BluRay/DVD Reviews

SEDUCTION: THE CRUEL WOMAN

By • Aug 19th, 2003 •

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First Run Features, 1985
84 mins.
Interviews with director. Photo Gallery. Trailer

Watching SEDUCTION: THE CRUEL WOMAN is like looking at a nine foot tall dominatrix. It looks great, but there’s far too much of it. It’s storyline concerns Wanda, a Hamburg art gallery owner, who is also an S & M dominatrix. She gives customers kinky performances starring herself, her maids and slaves. The performances dominate (there’s that word again!) much of the film’s 84 minute running time. Like the story, the dialog is at a minimum, which actually works. Literary fans will have fun spotting the Marquis de Sade references in the story and performances. Had the film been cut by about twenty minutes, the images of love and bonding turning sour and upside-down would have haunted my sleep for days, but as it is, it just got repetitive.

One of the best things in the film was Udo Kier, best known for FLESH FOR FRANKENSTEIN and BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ. With his beautiful speaking voice, it was spooky to watch him as one of Wanda’s slaves, constantly mistreated. The film was made in 1985, a year before Adrian Lyne introduced bondage and discipline to Hollywood with 9 1/2 WEEKS. German audiences watching this film had an additional shock. The film’s bizarre erotic-sadismo sets were designed by Xenia Katzenstein, who right before this production was the Florence Henderson-like star of German coffee commercials.

The film’s co-writer and co-director, Eifi Mikesch, has an interesting directing filmography, with such titles as DANISH GIRLS DO EVERYTHING, FEMALE MISBEHAVIOR, DAILY CHICKEN and A VIRUS KNOWS NO MORALS.

I was disappointed that I didn’t get to learn more about such a curious subject. For example, the film never let us know that S & M people have their own flags. Its colors of course, are black and blue (This is true, I assure you.).


Credits:
Written and Directed by Eifi Mikesch and Monika Treut

Cast:
Mechthild Grossman, Udo Kier, Shiela McLaughlin

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