Untold Scandal

Untold Scandal

Theatrical poster
Hangul -
Hanja 스캔들 -
Revised Romanization Seukandeul - Joseon namnyeo sang'yeoljisa
McCune–Reischauer Sŭk'aendŭl - Chosŏn namnyŏ sang'yŏlchisa
Directed by E J-yong
Produced by Lee Yoo-jin
Oh Jeong-wan
Written by Kim Dae-woo
Kim Hyeon-jeong
E J-yong
Based on Les Liaisons dangereuses
by Choderlos de Laclos
Starring Bae Yong-joon
Jeon Do-yeon
Lee Mi-sook
Music by Lee Byung-woo
Cinematography Kim Byeong-il
Edited by Kim Yang-il
Han Seung-ryong
Bom Films
Distributed by CJ Entertainment
Release dates
  • October 2, 2003 (2003-10-02)
Running time
123 minutes
Country South Korea
Language Korean
Budget $5,000,000
Box office $5,762,801[1]

Untold Scandal (Hangul: 스캔들 - 조선 남녀 상열지사; RR: Seukandeul - Joseon namnyeo sang'yeoljisa; lit. "Scandal: The Love Story of Men and Women in Joseon") is a 2003 South Korean romantic drama film directed by E J-yong, and starring Bae Yong-joon, Jeon Do-yeon, and Lee Mi-sook. Loosely based on the 18th century French novel Les Liaisons dangereuses, this adaptation takes place in late 18th century Korea, during the Joseon dynasty.

In Japan the film was given an R-18 rating by the Japanese Film Ethics Commission.[2] The film was a major commercial success, and became the fourth highest grossing domestic film of 2003 with 3,522,747 tickets sold nationwide.[3]


A beautiful but cynical noblewoman makes a bet with her free-spirited cousin that he can have sex with her if he is able to seduce a young woman of great virtue. He accepts the challenge with enthusiasm though not suspecting the nasty trap he is walking into.


Differences from the original novel

Monsieur de Tourvel (Madame Marie de Tourvel/Lady Jeong's husband), who was away for a court case in the novel, was in the film deceased, making Lady Jeong a widow of nine years. Furthermore, Lady Jeong lived in Ganghwa Island, and in the film, she is living in Seoul as there was a plague at her hometown at that time.

Jo-won (Vicomte Sébastien de Valmont) and Madam Jo (Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil) were in the film cousins (Jo-won the younger cousin), and it is revealed that Jo-won's first love was Madam Jo, whereas in the novel, they were rivals, yet using the same tools for their revenge: sex.

Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil (Madam Jo)'s former lover is arranged to be Cécile's future husband in the novel, but in the film, his character is Madam Jo's husband. In So-ok's case, she is being made into a concubine of Madam Jo's husband for the continuity of the family lineage with the elders' consent.

Lee So-ok (Cécile de Volanges) was ushered in to Madam Jo's care to be the concubine of her husband, and is conspiring with Jo-won to make her pregnant for revenge (with Madam Jo telling her husband what really happened to So-ok at her husband's deathbed).

Chevalier Raphael Danceny was originally Cécile's music tutor in the novel, but in the film, Kwon In-ho (Raphael Danceny's counterpart) is the youngest son of Madam Jo's next-door neighbor and also Lady Jeong's cousin.

Awards and nominations

2003 Pusan International Film Festival

2003 Blue Dragon Film Awards[4]

2004 Baeksang Arts Awards

2004 Verona Film Festival

2004 Grand Bell Awards

2004 Shanghai International Film Festival

2004 Korean Film Awards


  1. "Box office by Country: Untold Scandal" Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
  2. "Bae Yong-jun's 'Scandal' Causing Scandal in Japan". The Chosun Ilbo. 5 April 2004. Retrieved 2011-10-22.
  3. "The Best Selling Films of 2003". Koreanfilm.org. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
  4. "Untold Scandal - Awards". Cinemasie. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
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