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Nun of Monza, The (1969) 
Written by: on November 23rd, 2006

Theatrical Release Dates:
Italy, 1969
Director: Eriprando Visconti
Cast: Anne Heywood, Antonio Sabata, Laura Belli, Pier Paolo Capponi, Carla Gravina, Luigi Pistilli

DVD released: 2003
Approximate running time: 98 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Letterboxed Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English, Dolby Digital Mono German
Subtitles: German (Forced)
DVD Release: X Rated Kult DVD
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL (Germany)
Retail Price: $29.95

Synopsis: Giampaolo Osio (Antonio Sabato) is forced to find sanctuary in the monastery of Monza, after he murders a man. It doesn’t take long before he wears out his welcome with the mother superior sister Virginia (Anne Heywood), who asks him to leave. Osio with the help of two nuns rapes the mother superior and shortly thereafter, they begin a love affair which leads to a child being born. And with the help of the other nuns. They do everything they can to conceal their sins, including murdering those who threaten to reveal their perversions to the church.

The story of nuns of Monza had previously been made into a film in 1962 by director Carmine Gallone under the title La Monaca di Monza (The Nun of Monza) and eighteen years later in 1980 by director Bruno Mattei La Vera storia della monaca di Monza (The True Story of the Nun of Monza). In 1969 director Eriprando Visconti, the nephew of legendary Italian filmmaker Luchino Visconti would direct his own adaptation of the tale about the nuns of Monza.

This early entry into the Nunsplotation genre features many of clichés that would later become staples of this genre like torture, nudity and forbidden love affairs. Eriprando Visconti (La Orca) does a fine job directing this film. The story for the film starts off strongly. With the middle and final act lacking direction. With the story focusing more on shocking moments that try to top the next, instead of relying on this film’s strengths. The illicit affair between mother superior sister Virginia and Giampaolo Osio. The film’s cinematography is exquisite and it was shot by famed cinematographer Luigi Kuveiller, who is most known for his work on Profondo rosso, A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin and Investigation of a Citizen above Suspicion.

Despite a plot that is all over the place and lacks any clear direction. The acting in this film is really good all around. Most notably, Anne Heywood (Satan’s Wife), who would go on to star in The Nuns of Saint Archangel. She delivers what is arguably, the best performance of her career. The films other lead is Antonio Sabato (Seven Bloodstained Orchids, Gang War in Milan) in the role of Giampaolo Osio. His good looks and need to smile so much hurts his overall performance. He just doesn’t fit the role as I imagined it to be portrayed. To his credit, this is one of his better turns as an actor. This film’s cast features four prominent Euro-cult performers Laura Belli (Almost Human), Pier Paolo Capponi (The Cat O’ Nine Tails), Luigi Pistilli (Death Rides a Horse) and Rita Calderoni (Nude for Satan).

The films score was composed by the ever so prolific Ennio Morriocone, who once again supplies a memorable score that features several well-known musical motifs. The nudity in this film is not as much as one would come to except when watching a Nunsplotation film, still there is enough of it for stalwart fans of this genre of films. The violence is where this one excels and though it may not be the most violent Nunsplotation film. It still has many brutal moments that linger long after they have gone. Ultimately The Nun of Monza is a beautifully film to look at and despite its muddle plot that tends to drag at times, the film still manages to be one of the more entertaining entries in Nunsplotation genre.

The DVD:

The Nun of Monza, is presented in a letterboxed widescreen that frames the image in an aspect ratio of about 1:66:1 and the image doesn’t appear to be cropped. Colors look range from adequate too faded. Black levels look good as the image remains stable through out. There is noticeable print damage like scratches and specs of dirt that crops up through out. Overall this non-anamorphic transfer leaves a lot to be desired and it looks like it might have been sourced from VHS and not a film print.

This release comes with two audio options German and English audio mixes. Both are presented in a Dolby Digital mono. Both audio mixes have some minor audio issues like hiss and distortion with the German audio track sounding just slightly better then the English audio mix. The only subtitles are in German and they are forced during playback on most players during the English audio mix.

Extras for this release include trailers for The Nun of Monza, Flavia the Heretic, Convent of Sinners and The Nuns of Saint Archangel. This release also comes with trailers for other titles also released by X Rated Kult DVD and these trailers play with the DVD is loaded. Other extras include a deleted scene that is about two minute long that features mother superior Virginia and her lover Giampaolo Osio discussing the end of their affair. Rounding out the extras is a gallery of stills that plays like a featurette, while music form the film plays in the background and three super 8 segments from The Nun of Monza that are all about seventeen minutes in length.

Overall X Rated Kult’s DVD release for the 1969 version of The Nun of Monza leaves a lot to be desired with its lackluster audio / video presentation and lack of any substantial extras. This release is limited to only two thousand numbered copies and with no foreseeable better release on the horizon you might want to snatch this one up before this one goes out of print.

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