Written by: Carroll Jenkins on December 1st, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: Italy / Spain, 1981
Director: Gianfranco Angelucci
Writers: Gianfranco Angelucci, Liliane Betti, Enrique U. Herrera
Cast: Clio Goldsmith, Catherine Spaak, Fernando Rey, Donatella Damiani, Nieves Navarro, Lino Troisi, Adriana Russo, Giuseppe Pennese, Francisca Fernández, Luc Merenda
DVD released: December 7th, 2010
Approximate running time: 83 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Secret Key Motion Pictures
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.99
Synopsis: A writer forces a publisher to read her erotic manuscript at gun point. The story-within-a-story features a sweet young thing who checks into a hotel full of eccentric and libidinous patrons.
This is an Italian / Spanish co-production starring Clio Goldsmith, a European starlet with a brief career before marrying money. Her character and casting seem patterned directly on Jessica Harper in Suspiria. Clio has similar girl-next-door qualities, and captivates throughout. That’s good since the film is filled to the brim with close-ups and reaction shots featuring her freckled face and [less frequently] her all-over European tan.
Is she really an innocent? Well, she certainly takes to voyeurism immediately, and roams around the hotel either in nothing but one-piece outer garments that can be shed in an instant, or even stark naked. The hotel and the occupants are not unlike those in Paul Bartel’s Private Parts, but whereas that is realistic and gritty, this is surreal and ambiguous – though both are perverse. This is a rather slowly paced erotic fantasy with touches of the mundane that become absurd, extravagant setups, striking camera angles, and basic but bizarre sets (walls of cotton batting?). Too bad it’s mostly setup with little payoff.
Mere conjecture department: the original project may have been a masterpiece of it’s kind but has been lost to time. Filmed in ’81 but not released until ’83, what’s left are numerous elaborate scenarios that meticulously build up to – nothing. The framing story is an obvious device to pad the run time back out and partially camouflage cuts necessary to appease censors. Even in expurgated form it’s a superior example of erotic fantasy, and Clio is one Foxy Lady.
Much superior than the fuzzy scrambled cable cover shot would indicate, this is presented in 4:3 fullscreen with English dub and no subtitles or captions. Looks good and is enjoyable.
Note: This is one of the four films presented in the Scrambled Sex release. Stay tuned for more. . .