23 January 2008 | lazarillo
"Dream team" of Italian exploitation actresses
The "decamerotici" is not a genre most in the English-speaking world are too familiar with as they were rarely translated into English or released outside of Italy. These ribald period sex comedies were ostensibly based on Bocaccio's famous renaissance collection of often racy morality tales, "The Decameron", but were more directly based on the hit Pasolini movie of the same name (I suspect some of the hack filmmakers of these things had never even read Bocaccio). Many of these films have the word "Decameron" in the title and are even based on specific tales from the book, while others are merely set in the same, pre-Renaissance period and are the same bawdy spirit like "Ubalda, All Naked and Warm" (the only one so far to get a decent English-subtitled release) and this one. This film is told in vignettes like a lot of the more faithful "decamerotici", but like "Ubalda" the vignettes are based on the same group of characters in a single village and loosely tied together by a "vacca" (a cow) called "Fiorina".
These period movies are slightly more sophisticated than most Italian sex movies (that is slightly more sophisticated than a loud fart at the dinner table), but I would still maintain that the main (and perhaps only) reason to watch them is the women. You could generally divide the women in 1970's Italian exploitation movie into two broad characters, the "madonnas", voluptuous older women like Rosalba Neri or Mariangela Giordano, and the "lolitas", the not-much-less voluptuous but younger and more nublie actresses like Gloria Guida and Ornella Muti. Most of these films naturally utilized the former (or Edwige Fenech who was in a class by herself), but this one strangely has a lot of the latter. Swedish actress Ewa Aulin has the biggest role. She was most famous as the 17-year-old title character of the racy, big-budget comedy/satire "Candy", who a lot of big-time Hollywood actors and celebrities (Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, Ringo Starr) got a taste of (when they weren't mercilessly chewing all the scenery around her). Here she plays a lonely wife whose loutish husband disguises himself as a Spanish soldier to see if she'll cheat on him for money. Her nice, long nude scene almost keeps you from wondering what a blonde Swede is doing in medieval Italy.
The most famous stars though are Ornella Muti and Janet Agren, who have smaller parts. Muti still had a long international career in front of her at the time including a few Hollywood movies (one of which unfortunately is "Stop, or my Mom Will Shoot"). Agren had, well, something in front of her--she would be in Fulci's "City of the Living Dead" and some of the more inept Italian cannibal movies. The most interesting actresses for me though are Jenny Tamburi and Angela Covello. Tamburi was almost an under-study for Muti in her early career, taking over many roles that Muti for whatever reason didn't do. At the time though she was probably a better actress and more willing to shed her garments at least. Perhaps she wasn't the stunning beauty Muti was; she was really, really cute and sexy with a fresh face and great body that got here type-cast as a voluptuous and naughty teenager until she was pushing thirty. Angela Covello was the same way, but even more obscure. I'm not even sure how old she was--she managed to pass herself off as Anabella Incontrera's daughter in "So Sweet, So Dead" and a college girl in "Torso", but she usually played more older, adult roles like she does here.
This movie is currently available either as an out-of-print, Italian-language DVD or a much more rough-looking bootleg but with Spanish subtitles. If you don't speak Italian or Spanish though, I would hold out in hopes of some kind of English language release like with "Ubalda". It's definitely recommended though for the female cast alone.