7 July 2014 | lazarillo
Has a lot going for it, but it isn't really great
Although they were both horribly dubbed into English and given stupid English language titles, there were really TWO kinds on 1970's Italian sex comedies: there were the strictly low-brow ones featuring Italian goofballs like Lino Banfi and Alvaro, which are basically Three Stooges movies with full-frontal nudity, but then there were the more classy (relatively speaking) ones that are more serious--at times even morose--and more distinctly Italian flavored. This movie appears to be one of the former, but is actually one of the latter.
This movie basically is the story of privileged 20th Italian nobleman "Paolo" who has inherited the hot-blooded nature of his grandfather (Lionel Stander) and uncle (Gaston Moschin), and is given to impulsive acts of violence and compulsive, priapic womanizing. However, he has also inherited the sweet, sensitive nature of his late father and remains always morose and dissatisfied with his dissolute lifestyle, unlike his insensitive grandfather and uncle. He falls in love with a beautiful servant girl (Ornella Muti), but she turns out to be the paid mistress of his grandfather. He briefly meets his match in a Roman society woman (Roseanne Podesta), but she has an affair with his friend. He briefly gets involved with a social gadabout/erstwhile communist (Pilar Velasquez). He is attracted to a pharmacist's daughter (Barbara Bach) and eventually married her innocent but frigid daughter (Neda Americ). But none of this makes him happy and he keeps finding himself in the company of various streetwalkers (played by actresses like Femi Benussi and Orchidea DeSantis).
"Paolo" is played at different ages by three different actors, the most famous of which is Giancarlo Gianinni. Giannini is good, but his character is not particularly likable or sympathetic. Transplanted French actor Moschin and black-listed Hollywood actor Stander are both pretty charismatic (albeit also insufferable bastards), but they are absent from large parts of the movie. The women are all quite good, but a young (barely 18 at the time) Ornella Muti makes the biggest impression, mostly because she gets nice and naked (and the only thing more beautiful than Ornella Muti clothed is Ornella Muti naked). There's actually a lot of female nudity, but with the exception of Muti, none of it involves the "name" actresses (even though Velasquez, Americ, Benussi and De Santis were not exactly ever known for keeping their clothes on).
I did see this in Italian with English subtitles, and it does make it a little classier. But despite having a lot going for it, it isn't quite a good movie.