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I was interested to see this"faithful" Italian-made adaptation of the Marquis de Sades "Philosophy of the Boudoir" because, while I have seen several previous versions of this tale, they have pretty much all been directed by Eurocult/Eurooschlock director Jesus Franco (the best being the 1969 version with Marie Liljedahl, Maria Rohm, and Christopher Lee!). The Franco adaptations were all updated to the present day (circa the 1970's and 80's)and they leave out many of the principal interests of De Sade, namely his interest in libertine philosophy as well as libertine sex. The plot of "Philosophy" involves three jaded Sadean libertines--an older woman, her brother, and their foppish friend "Dolmance", who are "given" a naive young noble girl, Eugenie, by her father (who is a slavish lover of the libertine sister) in order to "educate" the young girl, both sexually and in their atheistic, libertine philosophy. This is actually the only version that focuses at all on the philosophizing, and it is naturally a lot less cinematically interesting than the sex.
Antonella Salvucci, who plays the female libertine, is very sexy and not a bad actress, but is not particularly well-suited for this role as she is probably not much older than 30 and not very believable as a jaded, older woman. Christian Stelluti, who plays a brother is a typical Italian pretty-boy who lacks the lust and wickedness to really make this role work. The actor who plays the bisexual "Dolmance", meanwhile, is flat-out annoying. He is more of a flaming, over-the-top homo stereotype than a believable bisexual and is only really effective in the sex scenes. (Perversely, Eugenie loses her "backdoor virginity" to the foppish Dolmance before she loses her actual virginity to the brother). He is as generally inappropriate in this role as Christopher Lee was in the 1969 Franco version, but for COMPLETELY opposite reasons.
Of course, the central role is the one of naive young heroine. Sara Sarti is very pretty both clothed and unclothed and she does a decent acting job, but she looks to be at least 25 and not appreciably younger than Salvucci's character, and she kind of overdoes it with the wide-eyed innocent act. Interestingly, in his most questionable adaption, "Eugenie" 1980, Jesus Franco cast an actual 14-year-old actress in this part, but that didn't work out too well either (don't expect to see a legitimate English-language release of that one anytime soon). Marie Liljedahl in the 1969 version was more of a happy medium--not as a good of actress as Sarti, but she at least LOOKED the part. But the best "Eugenie" was perhaps French actress Isild Lebesco in a fictional subplot of the French biopic "Sade", where she plays a Eugenie-like teenager from a noble family who the notorious historical figure HIMSELF is debauching both sexually and morally. As an actress, Sarti is second only to Le Besco in this role, but she is a very distant second.
Regardless, if you like your sexploitation strictly softcore with lots of pretty girls (and boys) and no small amount classy pretensions (and perhaps some small amount of genuine literary gravitas), this film is worth a look at least.
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