Eugenie…the story of her journey through US newspaper ads
Jess Franco’s Eugenie…the story of her journey into perversion was one of the films released in The US in 1970 to contribute to that era of Euro-Erotica that filled the screens for a while and is one of the best films of that scene. It was released by Distinction, a “shadow company” of National General which had only two films before dropping the interest in the X-Rated trend. Thanks to the DVD release by Blue Underground, many modern viewers finally got a chance to see what the hype was about after years of the film being missing as this stood out when it played in a time when several Jess Franco films were well-known to the Adult movie audience (Succubus, 99 Women, and Venus in Furs were doing well around the same time).
In the end, it’s rightfully respected as one of Jess Fracno’s best films, but back then told a slightly different story about it’s reception in some areas of the world. in the US, it showed that outside of some success it was a little ambitious/art for the Adult crowd and too Adult for the mainstream crowd, and maybe a little too sexy for the Serious Art crowd. It was a sexy Psych-Out which might have swung a little too much for those who played it safe.
After it’s US opening on Aug. 5, 1970 in LA, Eugenie was an eye opener in the places it played in during it’s here and there run. in a way, you can tell it had a mixed success as even if it gained a following, it was a tough sell – a very cut version of a de Sade story which might not have pleased literary people, a little too arty for those who wanted more in-your-face Adult entertainment, a shocker for American fans of Christopher Lee (a lot of Dracula fans must have dropped their jaws – it was the Lee film that wound up in Soho), and maybe a little too out there for fans of the serious Dramatic groundbreaking of Joe Sarno’s Inga which was a perfect introduction for it’s star, Marie Liljedahl. To further complicate things, the original ads featuring Liljedahl in the nude with only her hair covering up the breasts ran into some censorship problems enough for several variations to appear, as proven in this 9-18-70 ad from Chicago (placed in this blog before) where the word “perversion” was a touchy one for movie ads, and you can see the “Clothed” version here.
11-4-70, Des Moines at the Studio 3 Cinema – Some original plays actually were in Adult movie houses. Something Weird Video fans will take note of Caught in the Can!
11-13-70, York PA – Here, the potential problem was cut all together for this small ad. While The Boys in the Band was a good film, it was a very ill fit with the Euro Seduction of Franco’s film. Must have been some kind of “Risky Film” double billing.
1-22-71, a Bennington, Vermont paper placed a dot over the body. At least the word “perversion” was used. While the “Her body was bruised…” line is iconic, it was starting to get more accepted in the ads by this time.
1-29-71, San Bernardino – Eugenie…the story of her journey into Hot T-Shirts! …or something like that. To be fair, the Aztec was a noted Downtown cinema that is still open, although now more for Dramatic shows instead of films.
And it played for two weeks, too!
2-23-71, Salisbury, Maryland – The great version, this time with promoting the darker side within. At this time, Manson was all over the news and “Terror” was a code word for kinky happenings on the screen. A couple of days later, it was promoted as…
2-26-71 – … a LOVE CULT THRILLER!!!
4-2-71 – More hype on the bits of torture with a seriously great ad!
8-6-71, Springdale, Arkansas – It played with The Grasshopper, but let’s face it, this is the ad you want! What a way to re-start a theater, too!
9-13-71, Toledo – Many areas got it’s first taste when Distinction paired it’s two releases for a Drive In show that played for a couple of years. Mac Ahlberg’s Nana was the other film.
8-20-71, St. Joseph, MO – A not-so-flattering ad this time.
2-6-72, Kansas City
4-17-72, Spokane, Washington
11-1-72, Santa Cruz, CA – the most tasty of the double bill ads!
Sadly, by this time Liljedahl was out of the movie business. The Seduction of Inga, reportedly her final film she made, was being played in The US in a “Grindhouse” version that had added X-Rated scenes not by Joe Sarno. The good news was that Inga and it’s sequel were still playing from screen to screen especially through an Independent International re-release when they got the US distribution rights after Cinemation closed up. As for Eugenie, it went missing for a long time before it’s DVD release, but thankfully we can see it in all it’s Euro Erotic glory.