Dr. Sayer(Philippe Leroy), a wealthy physician with psychological issues regarding the opposite sex, kidnaps an employee, Maria(Dagmar Lassander), a free-thinking liberal woman who believes men must be the ones "fixed" instead of females. Sayer retreats to his palatial estate, running Maria through a humiliating series of mind games, threatening to molest and kill her. Sayer's desire, it seems, is to dominate her body, mind and soul, making her his sexual slave, obeying his commands, adhering to his every wish and whim. After resistance, at first, Maria slowly teeters towards his objective, but has plans of her own..she says she wishes to help Sayer relinquish his sadistic behavior towards women, so that he could love and not feel such yearning desires to harm. It seems that Sayer has her under his grip, agreeing to certain rather embarrassing scenarios(..such as lotioning his toes, "making love" to a blow-up doll which is a recreation of himself, often spending time topless, and even getting hosed down when she slaps him hard across the face bringing blood from his nose)which almost break her, but something happens as the troubled doctor slowly falls in love with Maria..and through what appears to be a desperate attempt to end the madness, Maria gains an upper hand, toying with Sayer's lust for her body.
More of a battle of wills, a kind of sexual warfare where it seems one is in charge when in fact the other truly has the upper hand. Through a great deal of the film, Sayer mistreats Maria, forcing her(..it seems)to submit to his series of psychological games of a sexual nature. Her attempts to escape fail because his home is such a well designed fortress..it's a typical European art deco kind of palace, fashioned and orchestrated by a man who has kept to this weekend retreat of his for quite a spell(..it features walls and doors opening at his command, with an area quarantined off for his "victims"). But, once Maria seemingly downs a bottle of pills as a result of her anguish at his hands, the tables are turned and she has him where she wants him. He finds that he actually craves her and Maria uses this to her advantage, playing hard to get when Sayer wishes to embrace and ravage her(..and, I could understand his frustration because she has this allure that can drive a man crazy)
I felt the film works, ultimately, as a war cry for women, their empowerment and uprising against men who have the notion that they should always have control, sexually and mentally. The "twist" finalizes this ideal. I couldn't swallow Sayer's fate because of his rigorous cardiovascular activity and exercise regimen..we see how he develops his toned athletic figure, and how this regimen is part of the normal routine every weekend before the true mind games with his victim begin. If he is so well fit, and spends such time developing himself for the extracurricular activities which follow his regimen, how could he suffer the fate which follows his finalizing the deal with Maria at the end when she stops resisting his advances?
Maria, he would later admit, is the first he's actually kidnapped; others from the past, call-girls, were paid for their services so that Sayer could feel the power of dominating a woman, even if it's all a fictitious charade brought about by a deeply troubled individual with an inability to connect with the opposite sex. The spontaneous decision to do so, to take a leap from the norm, costs him more than he could ever know.
All this psycho-sexual sub-text is rather fascinating to see unravel, but Dagmar Lassander, such a yummy sex kitten, was my reason for enjoying it so..without her, I couldn't have liked it as much because she's vital as a victim worth striving to obtain. Perhaps the film's highlight, the delicious dance as Lassander, clothed in gauze(!), unravels the wardrobe exposing her breasts to a jazzy score..it's the kind of sexually seductive moment that makes your mouth water and forehead sweat. Dagmar Lassander must've been a joy for fashion designers because she wears those clothes so well..she has this kind of cool, a sophistication and screen presence along with her beauty and seductive powers, Dagmar transcends the part to create an iconic character which would define her career..even if the film isn't well known(..I found about through word of mouth). The provocative nature of the script and risqué subject matter might not appeal to certain crowds as it deals with sex(..and pain) in many different forms, the dialogue quite illustrative and elaborative. At times, I couldn't help but chuckle at Sayer's comments towards an imprisoned Maria, regarding how he enjoys making women suffer, and the thrill he gets at forcing them into a type of slavery(..in an attempt to make the words poetic, it all feels rather hokey). But, Dagmar is the real reason to see it, and the film, to me, works at it's best as a fetish film, a possible male fantasy with this seemingly prim and proper idealist, captured and held against her will, forced into a precarious situation, her fate possibly at the mercy of a complex and possibly dangerous masochist. Her submission, and how she reacts towards his aggressive behavior with her(..there are times where she unfolds to a wavering desire to embrace him, unveiling a possible attraction towards him which, in itself, might startle some who watch it)are among the most fascinating highlights of this exploitation feature. My other favorite scene, besides the dance, is the piano concerto with Sayer fondling Maria as she plays a soothing melody.