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Alcove, The 
Written by: on January 22nd, 2010

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1984
Director: Joe D’Amato
Writers: Ugo Moretti
Cast: Lilli Carati, Annie Belle, Al Cliver, Roberto Caruso, Laura Gemser, Nello Pazzafini

DVD released: February 23rd, 2010
Approximate running time: 93 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
Subtitles: N/A
DVD Release: Severin Films
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95

Synopsis: A military officer returns home with an African princess that was given to him as a gift. Shortly after her arrival tension arises when the other in the military officers’ life becomes jealous of her. As time draws everyone who comes in contact with the African princess falls under her spell of seduction.

The Alcove is a period drama set in the early 1940’s.The story revolves around an African Princess named Zerbal who encounters along the way seduces all those who comes in contact with her. The most appealing part of this film is the transformation of the Zerbal character that evolves from a naive native girl whose only purpose is to serve her master into a confident temptress who turns the tables on those who she previously had served.

Pacing wise the film’s is going early on with the strongest section being the film’s final act. One area that may put some viewers off is this film’s the racism that is directed from all the characters towards the Zerbal character. The film also features plenty of nudity and sex scenes. The sex scenes are this film’s weakest links as they lack the heat that is present in Joe D’Amato’s best erotica films. The only sex scene that has the sleazy and nasty tone that Joe D’Amato does so effectively, is a scene in which the characters dress up for a faux inquisition which they are filming for a porno.

From a production stand point the 1940’s era is reasonably pulled off. The film is beautifully photographed and director Joe D’Amato takes full advantage of his three leading ladies sex appeal, especially Laura Gemser (Emanuelle in America), who is cast in the role of Zerbal. The most surprising performance comes from Annie Belle (Laure), in the role of the military officers’ secretary.

Throughout the 1970’s Joe D’Amato was at the forefront of exploitation cinema in Italy directing some of the most notable erotica films to emerge from this era. His post 1970’s films for the most fall short of the high bar he had set for himself. Despite its shortcomings, The Alcove is easily the best erotica film that he has made post the 1970’s.

The DVD:

Severin Films presents The Alcove in an anamorphic widescreen that frames the image in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Reportedly this film’s intended aspect ratio is 1.66:1 and even though the image has been framed in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The image never looks cramped. This transfer has been flagged for progressive playback. The transfer faithfully retains the soft focus cinematography, colors look nicely saturated, flesh tones look accurate, black levels fare well and details look generally crisp throughout.

This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono English. Outside of some very mild instances of background hiss, the audio sounds clear and balanced throughout.

Extras for this release include an English language trailer for the film (2 minutes 59 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and an interview with Joe D’Amato titled “Talking Dirty with Joe D’Amato” (11 minutes 11 seconds – anamorphic widescreen). The interview primarily focuses on the film’s that Joe D’Amato with actress Laura Gemser. Overall The Alcove gets a solid DVD release from Severin Films that is highlighted by interview with Joe D’Amato.

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