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The Story Of O Review

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★★★★

Directed by the man responsible for Emmanuelle and starring anonymous, thespianally-challenged Euro-types, this 1975 adaptation of Pauline Reage’s erotic novel would have slipped into well-deserved obscurity, had it not been refused a certificate back in the mid-70s. As it is, the film has achieved near mythic status among porn cognoscenti, although it’s difficult to imagine anyone except particularly bored S&M freaks or Udo Kier fanatics getting much of a thrill.

As Rene, Kier kicks off proceedings by luring fashion photographer girlfriend O (Clery) to a remote chateau, where she is beaten and generally abused by some ludicrously coiffured goons, while wearing a series of frontless dresses that even Benny Hill might have considered rather poor taste. O’s trials continue after her release, however, as Rene explains that she is now to obey a new master, the aristocratic Sir Stephen (Steel), who looks like a bit of an old smoothie but soon reveals his true nature by branding his initials on O’s rump and forcing her to be pierced in the unmentionables. Love of a sort wins out in the end, but not before a lot more soft focus squelchiness and toe-curling dialogue.

To say that the film is misogynist doesn’t cover it and the script’s repeated attempts to convince us of O’s voluntary involvement in the assorted violence simply makes matters more gruesome. But, worse still, the thing is just so lame: poorly acted, cretinously written and with all the sexual imagination of a pre-pubescent schoolboy.