Photographer O's lover takes her to a Château, where she is, like other women there, naked, humiliated by whipping, sexual abuse by men etc. When O leaves, her lover gives her to his much older step-brother.
The beautiful O is taken by her boyfriend, Rene, to a bizarre retreat, where she is trained in bondage and sexual perversion. Rene discharges a personal debt by transferring possession of O to his step-brother, Sir Stephen...Written by
Most of the times that O's being whipped, there is no sound of the whip hitting her body. See more »
In fact, she liked all that came from her lover, even Pierre. She belonged to her lover through all the strangers she gave herself to.
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The U.S. English-dubbed print is missing 6 scenes and runs approximately 8 minutes shorter than the original French version. However, the missing footage appears to have been removed for pacing reasons rather than any risqué content. The edited scenes are as follows:
After Rene picks up O from the chateau, the U.S. print cuts directly to O's first photo shoot, whereas in the French version, Rene brings her back to his apartment and shows her around, then expresses dissatisfaction with her training and behavior.
Immediatley following the above mentioned scene, O is left alone in the apartment. Rene phones and tells her to get undressed and wait for his arrival. She strips and is kneeling on the floor as he enters. Note: a few frames of the shot with her kneeling can be seen in the U.S. print just before it cuts to O's photo shoot.
After O's first whipping at Anne-Marie's house, the U.S. print cuts directly to the scene with Therese fixing O's hair next to a vase of red roses. In the French version, O's first whipping is followed by a scene in which the women have lunch in the garden.
Immediately following the above mentioned scene, the French version also contains a scene of O waking up in the middle of the night when she hears crying in the stairwell. She gets up to investigate, as do some of the other women, and they find a distraught Therese, who wants to leave their submissive environment.
After O and Jacqueline go for a walk on the beach, the U.S. print cuts directly to the scene where O meets Sir Stephen before their boating trip. In the French version, the walk on the beach is longer as O spots Therese climbing out of a fishing boat. She rushes over to greet her and Jacqueline immediately becomes jealous and asks O if she ever slept with Therese.
Immediately following the above mentioned scene, O, Therese and Jacqueline have lunch together. Jacqueline is still feeling jealous and makes a few snide remarks at Therese, who retaliates by purposely spilling tea on Jacqueline's lap.
Adapted from a famous erotic novel – with Sadean overtones – by Dominique Aury (writing as Pauline Reage), this came hot on the heels of director Jaeckin’s box-office smash EMMANUELLE (1974), and was itself followed by Shuji Terayama’s FRUITS OF PASSION (1981). I would also like to watch Jess Franco’s reworking of the same source material, THE SEXUAL STORY OF O (1981) – recently released on DVD through Severin.
Anyway, easily the best things about the film are the pleasing soft-focus photography and Pierre Bachelet’s haunting score. The stunning-looking Corinne Clery is ideally cast in the enigmatic title role – not so her male co-stars, stolid Udo Kier and a rather bemused Anthony Steel (Jaeckin originally wanted Christopher Lee who had actually played a similar role, briefly but effectively, in Franco’s superior EUGENIE...THE STORY OF HER JOURNEY INTO PERVERSION ).
With too many characters involved but not enough explanation as to their particular motives, the film winds up being mostly uninvolving as a result: the female ‘victims’ are too easily willed into participating into the clandestine and degrading goings-on, as if they – and the viewing audience with them – are supposed to take all of this twaddle for granted (not to say seriously)! However, the finale – in which Clery is seen to have mastered her skills in playing the game and now matches her ‘superiors’ in every way – is a nice touch.
The Arrow R2 DVD I watched presents the film in an English-dubbed re-edited version prepared by Jaeckin himself (though the erotic content is said to be intact). Incidentally, I followed this with Radley Metzger’s similar but even more disturbing and explicit THE IMAGE (1976).
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