It is one of the notorious titles in all cinema history, but--sigh--it looks rather quaint today. In the mid-1930s, Ecstasy was a great conversation piece, for its scandalous acknowledgment of sexual passion in women and its revelation of the naked form of actress Hedy Kiesler, who would become the Hollywood star Hedy Lamarr. Henry Miller even wrote an excited essay about it, sure proof that something libidinous was loose. Czech director Gustav Machatý constructs the movie as an almost wordless shadow play of symbols and signs, mostly sexual (there are many close-ups of heavy-breathing horses and nude statues, cut together for maximum erotic impact). As precious as some of these things seem now, it's still amazing to consider Machatý's nerve in depicting one of the first orgasms to hit the movies. And then there's Hedy, whose expressive eyes matter more than her brief skinny-dip. She's an unmistakable future star. --Robert Horton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.