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The Marquis de Sade: 10 Films Based On His Life and Literature

9. De Sade (1969)

de sade Richard Matheson wrote the script for de Sade. An AIP production, Roger Corman had some input into the direction of the film but he was not credited. Direction honours go to Cy Endfield. Very much a product of it's time, the film has some hallucinatory scenes. The Marquis is referred to in the film as 'Louis', so when I mention the name Louis it is to refer to de Sade. A middle aged Louis returns to his ancestral home after narrowly escaping jail. He is reminded of when he was a young lad and was supposed to marry a girl called Renee. He fled but then came back under duress and does the deed. Renee is frigid and Louis has a notion of her sexy little sister Anne. He holds an orgy with lots of prostitutes and gives them all a philosophical treatise which ends up with him in the slammer. When he is released, he builds a theatre in his ancestral home and uses it to perform a play portraying his childhood sexual abuse at the hands of his uncle. Louis has a series of flashbacks - his father's death, a strange old man, the baptism of one of his kids. It ends in the flagellation of Rose Keller whose silence is bought and Louis exiled back to the ancestral home. Louis cannot keep his hands of Anne and after a debauched orgy He flees to Italy with her. He is eventually bought back and incarcerated. His family disown him. He has more visions and flashbacks to his past and we are lead to believe that he died a broken man. AIP were known for their exploitation films. By rendering the life of the Marquis de Sade on celluloid, they were probably thinking they could come up with something arty. Unfortunately all of the performances are uniformly rubbish. The film might have redeemed itself through nudity and sex scenes but all we get is suggestion and the odd wink of breast. It is interesting to see De Sade portrayed in a Hollywood way compared to the myriad European versions. But why the heck, in a film about a writer, do we see no writing?
 
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Contributor

My first film watched was Carrie aged 2 on my dad's knee. Educated at The University of St Andrews and Trinity College Dublin. Fan of Arthouse, Exploitation, Horror, Euro Trash, Giallo, New French Extremism. Weaned at the bosom of a Russ Meyer starlet. The bleaker, artier or sleazier the better!