Although it has much in common with Walerian Borowczyk’s earlier work, Immoral Tales marks the point where his reputation as an arty pornographer began, and was sexually explicit enough to have caused problems with the censors on its original UK release.
It tells four stories revolving around particular taboos (virginity, female masturbation, bloodlust, incest), each delving further back in time, as if to suggest that the same issues recur constantly throughout human history and in all walks of life, whether it’s Lucrezia Borgia (Florence Bellamy) or Erzsébet Báthory (Paloma Picasso in her only screen role) or the anonymous teenagers of the earlier episodes.
This high-definition restoration by Argos Films is being released on Blu-ray with English subtitles for the first time. The film is presented in two versions: the familiar four-part edition, and the original five-part conception, including the short film The True Story of the Beast of Gévaudan that was later expanded into Borowczyk’s later feature The Beast. The disc also includes both cuts of A Private Collection (1973), the short film that scandalised film festival audiences with its witty and often graphic study of vintage erotica.
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