Marquis de Sade: Intimate Tales of the Dark Prince (1996) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

France and America are not really so different after all. They have the cruel , almost inhuman prose of the Marquis de Sade, and we have the cruel, almost inhuman singing of Marquis Mark. I call it a wash.

This is kind of a Roger Corman grade-b version of Quills, substituting sensationalism and nudity and sadism (imagine that) for all that silly thoughtful stuff. Corman and his fellow King B's found the motherlode in Eastern Europe after the fall of the USSR. Take five English-speaking actors to one of the former Soviet Republics or Satellites. Hire everybody else at the local wages in Eastern Europe. Film.

The old USSR was filled with highly-educated (100% literacy) and skilled people who enjoyed the work, and had a completely different standard of wages and prices.

This story takes place in Paris, of course, but except for a couple seconds of stock footage, in was filmed somewhere in Eastern Europe. All the actors and crew have names that end in -ov or -ev. About five have them have tiny speaking parts as Frenchmen, and their accents don't really matter much.


Charlotte Neilsen showed it all.

There was lots of frontal nudity from various prostitutes

The directors who worked in Eastern Europe got very good at making these things, so that you never really notice that only about five people ever speak in complete sentences. This director got away with shooting 95% of the scenes in chateaus and prisons, and used some tricky lighting effects to create some pretty lavish appearances and arty prison shadows. To tell you the truth, they delivered a pretty good bang for the buck. It looks like a real movie.

Nick Mancuso played the Marquis about as high as High Camp can go. With his condescending tones, his swishy manners, his over-enunciation of each syllable, and his general insanity schtick, he really breathed some humorous, loony life into the character, and he completely dominated the screen with his presence, especially in the scenes when an innocent girl visited him in prison. He played it, more or less, as an intimidating 18th century Hannibal Lecter. John Rhys-Davies was suitably menacing and bullying as the local lawman. I do have to warn you that absolutely nobody else in the movie can act at all. I mean not at all, but the rest of the cast just acted as props, allowing the two big guys to spar. You will howl a few times when the women or the extras deliver lines.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • no widescreen

  • no meaningful features

The storyline covers about the same ground as Quills. The Marquis was in the bastille, about to be guillotined. The innocent, refined girl needed to know what happened to her sister, information possessed only by the Marquis, so she bribed her way into jail. De Sade traded information for a pen and paper and her services as his scribe, and talked dirty to her a lot.

The film is not so bad. It has some brainpower and some art, unusual for a grade-b film, and delivers a lot of anonymous nudity. It kept me from reaching for the FF.

The Critics Vote

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The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDB readers say 4.5/10.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C-. Better than most grade-b's, with a surprisingly large quantity of frontal nudity.

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