Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 2nd, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1998
Director: Tinto Brass
Writers: Tinto Brass, Barbara Alberti, Carla Cipriani
Cast: Anna Ammirati, Patrick Mower, Max Parodi, Susanna Martinková, Francesca Nunzi, Serena Grandi
BluRay Released: February 10th, 2014
Approximate running time: 91 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: DTS-HD Stereo English, DTS-HD Stereo Italian
Subtitles: English, English SDH
BluRay Release: Arrow Video
Region Encoding: Region B/ Region 2 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £19.99
Key collaborators on Frivolous Lola include cinematographer Massimo Di Venanzo, who worked with Tinto Brass on all of his features films from All Ladies do it thru Black Angel and composer Pino Donaggio (All Ladies do it, Cheeky!).
Where other Brass film’s revolved around a protagonist whose world’s revolved around their escapades, Frivolous Lola is the direct opposite of the protagonists Brass films are known for. Sure there is an undeniable sexually to the Lola character that is in the same vein as those who dominate most of Brass’s cinema and yet Lola has a genuine playful innocence that is unlike any character to appear before or since in a Brass film.
Though Lola has met the man of her dreams and she wants to save her virginity for him. She does not want to shut herself away from the world or change who she is. She is a young woman who is full of life and her main objective in life is to have fun.
Besides the aforementioned problems with her fiance due to her flirting, this film also weaves another subplot that revolves around a man who is her mother’s lover. And though everyone in town believes that he is Lola’s father, even he is not sure if she is really his daughter. This subplot sets up some very unusual and at times uncomfortable moments. With that being said, at least in regards to this relationship things never devolve into the decadent behavior that is present in several of Brass’s other films.
Setting the narrative in a bygone era is nothing new to Brass who has set several of his films in the past, most notably during World War II. This time around he sets Frivolous Lola in the gentler era of the 1950’s and in this regard this is one of this film’s most durable assets. Since setting the film in this era greatly aides the lighter tone that Brass is going for with this film.
From a production stand point there is not an area that does not excel. The production design is solid, pacing is pitch perfect and the film’s visuals are first rate. Once again Brass manages to capture the eye catching angles and body parts of his leading lady.
Performance wise the entire cast are all very good, especially Anna Ammirati in the role of this film’s protagonist Lola. She gives a remarkable performance that is equally engaging and provocative. It is not hard to see how all the men in the film are falling head over heels for her. Another performance of note is Patrick Mower (Cry of the Banshee) in the role of the man who helped raise Lola. Ultimately Frivolous Lola is highly entertaining and humorous farce about the obstacles that can happen before a wedding night.
Frivolous Lola comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. 31.4 GB is the size of this disc. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Before the film starts there is a brief disclaimer about how this brand new HD master was made at Cinecitta Digital Factory. This is another strong transfer from Arrow Video that does a superb job retaining the intended look of the film. Though this film has a deliberate soft look to it, the image always looks appropriately sharp and there are no issues with DNR or compression. Colors and flesh tones look accurate and black levels look very good.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD Stereo mix in English and a DTS-HD Stereo mix in Italian. Just like this releases transfer, both audio mixes are in great shape as dialog is always clear, everything sounds balanced and robust when it needs too. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles and English SDH subtitles.
Extras for this release include a English language trailer for the film (2 minutes 21 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen) and Italian language opening & closing titles. Other extras include a reversible covert art and collectable booklet new writing on the film by critic David Flint, illustrated with original archive stills. Also included with this combo release is a DVD that contains the same contents that are on the BluRay included as part of this release. Overall Frivolous Lola makes its way to HD via a first rate audio / video presentation from Arrow Video, recommended.