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Don’t Play with Tigers 
Written by: on July 30th, 2008

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1982
Director: Sergio Martino
Writers: Franco Castellano, Sergio Martino, Alberto Silvestri, Giuseppe Moccia, Franco Verucci
Cast: Edwige Fenech, Pippo Franco, Renato Pozzetto, Lino Banfi, Adriana Russo, George Hilton

DVD released: March 10th, 2008
Approximate running time: 116 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 & Dolby Digital Mono Italian
Subtitles: Italian
DVD Release: No Shame Italy
Region Coding: Region 0 PAL (Italy)
Retail Price: $24.95

Synopsis: The plot for Don’t Play with Tigers is made up of three separate stories which are all bound together as they are retold to a judge in court. The first story, unable to afford a vacation for his family Cesare builds a hut on a public beach. The vacation quickly becomes a nightmare when some French nudists pitch a tent near his hut. Not wanting to share the public land with nudists Cesare desperately tries to get rid of them. The second story, while on vacation with his family Mario Zamboni becomes entangled with counterfeiters who exploit his weakness for beautiful women. The third story, Berto Del Pra is desperate to land a deal with a wealthy Arabic sheik that will help end the strike at his shipyard. Berto is willing to do just about anything even sacrifice his beautiful wife Franscesca as leverage. Things become even more complicated when it becomes clear that the Sheik doesn’t want Franscesca he desires Berto.

Don’t Play with Tigers marked Edwige Fenech and Sergio Martino’s final feature film collaboration. They would work one more time together on the T.V. mini-series “Private Crimes” in 1993. Their most memorable collaborations include The Strange vice of Mrs. Wardh, All the Colors of the Dark and Your vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key.

Visually Don’t Play with Tigers lacks the style that is present in Sergio Martino’s best films. The weakest of the three stories is the second story about the husband with the roving eye that gets swindled by counterfeiters. The story wanders and the comedy in this story just falls flat. None of the performances stand out. The best of the three stories is the first story about the man who can’t afford a family vacation so he follows the advice of friend who tells him how he and his family can have the vacation they dreamed of at virtually no cost. The comedy is nearly flawless as Cesare the bumbling husband fails into one trap after another. This story features the only memorable shots in the film as shots of nudity are often obscured by objects and people’s heads. Out of all the performances in Don’t Play with Tigers Pippo Franco’s performance as Cesare is the most enjoyable part of the film. The third and final story about an owner of a shipyard takes some time to find its footing. The ending of this story is the most satisfying out of the three stories included in this film. Edwige Fenech plays the Franscesca the shipyard owner’s wife in the story. In her minimal screen time she is mostly used as eye candy. It is amusing that she is so prominently featured on the art work for this film since her role amounts to a glorified cameo. Even though he has less screen time than Edwige Fenech my favorite performance in the third story was George Hilton as an Arabic Sheik.

Ultimately Don’t Play with Tigers is an uninspired comedy that even the more enthusiastic of Edwige Fenech fans have a hard time enjoying.

The DVD:

Don’t Play with Tigers is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. My only previously viewing experience of Don’t Play with Tigers was via a Dutch VHS release that looked extremely ruff and washed out. No Shame Italy’s DVD finally brings the colors alive and details look razor sharp throughout. The image is free of any print damage and edge enhancement is minimal.

This release comes with two audio options A Dolby Digital 5.1 remix and a Dolby Digital mono mix. Both audio are presented in the films native language Italian and Italian subtitles have been included. Both audio mixes sound clear and are free of any audio defects. The mono mix is the more satisfying of the two audio mixes.

Once again extras content is limited to the films Italian language trailer. No Shame Italy’s DVD release presents Don’t Play with Tigers in its full length 116 minute version which restores about sixteen minutes that is missing from the English language Dutch VHS release. The first story suffers the majority of the cuts which amount to about ten minutes while the last two stories cuts are about three minutes each. Virtually all the missing footage which has been included in the No Shame Italy DVD release is integral to each of the three stories plots. Even though this release lacks English audio/subtitle options like No Shame Italy’s other Edwige Fenech releases the solid audio/video presentation of the uncut version of the film make this without a doubt the best version of Don’t Play with Tigers currently available on DVD.

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