Justine or Deadly Sanctuary

I’ve been avoiding writing this review for weeks. So I’m just going to do it. I have vertigo right now so feel a little drunk and that’s perfect for reasons that will become apparent in a little bit.

This probably won’t be my best review ever, but this… thing… wasn’t the best viewing experience ever, either.

And if you’re wondering how I can possibly write a review about something I saw weeks ago–some things never leave you.

I have no words. (source)

I have no words. (source)

This is a review of the moving picture Deadly Sanctuary or sometimes called Marquis de Sade: Justine. It was made in 1969.

I have yet to read Justine, but they changed the story somewhat to suit the lead actress so if you’re a fan of the novel it’s … all to the good, actually. They won’t have completely ruined something you cared about.

The film starts with someone (Klaus Kinski)–wasn’t he, like, a big deal actor, why is he in this? Being thrown into a prison cell

He’s having some kind of whacked out LSD trip or something about violence and sex–artists, ya know? So he starts writing (gee, I wonder if he’s supposed to be a stand in for the Marquis).

So he starts writing this story of Justine and her sister, whatever her name is–I’m to lazy and vertigodrunk to look it up.

Justine and her sister… um… Bustine, are told that they’re parentless and penniless. (It was weeks ago–I just remember that suddenly they can no longer afford their schmancy convent education and are turfed out and have no parents, either.)

Of course they immediately wind up in a brothel, because that’s what happens to every female in these stories.

Bustine takes to being a prostitute (and lesbian) instantly. But this was made in the late 60s so we don’t get to see any lesbionic good times because everything sucked and people dressed weird.

Justine, though, well, she’s still pure and true and virtuous and, you know. She runs off and a series of things happens to her, each progressively worse but she continues to trust people because she’s an idiot. One of those things is falling in with the most hapless, bumbling crew of criminals this side of a Benny Hill sketch.

These happenings are interspersed with Bustine’s experiences, which are far more lucrative and interesting, though inhabiting more morally grey areas like murder and robbery.

Bustine is just adapting to the hard scrabble life she’s been dealt in the 1780s while maintaining her 1969 hairstyle.

Meanwhile Justine keeps trying to maintain her virginity while also walking directly into people keen to remove that from her.

This girl is DUMB.

Out of sheer stupid luck, she rolls up to a monastery that’s headed by Jack Palance, because fine, whatever. And takes shelter there.

Palance starts giving a speech… wait.. Starts emoting a paragraph… Starts spitting words through wine…

Whatever was happening, my husband said, ‘Is he pissed?’ (Meaning drunk–and I think he meant genuinely drunk.)

Then a thought occurred to him and he asked, ‘Is everyone pissed?’

Which would have explained a lot.

It seemed like things were winding down because the thing had been going on for most of our lives at that point. But I checked how much time was left and the three of us (Bean, Walter and myself) all groaned and deflated.

Bean said something to the effect of, ‘It’s been on for two and a half days!’

I called it at that point. We’d given it an hour and a half. If I’m not interested in your characters or film in the time of a typical film I’m salvaging the rest of the time. (There are several cuts of the movie and I happened to have acquired the longest version. Lucky me.)

I don’t know how the film ended, neither do I care. The priests probably made Justine eat her own feet or something.

Would you know these were the same film if I didn't tell you? (source)

Would you know these were the same film if I didn’t tell you? (source)

I have watched the uncut version of Caligula twice–I used to own it. So this isn’t about an intolerance for whatever the fuckery was happening.

Speaking of whatever-the-fuckery… The film was dubbed into English. Which wouldn’t be a big deal, but it was also shot in English. And the looping was all just sliiiiightly off.

That was fine, though, because no one was from the same country even though they were all supposed to be from pre-French Revolution France. (They filmed in Spain or somewhere mostly definitely not-French.)

My absolutely favorite moment of the entire thing, though, was the Cockney vegetable seller by a fountain at one point. Were they supposed to have imported those from London to Paris? Walter said he sounded like an extra from Eastenders. ‘Oi! Looka’ these veggies, they are lovely, they are!’

This review probably makes it sound funny, but that’s because I’m funny (and modest). In actuality it wasn’t one of those so-bad-it’s-good films. It was just terrible.

I can’t recall the last time I turned off a movie–usually I have to know what happens. But nope. Not this time.



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