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Ecstasy

 Unrated   VHS Tape
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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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

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four and a half stars! Dec 4 2003
Format:DVD
This movie, starring a young Hedy Lamarr is proof of how sexual old films could be without showing much!
Ecstasy is basically the story of a young girl who marries an old guy (though they don't really explain why she did in the first place). He isn't at all interested in her on their wedding night...he isn't really interested in her at all! The simple prettiness of Hedy makes her seem like a girl you yourself would know and it makes it that much easier to feel all the emotions she is feeling. I was a little confused as to why there were silent parts (without even the use of dialogue boxes) and also talking parts. I personally liked the silent scenes. Hedy was a wonderful actress and her face alone could tell the entire story.
Anyways, after she requests a divorce from her husband, she lives with her father and while out alone one day, she decides to go swimming in the nude (this scene was blown way out of proportion; yes, she was naked, but I thought it was done very tastefully and you really don't see much). I won't give away all that happens, but by the end of that scene she meets a very VERY handsome land surveyor, who is everything she's searching for. After this initial meeting she later goes to his home and this results in the first on-screen orgasm, which was done simply showing Hedy's face, and it became, in my opinion, the hottest love scene ever!
Overall, this movie was excellent, though it should probably be seen more than once to see every little erotic message the director put in there. I would have given it five stars, but I didn't care for the ending. But please don't let that keep you from seeing this film! It is still wonderful!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
97 of 97 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A novelty every collector should have Feb. 15 2000
By William R. Ray - Published on Amazon.com
This film has so many versions that it's hard to say which one you will get. The original is quite spicy with several nude scenes of Hedy Geisler (Hedy Lamar). The sound track is primitive with just a little dialog or, depending on which cut, no dialog. This film was made just into the sound era in Chechoslovakia. As a collectors' item, it is a must for classic film buffs, not for its quality or filmaking technique but for its impact on movie censorship in the US. The theme here is adultry. Hedy plays a young new wife to an older cold fish. Fustrated on her wedding night, she embarks on various endeavors clearly motivated by sexual fustration. The nude swim after a horseback ride is what all the hoopla was about. The horse runs away carrying our girl's clothes. From this point on, various versions carry various degrees of Hedy depending on which cut you get. I have 2, one purchased commercially in 1975 and another obtained later from a private collector. The second has much more nudity than the first. While hiding in the woods, Hedy meets a young surveyor and a liason blossoms. You'll have to buy the film to find out what happens. I would buy this film, especially if you haven't seen it. Although tame by modern standards, it had 'em gasping in 1933.
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four and a half stars! Dec 4 2003
By Carrie Elizabeth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This movie, starring a young Hedy Lamarr is proof of how sexual old films could be without showing much!
Ecstasy is basically the story of a young girl who marries an old guy (though they don't really explain why she did in the first place). He isn't at all interested in her on their wedding night...he isn't really interested in her at all! The simple prettiness of Hedy makes her seem like a girl you yourself would know and it makes it that much easier to feel all the emotions she is feeling. I was a little confused as to why there were silent parts (without even the use of dialogue boxes) and also talking parts. I personally liked the silent scenes. Hedy was a wonderful actress and her face alone could tell the entire story.
Anyways, after she requests a divorce from her husband, she lives with her father and while out alone one day, she decides to go swimming in the nude (this scene was blown way out of proportion; yes, she was naked, but I thought it was done very tastefully and you really don't see much). I won't give away all that happens, but by the end of that scene she meets a very VERY handsome land surveyor, who is everything she's searching for. After this initial meeting she later goes to his home and this results in the first on-screen orgasm, which was done simply showing Hedy's face, and it became, in my opinion, the hottest love scene ever!
Overall, this movie was excellent, though it should probably be seen more than once to see every little erotic message the director put in there. I would have given it five stars, but I didn't care for the ending. But please don't let that keep you from seeing this film! It is still wonderful!
44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One star for film quality March 19 2005
By David E. Miller - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I was amazed by some of the camerawork in this film, enjoyed the inclusion of nudity and sensuality, and was awed by the forceful (propaganda?) images of manual laborers towards the end. The story is simple, but involving. If the film quality were good, I would give this film four or five stars. But I must warn you that while quite a few films this old have survived the ravages of time, or have been restored in one way or another, this film is in absolutely dreadful condition. The soundtrack hisses and rattles (deranging the music, since there is practically no dialogue), and the celluoid is thoroughly scratched, not to mention split asunder by occasional "thunderbolts." Perhaps it would have been too expensive to attempt a complete restoration of this particular film, but for the high price of the DVD, you'd expect some attempt to correct at least some of the damage. (Note: Anyone wishing to buy this strictly for the nude scenes will be largely disappointed because the nudity is mostly distant, and the film quality leaves most of the details to the viewer's imagination.) "Extase" definitely merits restoration, if it is feasible. As it is, the film quality so distracts from the viewing experience that it's painful to watch.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasant Surprise June 30 2006
By Socrates53 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I purchased this flick because it has a notorious reputation, and my reaction was, "Yeah, Right. How wild could a 1932 movie be?" Admittedly, Heddy Lamarr is shown swimming and running through a forest in the nude, and there is a love scene where she reportedly has the first orgasm ever filmed, but these scenes really contribute to a sense of naturalness to the film that I didn't find nasty or lewd....just artful. The use of visual symbols throughout the film is rich, clever,and quite accessable to a modern mind, unlike other films approaching it's time. I'm not a great scholar of films from the 30's, but I was reminded of clips I had seen of Leni Riefenstal's film, "Olympia." There is little dialog, which is in German, although the film is subtitled, but that really removes what would otherwise distract one from enjoying the visual wealth of this film. The soundtrack is well in synchronized with the film in both timing and mood. Altogether and interesting addition to any collection.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Romanticism made cinema Feb. 26 2011
By Joseph Ryan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Wonderful cinematic romanticism celebrating the beauty and force of nature, of the physical world, and of life itself. Pain as an integral part of love.

Lush and psychologically vivid music recalling Richard Strauss's operas. Even the very sparse dialogue is essentially unnecessary.

A tour de force of imagery; a rare treat.
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