6 January 2016 | kevinolzak
Seen on Pittsburgh's Chiller Theater in 1969
"Le Avventure di Giacomo Casanova" was a notoriously risqué release in Italy in 1955, but by the 1960s found a home on American television, where Pittsburgh's Chiller Theater offered a one time showing on Nov 15 1969 (under its best known title "Sins of Casanova"), paired with second feature "The Navy vs. the Night Monsters," falling into obscurity a short time later. Today lovingly restored to a glorious 98 minutes, audiences can thoroughly enjoy the escapades of the title character, here expertly rendered by Gabriele Ferzetti, best remembered for playing Diana Rigg's father in the James Bond feature "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," and his crippled villain in Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in the West." An impressive cast of feminine pulchritude is also seen to superb advantage under the cinematography of master craftsman Mario Bava, working in color for the very first time (future directors such as Pio Angeletti, Emilio Miraglia, and Lucio Fulci also appear prominently in the credits). The bulk of the episodic script has Casanova relaxing in a prison cell while his memoirs are read aloud by his captors, offering the background of his childhood and realization of his idolization of women, his disarming charm too great for any female to resist, though most certainly try. Corinne Calvet represents Casanova's greatest challenge, a gambling woman of great virtue, whose victorious wager only results in his finest conquest. Marina Vlady, still only 16, plays the newlywed bride who easily yields to her handsome 'cousin' while her wealthy husband chases his stolen fortune across the rooftops until Casanova's seduction is concluded. Billed lower in the cast list is the 18 year old Ursula Andress, only her second feature film role, yet one that this viewer tried in vain to locate. After so many years out of circulation, today's finished film is a real revelation, at least three scenes featuring some kind of topless nudity, though not from any of the main principles. I can only wonder how much survived in what must have been a truncated dubbed print that would have aired all those years ago on Chiller Theater.