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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Marquis De Sade's Justine aka Cruel Passion [Blu-ray]


(Chris Boger, 1977)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Frontier Amusements

Video: Redemption Films



Region: 'A' (B+ C untested)

Runtime: 1:37:31.971

Disc Size: 34,209,643,525 bytes

Feature Size: 24,986,317,056 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.83 Mbps

Chapters: 10

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 24th, 2012



Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit






Interviews with director Chris Boger (5:31) and writer Ian Cullen (18:34)

Alternate opening credits sequences (English and French with 'Justine' as title)
Still gallery
Trailer and trailers for other Redemption Films





Description: Based on the Marquis de Sade's infamous novel "Justine: The Misfortunes of Virtue," Chris Boger's classic film is a dark tale of sexual depravity and Sadean excess. Koo Stark stars as a virtuous innocent whose chosen path of goodness is thwarted at every turn by her cunning and amoral sister, Julliette (Lydia Lisle) whose debauched lifestyle finds her only happiness. This S & M cinematic classic has been restored and remastered in HD in this all new transfer.



The Film:

The film follows two sisters, Justine (Koo Stark) and Juliette (Lydia Lisle) Jerome, whose parents die young and leave them alone and seemingly helpless. They at first take shelter in an orphanage run by nuns but when their inheritance dries up, the nuns send them on their way. While Justine tires to abide by her moral upbringing and live a pure, chaste life her sister is far more willing to explore the ways of the flesh and indulge in all that the world has to offer her.

Excerpt from Rock, Shop, Pop located HERE

The improbabilities of this awkward period sexploiter (which vainly attempts to emulate the look of Barry Lyndon) are compounded by a strain of casual nastiness which would be thoroughly offensive were it not so carelessly handled. Two sisters are expelled from a nunnery; one takes to harlotry, the other hangs on to her virginity, only to be raped in the last reel prior to being torn to pieces by Doberman Pinschers. Drawn from Sade, the film is veneered with a spurious morality which supposedly made its catchpenny cruelty somehow acceptable to the censor.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Justine looks better than I was anticipating on Blu-ray from Redemption (Kino).  This is a dual-layered transfer - with a pretty high bitrate. Only some frame-specific speckles and a few crushed blacks deter it. This clocks-in at 1.66:1 but IMDb says it was filmed at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Grain and detail are present with some pleasing texture - although not in abundance. While cinematography is by the famous Roger Deakins - I wouldn't say there was much of his signature on it.  Contrast (ex. nun's habits) is surprisingly strong at times. Yes, decent and well above the standard of SD. This Blu-ray isn't demo material (in more ways than one) but the 1080P supports the film in significant visual areas.

















Audio :

Redemption has opted to go for the authentic 2.0 channel with a linear PCM track at 1536 kbps. I guess some of the effect sounds are regarding whips and screams. Nothing stood-out as being notable but there was some depth here and there. Some dialogue seemed out of sync - a factor of DUB'ing no doubt There are no subtitles offered.


Extras :

Supplements offer interviews with director Chris Boger (5:31) and writer Ian Cullen (18:34) expanding on production details and the evolution of the film process for Cruel Passion. There are also alternate opening credits sequences (English and French with 'Justine' as title), a stills gallery and a trailer for the film. Not a bad effort.



Aside from the kitsch-sex value there is not a lot here to extol. It just seems like a weakly orchestrated period film with some perverted T+A. So, of course, theree is some exploitation factor here. This would fit into a niche of fans of similar efforts or those sweet on Koo Stark. I won't fault the Blu-ray which is pretty solid from the a/v to some viable extras. Perhaps I am not one to judge about Cruel Passion - or however you want to historically spin it, - it didn't do much for me as a film fan. Others may differ. 

Gary Tooze

April 17th, 2012


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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Gary W. Tooze






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