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The 'Story of O' Series (on dvd) Reviewed:
Reviewer: A viewer from Roissy, France (October 10, 2001)


The film came out on Video on the BRI Home Video in 1994 as a 10 Volume set. Now (2000) it is proposed as a 5 DVD series. Each DVD contains two 60-minute episodes. There is also a quite interesting gallery of stills, with audio comments from the Director, Eric Rochat, as well as an English and a German soundtrack.

The most interesting supplement is a full length (nearly nine hours!!!) comment track by the director. With his thick French accent, he manages to give interesting insight in this long erotic movie, and the way he shot it. We learn more about his vision of the Story of O, as well as about the pretty Brazilian actress Claudia Cepeda and the other members of the cast.

The film contains nudity and many adult situations but it is tasteful and while it is erotic and does contain a lot of nudity, it is not pornographic in nature. They did a good job with the series but it is a flaw built into it. As a series it was doomed...there are only a limited number of S & M tricks that the writers could pull out of their hats...before it starts getting repetitive. The Volumes in the 5 DVD set and their contents are listed below: In Volume One First episode O meets René and they become lovers, René and others evaluate her potential for training and she is introduced to "Roissy" a house of training.

In Volume One Second episode O undergoes training at the house of "Roissy" chains, whips and servitude abound...simultaneously she as she continues to internalize her submission.

In Volume Two Third episode O's training at "Roissy" continues...René leaves O at the house for 5 days...thinking that her trainers would be less reserved in his absence...and he was right!

In Volume Two Fourth episode O has completed her training at "Roissy"...O is attracted to Jacqueline a female model she works with and is pursuing her...and O is introduced to and "given to" Sir Stephen.

In Volume Three Fifth episode O comes to the realization that René has given her to Sir Stephen...for good. Besides her "normal" training, O is being trained to lure another woman (Jacqueline) into dealings with Sir Stephen and René.

In Volume Three Sixth episode O becomes intimate with Jacqueline with the eventual goal of presenting her to Sir Stephen and René. Preparations are made for O's branding and René reassures O that he still loves her.

In Volume Four Seventh episode O is brought to the all female environment at Anne-Marie's countryside estate for further training...Where she is marked with Sir Stephen's initials.

In Volume Four Eighth episode Having been received more training while during her stay Anne-Marie's estate she returns to Sir Stephen. He picks out her wardrobe and decides to lend her services to some other men. O also become jealous when she learns that René is seducing Jacqueline so that he can present her to Sir Stephen.

In Volume Five Ninth episode O and René are both intimate with Jacqueline and both have the final goal of presenting her to Sir Stephen. Jacqueline is repulsed at some markings on O...but when Jacqueline's little sister Nathalie hears of O's servitude she is enthralled.

In Volume Five Tenth episode Jacqueline and Nathalie make their decisions on whether to join Sir Stephen, O is put on display at a party and O realizes that René no longer desires her as he once does but she has reached such a psychological state that she no longer cares.

Devotees of this life style will probably like the series a lot!

Story of O : The Series
Director's Special Edition DVD 1

Reviewed By: Rick Babcock

Reviewed On: October 17, 2000 Video Format: 1.33:1 Full Frame Audio Format: Dolby Digital 2.0 (mono) DVD Format: SS-SL Language Tracks: English, German Subtitle Tracks: None Length: 120 minutes Rating: NR Release Date: September 19, 2000 Packaging: Keep Case Region Code: 0

Expectations & Reactions:

The Story of O: The Series is based on Pauline Reage's controversial novel The Story of O. The book, written in 1954 was extremely controversial for its time, and still shocks people today. The book has been translated into 30+ languages, so there are a lot of people who have read the story. The Story of O speaks the universal language, and I am not referring to Esperanto, either. This DVD is the first in a set of five, all of which contain two episodes from this astonishing series.

The DVD contains the first and second episodes of the ten-part program, The Story of O: The Series. Having read the book as a teenager, I didn't think that The Story of O could be brought to the screen. It has been, though, and it comes complete with a director's commentary track by Ron Williams, a.k.a. Eric Rochat. The transfer isn't too bad, but it's not fantastic. One of the interesting features is a dubbed German track that has been included.

Look & Listen:

The Story of O: The Series is presented in 1.33:1 full frame. The picture was made using the best possible elements. There is some grain that is noticeable throughout both programs. Picture flaws due to age have been kept to a minimum. The first episode has a mixture of shots that are indoors and outdoors. There is a stark contrast that is noticeable, during the sequences. The outdoor shots look very good, with greens and browns predominating. There are scenes with lush foliage, yet most of the clothing is rather bland. The indoor shots are much different, with the color red predominating most of the scenes. The red can be found on O's dress and the curtains that are in certain rooms. The flesh tones are very good, and there is a lot of flesh that is exposed.

The audio of the program is Dolby Digital 2.0 mono. There are two soundtracks, both dubbed, as the movie was originally recorded in Spanish. There is an English dub included that has a very realistic background backing track. The cracking of the whip sounds very authentic, but the overdubbed voices of the players leave a little to be desired. The German track is not as good, though. The voices are a little off in the dubbing, but that isn't a serious flaw. The major flaw is some upper level hissing, which is heard throughout the track. Add to this the background audio is off when it comes to the sound effects. Even more disturbing is where you hear crickets in the background during many indoor scenes whereas the English track is completely silent at that point. The narration by O is clear and understandable in both languages. The audio track features Sergio Saraceni's score, which varies from emotive strings and flutes during certain sections to a cool jazz during certain sex scenes. There is an occasional audio dropout, and I attribute it to poor editing because there seems to be some scenes that were excised.

Extras & Highlights:

There is a commentary track by director Eric Rochat a.k.a. Ron Williams that plays during both episodes. Rochat speaks in broken English, and is prompted by a second voice throughout the two episodes. The commentary itself is interesting and informative, but it sounds like it was taped in spots. Screen specific for the most part, when Rochat pauses, the audio is not brought up all the time. Despite the occasional flaw, Rochat's commentary is interesting and lends insight into the making of The Story of O: The Series.

There is a photo gallery that is included with stills from the production. Rochat, who describes the stills in detail, also narrates this part. This commentary is taped and starts with Most of the shots are stills from the movie. They are presented on a brilliant red colored velvet-like background. The entire feature is over eight minutes long and there are 40 photos and promotional artwork that are included. There are shots from the movies The Story of O and The Story of O: 2 included in the gallery, too. There are also press photos and other paraphernalia included in this presentation.

There are trailer for each episode included on the DVD. Each lasts for the better part of two minutes. Each of these trailers is narrated in English by the woman who does O's voice in the movie. Some of these cut off abruptly and others fade out. The ten trailers tell a story that is spread out over five DVD's. Each trailer is presented in full frame and the audio is 2-channel mono.

Menus & Interface:

This is where the DVD really shines. The main menu has an oval on the screen left of center, near the middle. The oval has clips from parts of the program changing throughout the minute that it plays. The main theme of the program is played underneath and cycles. On the right side of the screen, there are options to go to scenes or to play the programs. The font resembles the O in The Story of O. There is a scene selection menu page for both episodes. Both contain seven scenes that have motion previews that play for about one minute. These shots look extremely good for their size. There is the theme from The Story of O playing in the background. These are very nice to see. There is an option on the main menu to play both episodes at once. This option skips the end credits of episode 1 and the opening credits of episode 2. There is a slight pause when the program changes, but it's not too much of a problem.

Storyline & Syllabus:

In Episode 1, O meets René and they become lovers. This episode also has flashbacks to add to the back-story to help the plot along. René and others evaluate her potential for training as she is introduced to "Roissy," a house of training for women.

In Episode 2, O undergoes rigorous training at the house of "Roissy." Included in her training are whips, chains, and the ability to learn servitude. This is all done simultaneously, as she continues to learn about her submissive nature to the male sex.

Cast & Crew:

The Story of O: The Series stars the positively pulchritudinous Claudia Cepeda as the title character. Also starring in the program Paulo Reis, Nelson Freitas and Gabriela Alves. The program was written and directed by Ron Williams. Sergio Saraceni composed the music.

Conclusions & Afterthoughts:

The Story of O: The Series is a fairy tale for adults and the program tells you that love is no joke. Do we dare to live O's dreams with her? Is she really in love with René, the man who sends her to Roissy to be trained? Does she really enjoy being whipped, walking around naked in front of strangers, being used and abused to the strangers hearts content? This is a DVD that you're going to have to look at to find out the answers to the questions. The Story of O is quite explicit, both with language and what is shown on the screen. Some of the whipping scenes are not for the faint of heart. A bondage and domination fantasy, this should appeal to those who are prone to sadism and masochism. All I can say about this is "different strokes for different folks," and some of these people are seriously different! This is not your father's erotic movie.

The Story of O: The Series: Director's Special Edition is not family fare. I suggest that you keep an open mind when viewing this DVD. Bruder Releasing International has done what their name implies, releasing a classic love story. Yes, it is a classic love story, when held in context with the book. It has been updated into the 1990's, so parts are slightly different from Pauline Reage's novel. Worth a rental for the curious, this DVD is certainly not for those who are under 18. The aforementioned German track and no region coding should appeal to those outside of the United States.

  Copyright © 1999-2000, DVD Angle LLC.

Just Jaeckin: "I'm a dreamer, not a pornographer"

'Story of O' (1974) on DVD Reviewed : A viewer from Barcelona, Spain (May 13, 2002)

I have the DVD English edition of this film. Bonus materials include an interview with the director, Just Jaeckin, who says very interesting things: Eroticism and pornography are not the same thing, he hates pornography, what he is concerned with is fantasy, beauty and imagination. Fantasy is necessary for the "jeux d'amour", but you should'nt go too far, in fact, fantasy must stay in the imagination. He tried to interpret what the author, a woman, meant and for example in a nonjudgmental manner, he depicts lesbianism in a way lesbian women liked.

I thought Jaekin had this outlook, I'm am an enthusiast of him. He is an "author" director, with particular interests and views, and has given a ring of little jewels like "Perils of Gwendoline", "Madame Claude" or "Lady Chatterley's lover" -not to speak of the groundbreaking "Emmanuelle". He must be recognised as a very talented and skilled director.

Unfortunately, his style withered about the time pornography was made legal, revealingly, and his last work was released in 1984. Moral outrage did not allow to discuss the aesthetic values of his films. And now the rampant "politically correct" views cast a new shadow over the possibility of recognition, but on the other hand the increased tolerance towards lifestyles runs in the opposite direction.

So for Jaeckin, erotic fantasy is not only different from pornography but even the opposite. Bigots or clumsily sensual people couldn't understand that. It appears that the author of the book was not very appreciative of the film. That was her error. A dreamlike atmosphere pervades the whole footage, helped mightily by illumination, filters and of course the excellent score by Pierre Bachelet (that remembers, at some points Listz's "Dream of Love", a very fit inspiration, with its blending of sensuality and religiosity). There is nothing vulgar or coarse, all the actors and actresses are beautiful or conveniently rough, so are clothes, furniture, gardens, etc. A wise departure from the book comes at the close, when O claims her due from Sir Stephen, providing a happy end.

What the stoy is about is of course a metaphor. Love can be abnegation or self-denial, willingness to relinquish one's personality into the hands of the loved one, even at the price moral pain or shame. In this story this pain and shame is turned in part physical or real. But the important point is that O is prisoner, not of a group of kidnappers -that would be hateful- but of her love or her passion. The story is not about whipping but as a metaphor. Once and again she is told that she can repeal to go on playing the game, she undergoes all that of her own will -not in the details but in the general framework of submission to love and the loved person-.

In the development of the plot, some characters are "defeated" by their lovers o desired lovers. The moral pains of love are showed in their literal and metaphoric, aestheticised terms. René suffers for not having Jacqueline. Natalie burns with jealousy of Ann-Marie. The black servant is the idealized image of the shame that not corresponded love brings on. Even Sir Stephen falls in love with O and his person is branded by her -a great improvement of the screenplay to the story-. This is what the film is about, and not acts of sex or violence.

Corinne Clery is so beautiful. Even when she is submitted to those assorted punishments one sees her pride at the magnificence of her beauty, although the part was also designed so that she should be proud. She is now a talented stage actress and very beautiful still at 48.

Take this film, then, as a "dream of love", a tale where no one is forced but by their passions, desires, fantasies or their love and their desire to abide by its rules, having in mind what Jaekin says: don't try to bring them to real life, they have their place as dreams and as dreams only, perhaps with the message that some of these dreams are the spice that keeps love afoot.

A final word about "cut" and "uncut" versions. In the English language version about 8 minutes are omitted. They include some dialogues between René and O and some nudity of the latter. They are interesing to understand the web of feelings among the characters. The reason for the omission was not censure and nothing fundamental is missed in this English version.

A Masterwork of Erotic Fiction

'Story of O' (1975) Reviewed: freegeorge from Sri Lanka (May 16, 2001)

I was prompted to write this review after seeing some of the tripe written about the film. Most so-called adult films are mindless, empty, clinical depictions of rutting and most "erotica" is childish and bland.The Story of O is different: it is literature and the film is an excellent adaptation of the novel. I read the novel first and felt nothing but satisfation on viewing the film. The director and cast bring the novel alive as it is meant to be.

This story, written by a woman I might add, is not about the exploitation of women or a woman. It is not about submission to anything other than one's own love and sexuality. It is symbolic, so profoundly so, that it must touch upon our archetypes.

Many might miss that through submission, O conquers her lover--totally. There is an irony here in that her lover ends up the submissive one. She taps into the infinite power of her femininity and becomes a goddess. I am not into bondage and discipline personally, yet this movie is a favorite of my wife and me. O haunts, she is supernally erotic, and profoundly feminine.

The quality of the film is first class, it is well acted, and is a classic. IMO, it is a must have film. It is the only erotic film in our house--the rest just are so bland.

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