Untold Scandal

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Untold Scandal
Untold Scandal.jpg
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 date
  • 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 (Hangul스캔들 - 조선 남녀 상열지사; RRSeukandeul - 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 and manipulative noblewoman makes a bet with her free-spirited womanizing 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.


  • Bae Yong-joon – Jo-won (Vicomte Sébastien de Valmont)
  • Jeon Do-yeon – Lady Jeong (Madame Marie de Tourvel)
  • Lee Mi-sook – Madam Jo (Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil)
  • Lee So-yeon – Lee So-ok (Cécile de Volanges)
  • Jo Hyun-jae – Kwon In-ho (Cécile's music tutor Chevalier Raphael Danceny)
  • Lee Mi-ji – So-ok's mother (Cécile's mother Madame de Volanges)
  • – Madam Jo's husband (Merteuil's former love, the Comte de Gercourt)
  • Choi Ban-ya – Chu Wol-yi
  • Choi Sung-min – slave
  • Jeon Yang-ja – Vice-Premier's wife
  • Seo Yoon-ah – Jung-geum
  • Han Yi-bin – Eun-sil
  • Jung Jae-jin – elder 2
  • Kong Ho-suk – elder 3
  • Na Han-il – Nobleman Yoo

Differences from the original novel[edit]

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[edit]

2003 Pusan International Film Festival

2003 Blue Dragon Film Awards[4]

2004 Baeksang Arts Awards

2004 Verona Film Festival

  • Stefano Reggiani Prize (from the Veneto's Order of Journalists)
  • Best Artistic, Technical, or Creative Contribution

2004 Grand Bell Awards

  • Best Costume Design – Jung Ku-ho, Kim Hee-ju
  • Nomination – Best Film
  • Nomination – Best Director – E J-yong
  • Nomination – Best Actress – Jeon Do-yeon
  • Nomination – Best Actress – Lee Mi-sook
  • Nomination – Best New Actor – Bae Yong-joon
  • Nomination – Best Planning – Lee Yoo-jin
  • Nomination – Best Adapted Screenplay – Kim Dae-woo, E J-yong, Kim Hyeon-jeong
  • Nomination – Best Cinematography – Kim Byeong-il
  • Nomination – Best Art Direction – Jung Ku-ho
  • Nomination – Best Music – Lee Byung-woo

2004 Shanghai International Film Festival

2004 Korean Film Awards

  • Best Art Direction – Jung Ku-ho
  • Nomination – Best Actress – Lee Mi-sook
  • Nomination – Best Director – E J-yong
  • Nomination – Best Cinematography – Kim Byeong-il
  • Nomination – Best Music – Lee Byung-woo


  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.

External links[edit]