The amazing Countess Martine de Bressac is discharged from the pricey asylum where she had been incarcerated after castrating her former lover. She contributes to her lavish villa on the shore and goes simultaneously down to her personal underground dungeon. It is here that she finds herself at the perverse sexual practices that provide her life meaning, surrounded by the eccentric individual statues of her prior victims. Her husband, Charles, feeds his spouse’s sick dreams, conscious that she’s his meal ticket to a lifetime of luxury. He admits he has a brand new match for her — they’ll forgive and seduce the young and virginal daughter of a wealthy neighbor. But things don’t go exactly as planned? Games of decadence and debauchery cause mayhem and murder. From cult director Jess Franco. His most eccentric movie. First ever US launch.
Directed by Jess Franco
Composed by Jess Franco, Alain Petit
1974, 87 minutes, Not Ranked
DVD published on October 08th, 2013
Alice Arno as Martine Bressac
Robert Woods as Charles Bressac
Tania Busselier as Cécile
Lina Romay as Adèle
Howard Vernon as Mathias
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Recently released in an asylum after heading Lorena Bobbit years before, Martine (Alice Arno) and her hubby Charles (Robert Woods) hotel back for their perversely murderous customs since they set their sights upon a young virgin (Cécile, Tania Busselier) within their coastal city. After enticing the not-so-innocent girl from her parents, the couple take to systematically seducing the woman within their tranquil countryside villa. Although, Martine’s hobby of producing horrendous figurines of sexual conquests only could finally come back to haunt her…
At the danger of bewildering Jess Franco’s ardent fanbase, his How to Seduce a Virgin (Plaisir à trois) is actually only a thinly-veiled justification to string along quite tame and at times ugly softcore scenes of heavy petting and body thrusting. Sure, there’re into Marquis de Sade’s writing, normal for Franco of the age, but it is hard to see much actual artistic merit in what amounts to a fast skin film. It is a single-serve bit of Franco’s wide oeuvre, using an incredible twelve finished movies in 1973 alone, that is of interest when seen independently, particularly if one is new to the manager’s work.
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Shot briskly back-to-back with Countess Perverse (La comtesse perverse), Franco hurriedly rates through hardly-there exposition about Martine’s mental condition and entrapment of this woman simply to get into the upcoming long-winded nudie sequence. Franco’s infamously lingering lens then impatiently zooms and pans round writhing flesh while constantly avoiding that final step into hardcore land. Longtime Franco veteran Howard Vernon thanklessly seems as Martine’s chauffeur while Jess’s longtime muse, Lina Romay, plays with a wide-eyed mute that, while child-like, shows no hesitation getting whipped from the enthusiast or vaguely caressing female genitalia that is not her own.
Francophiles might find a kick from visiting the manager extract every last drop from the Sade stone whilst everybody else will wonder what is the purpose. The manager himself may even admit the exact workmen-like situation to that to Seduce a Virgin, and a number of other examples of his job, were crafted. The last twist is too stimulating or original to warrant the previous eighty minutes of outdated titillation which may excite your grandpa.
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Video and Audio:
Mondo Macabro’s progressive, 1.33:1 full frame transfer direct from the original negative represents a handsome presentation. Restoration work seems minimal, as the substance was probably barely touched through time. Colours are natural and there is no hint of heavy electronic manipulation.
The monaural French sound track, complete with detachable white English subtitles, seems nice if a little limited given the origin with the sometimes breezy score being a highlight.
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The DVD’s couple nutritional supplements do a nice job of trying to set How to Seduce a Virgin to historic perspective with a brief essay about the movie, a educational twenty-minute interview with writer and writer Stephen Thrower, along with a subtitled eleven-minute interview with author Alain Petit.