movie film review | chris tookey

Story Of O / Histoire D' O / Die Geschichte Der O

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  Story Of O / Histoire D' O  / Die Geschichte Der O Review
Tookey's Rating
1 /10
Average Rating
1.00 /10
Corinne Clery , Udo Kier, Anthony Steel
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Directed by: Just Jaeckin
Written by: Sebastien Japrisot, from Dominique Aury’s novel

Released: 1975
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: France / West Germany / Italy
Colour: C
Length: 105

A female photographer (Corinne Clery) finds sexual fulfilment by allowing her repulsive boyfriend (Udo Kier) to have her tied up, whipped and seduced by other men, especially a smooth, dastardly Englishman Sir Stephen (Anthony Steel) who eventually has her branded like a cow, as his property.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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O dear. This soft-core porn from the Seventies - designed by writer-director Just Jaeckin to be the follow-up to his worldwide hit Emmanuelle - finally reached Britain in 1999, doubtless because of the recent release of Romance, another French celebration of female submissiveness, sado-masochism and pretentiousness. It doesn't help proceedings that the few actors who can act (notably Kier and Steel) don't seem capable of summoning up the energy to do so. By the standards of modern pornography, very little is shown. Not for the first time, a film rumoured to be a porno classic proves to be merely distasteful, unerotic and puerile.


The problem with arty porn is that it tries so hard to be something it's not; if only the wolf of pornography would stop dressing up as the lamb of erotica... Illicit acts notwithstanding, underneath it all O is a woman who wants more than anything else to please her man... The film does, however, have a certain kitsch charm, awash as it is with appalling synthesised elevator music sweeping across the embarrassing dialogue dubbed into English. O's photo-shoot scenes are masterpieces of swinging 70s design, matched only by those featuring Faye Dunaway as chic photographer in The Eyes of Laura Mars made a year earlier. Story of O may yet survive as a cult classic of porno-kitsch. To his credit Jaeckin also keeps alive the possibility that this is indeed all an internal fantasy, a story played out only in the telling.

(Linda Ruth Williams, Sight & Sound)


Based on Pauline Reage's over-rated sub-Marquis de Sade novella about the wanderings of a girl in and out of a chateau, where she is held captive, ill-treated and humiliated by various aristos, is meant to say something about the nature of desire. In the hands of Emmanuelle director Just Jaeckin it remains pure tosh. The film was banned, possibly on aesthetic grounds as much as pornographic ones, for 25 years (which explains the presence of Anthony Steel, no less, as O's saviour).

(Alexander Walker, Evening Standard)

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