“Story Of O” (1975)



Published in 1954, Anne Declos’ Marquis de Sade-influenced novel “Story Of O” (published under the nom de plume Pauline Reage) was one of the most important literary works in introducing BDSM to a wider audience —as a literary phenomenon, it was inevitable that the book would make it to the screen at some point. “Wages Of Fear” and “Les Diaboliques” helmer Henri-Georges Clouzot unsuccessfully attempted to mount an adaptation at one point, but it eventually reached the screen thanks to “Emmanuelle” director Just Jaeckin in 1975. It’s largely plot-free, involving a young woman called O (Corinne Cleary) whose lover Rene (Udo Kier) brings her to a chateau to be initiated in the world of sadomasochism by his step-brother Sir Stephen (Anthony Steel). It’s a clear forerunner to ‘Fifty Shades,’ though the exploits are a fair bit more hardcore and shares many of the same dramatic weaknesses. If your inclinations line up with the film’s ensemble, there might be some allure (though the presence of Kier is, frankly a little off-putting), but the characters are so blank, the material so repetitive, and the direction so cheap and shoddy (and often unintentionally funny, like the LOL-tastic owl mask that O wears at the end) that it’s typically hard for the non-inclined to get anything out of it. Still, the whole thing’s on YouTube, though the film was banned in the UK until 2000.

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