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Marquis de Sade’s Justine (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

A poor orphan expelled from an orphanage and separated from her sister faces harrowing degradations from sexual perverts, rapists, and torturers trying to maintain her piety as her sisters fortune rise while following a darker path in 1700s Paris.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Justine_BLU-BD-7519

Tyrone Power’s 18-year-old daughter Romina Power starred in the titular role in Jesus “Jess” Franco’s adaptation of Marquis De Sade’s Justine

Justine and her sister Juliette (Maria Rohm) are two poor orphans in 18th century France who are cast out of their orphanage to fend for themselves in a harsh Paris. Sister Juliette decides to give in to a life of lasciviousness and crime, joining a brothel and eventually conspiring to murder the Madame and steal her riches to get ahead in life. As the two sisters part ways and Juliette’s fortunes continue to rise, Justine holds fast to her piety, which results in her facing one hardship after another. Innkeeper Mssr. de Harpin (Akim Tamiroff) employs her as a maid but pushes her to prostitute herself, eventually allowing her to be framed as a thief by a wealthy patron. Arrested, imprisoned, and facing death, Justine joins with a murderess on death row, Mme. Dubois (Mercedes McCambridge), whom she escapes prison with, becoming a fugitive. Justine then falls into the clutches of the treacherous gay Le marquis de Bressac (Horst Frank) who literally brands her a murderess, before she is imprisoned as a sex slave by a sex cult led by the monk Brother Antonin (Jack Palance).

Franco’s films, including Marquis De Sade’s Justine, were always hindered by budget constraints, but they belie that issue by presenting lavish set designs and unique cinematography. Fritz Lang referred to Franco’s SUCCUBUS as “the first erotic film I’ve seen all the way through because it’s a beautiful piece of cinema.” And Franco squeezes out every bit of visual artistry from the film, whether it is the play with shadows and color, and the unusual camera angles in the sex cult scenes, or the scenes of murder with Juliet.

Romina Power may have brought name recognition, but her performance is as lost as the young woman at the center of the story with her lackluster performance. She was surely a beautiful young woman, which was but one qualification for a Franco film, but her bland acting – like a deer in the headlights at times – takes away from the impact of de Sade’s most biting and perverse critiques.

  • Romina Power and Horst Frank in Marquis de Sade's Justine (1969)
  • Marquis de Sade's Justine (1969)
  • Sylva Koscina in Marquis de Sade's Justine (1969)
  • Maria Rohm in Marquis de Sade's Justine (1969)
  • Marquis de Sade's Justine (1969)
  • Jack Palance and Romina Power in Marquis de Sade's Justine (1969)
  • Sylva Koscina in Marquis de Sade's Justine (1969)
  • Romina Power in Marquis de Sade's Justine (1969)
  • Romina Power in Marquis de Sade's Justine (1969)
  • Justine_BLU-BD-7519

The Video

Marquis de Sade’s Justine arrives as a world premiere, brand new 4K restoration from the uncensored original camera negative on 4K Ultra HD from Blue Underground. The 1.66:1 HEVC 2160p (4K UHD) Dolby Vision encodement is simply brilliant. There is a staggeringly natural and crisp presentation of grain and excellent detail. The source is in excellent condition and whatever cleanup was done has done little to harm the organic appearance of the imagery. The wide color gamut presents vibrant array of color gradients from the verdant green dresses to the red lighting of the brothel. Specular highlights also have good ‘pop’ in things like candle light, the sunlight coming through windows, or the sheen on jewels.

The Audio

The monaural audio mix for Justine comes in lossless English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 and a French dub in the same. The English is the way to go with the clearest sound and the best synch up of the dialogue.

The Supplements

The supplements included, mainly on the Blu-ray, all give interesting information on Franco and his films, but the audio commentary is the prime inclusion here. Thompson and Howarth are conversational while going into details about Franco’s history, the actors, and the film itself.

On 4K:

  • Audio commentary with film historians Nathaniel Thompson and Troy Howarth
  • French Trailer (4K; DV)

On Blu-ray:

  • Audio commentary with film historians Nathaniel Thompson and Troy Howarth
  • The Perils and Pleasures of Justine – Interviews with Director Jess Franco and Writer/Producer Harry Alan Towers (1080p; 00:20:03)
  • Stephen Thrower on Justine – Interview with the author of “Murderous Passions: The Delirious Cinema of Jesus Franco” (1080p; 00:17:35)
  • On Set with Jess – Interview with Star Rosalba Neri (1080p; 00:08:17)
  • French Trailer (1080p)
  • Poster & Still Gallery (1080p)
  • Deadly Sanctuary – The shorter U.S. version of Justine in HD

The Final Assessment

One of Jess Franco’s most popular films, Marquis De Sade’s Justine arrives here beautifully restored in its uncut version on 4K, looking delicious. Fans of this sort of late 1960s/early 1970s cult/erotic cinema are sure to enjoy this.


Marquis de Sade’s Justine is out on 4K Ultra HD Combo February 21, 2023, from Blue Underground.


  • Rating Certificate: Not Rated
  • Studios & Distributors: Etablissement Sargon | Corona Filmproduktion | Aica Cinematografica S.R.L | American International Pictures (AIP) | Blue Underground
  • Director: Jesús “Jess” Franco
  • Written By: Marquis de Sade (novel: Justine ou les malheurs de la vertu) | Harry Alan Towers (screenplay) | Arpad DeRiso (screenplay)
  • Run Time: 124 Mins.
  • Street Date: 21 February 2023
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • HDR Format: Dolby Vision (HDR10 Compatible)
  • HDR10 Metadata:
    • MaxLL: 1000 nits
    • MaxFALL: 889 nits
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 1.0
  • Secondary Audio: French DTS-HD MA 1.0
  • Subtitles: English SDH | French | Spanish
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A poor orphan expelled from an orphanage and separated from her sister faces harrowing degradations from sexual perverts, rapists, and torturers trying to maintain her piety as her sisters fortune rise while following a darker path in 1700s Paris. Marquis de Sade's Justine (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)