his own messy demise). Unfortunately, however, the all-important confrontation between the two sisters feels rather hurried and, consequently, is not as effective as it should have been; in fact, the pace bogs down during the whole last section and the film ends on a mysterious (did she masturbate herself to death, too?!) and abrupt note. By the way, why, if the film was transferred to DVD from the original negatives, are there no credit titles at all?!

The film is considered by some as virtually a remake of an earlier Lina Romay vehicle, FEMALE VAMPIRE (1973), which I've yet to see; also, in DORIANA GREY, Franco inserts (for no good reason!) his recurring Dr. Orloff character whose function here, however, is marginal at best and adds next to nothing to the proceedings! In the end, the formal attractiveness of the film (an Erwin C. Dietrich production) makes for a very interesting contrast, I think, with the crude, almost inconsequential but more fervently experimental and personal films from his Robert De Nesle period.

The newly-recorded English dubbing feels too studied on the whole; the narration, at least, comes off as appropriately detached (though the original German language would definitely have been preferable, as evidenced by the brief subtitled snippets featured in the documentaries elsewhere on the DVD). This being my first opportunity to check out VIP's 'The Official Jess Franco Collection', I'd say that the extras were pretty well done. There was some initial disappointment regarding Erwin Dietrich's comments during the restoration featurette not being subtitled (though sections of it are reproduced 'correctly' in other parts of the supplementary section). The numerous pieces on JACK THE RIPPER (1976) make it sound reasonably enticing, apart from the excessive violence, and they also stress what sort of work must go into the production of a DVD – especially when an extensive restoration is necessary. As for DORIANA GREY itself, we do get three brief interview segments with Dietrich, Franco and Romay, which go into only the most preliminary details about the production, though they are still nice to have. The copious trailers are fairly hilarious: I couldn't help but wonder, for instance, how the notorious horse-mating scenes from Walerian Borowczyk's LA BETE (1975) found their way into Dietrich's COME PLAY WITH ME 2 (1980)! Also, from the cast/crew bios I learnt that Jess and Lina took some time before forming their real-life partnership due to their commitments to other partners.

There are some who almost regret that a non-hardcore variant of DORIANA GREY is not readily available (though I'd think it would be virtually impossible to edit satisfactorily, since it would doubtless compromise its 'construction' rather drastically!): considering that the film's sex scenes – some of which are quite erotic – go into such gynaecological detail, for lack of a better word, it comes as no surprise at all that Franco opted to operate the camera on this film himself – under his nom-de-plume of David Khunne!


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