Add a Review

  • While I can't really rave about this move, I also certainly can't say it wasn't interesting. On one hand, it is a typical "poliziani", a hard-boiled and violent Italian crime thriller about Mafia criminals and corrupt or vigilante police, but on the other hand, it is also a women's picture featuring no-clothes-horse Edwige Fenech in one of her more dramatic (as opposed to hysterical) roles.

    Fenech plays Anna a young, naive provincial woman who falls in love with a brutal and abusive gangster who, at the behest of his godfather (top-billed Richard Conte)involves her first in smuggling then in prostitution. She tries to leave the life after her mobster hubby goes to prison. She gives birth to a son and falls in love with a respectable doctor, but of course her past soon catches up to her.

    This is a rather schizophrenic movie. It is has the typical violence of a poliziani, and Fenech performs her usual quota of nude/sex scenes (the most interesting scene though features not Fenech, but a bizarre stripping clown--that's right, a clown). The ending though is incredibly sappy and tear-jerking. I can't imagine anyone who liked the early part of the movie liking the end and vice versa. I suppose it could be a good date movie for women who want to see Fenech emote and men who want to see Fenech undress (it beats the hell out of a Renee Zellweger romantic comedy, anyway).
  • Although director Giuliano Carnimeo and European sex symbol Edwige Fenech had teamed up to make one of the pulpiest Italian thrillers of all time, "The Case of the Bloody Iris," in 1972, their next collaboration, 1973's "Secrets of a Call Girl," is hardly a giallo at all. Rather, I would categorize it more as a romantic crime melodrama, in which Edwige gets to show that she's more than just a pretty face (oops...I guess I'm damning with faint praise; make that "incredibly beautiful face"). Her role here as Anna, an innocent coffee shop cashier who falls for the brutish charms of a Mafia thug, really gives her a chance to show the world what all the giallo fans knew before: that she is also an intelligent, subtle and highly skilled actress, as well. Her Anna is soon forced by the Mob to run drugs and turn tricks, but amazingly, she retains her stunning looks even after repeated beatings from her man Guido. Anyway, this film is extremely fast moving (almost too much so for its own good), covering a lot of ground in just 95 minutes, and ultimately gets a tad soapy in its final 1/3, when Anna gets involved with the surgeon who saves her son's life. Carnimeo's direction is surprisingly flashier here than in his previous giallo effort, and composer Luciano Michelini's lovely title tune should have become a standard on the order of "Doctor Zhivago"'s "Lara's Theme." Another treat for me in this film is the presence of one of my favorite actors, Richard Conte, here playing another Don Barzini-type role as the Mafia headman. Whotta class act! My heartiest thanks again to the fine folks at No Shame for another great DVD of a lost Italian classic, with nice subtitling and interesting extras. Keep 'em coming, guys!
  • Bezenby6 January 2018
    It's very rare that any of these Euro-Crime films carry much emotional weight but this one does and I'm ashamed to admit it made me shed a tear, and I'm not leading up to a punch line like 'of laughter!'. Director Carnimeo and actress Edwige Fenech play this one absolutely dead straight...even the ditzy model from The Case of the Bloody Iris is here, and she's deadly serious too!

    Edwige plays Anna, a cashier in small town Italy who is bored and wants to see more of the world. Enter Guido, a total jerk who also happens to be a mafia boss. He's hiding out in the town while things cool off in Milan as he's switched allegiance from gangster Zucco to gangster Richard Conte, and both Guido and Anna hit it off right away, even though on the second date Guido slaps her around a bit. That should be fair warning right there for Edwige, but the lure of money makes her head off to Milan with Guido.

    Guido at first showers Anna with cash but before you know it he's talking her into smuggling drugs into Switzerland and she's witnessing Guido murder a turncoat working for Zucco. As usual in these films Richard Conte is the voice of reason and says to Guido that it was probably a bad idea gunning someone down in front of Anna, and probably forcing her into prostitution was a bad idea too and for some reason Anna gets pregnant and wants to keep the baby despire Guido's beatings. Zucco is still lurking around too so when Guido gets busted Anna runs off to Rome to have her kid and forget about Guido, and maybe Guido should have listened to Conte's advice about leaving her be....

    Although Edwige gets to show here that she's much more than a pretty face (and body), what with the torment in her eyes and the despair when her kid gets sick, the one thing she can't do is look like she's just given birth! She looks like she's stepped off the catwalk in Milan and picked up a random child. Despite her poor choices, we can't help but root for Anna as she meets Mr Hunky Doctor, whilst knowing as she does that happiness is fleeting. I did laugh however when she dumped the doctor, then phoned him to say that he'd left his scarf at her house and that she can bring it over the next day, which then cuts to the doctor driving to her house at about 100mph.

    It's first comes the love, then comes the heavy stuff. We do get to see Edwige without her make up (and she looks even better! What's happening?) but this film kicks your soul in the ass for the last fifteen minutes, and probably is Edwige (and Guiliano Carnimeo's) best film. Don't sit down expecting a laugh though. As usual with Carnimeo, the film looks great too. This is no cheesy film.
  • Terrible English language title but what do you do if you have the delectable Edwige Fenech featuring in a fairly ordinary gangster movie, in which she strips several times - to great effect? The film actually begins well and it is a surprise just how violent is her mobster lover towards her. Beginning with real passion and some swirling and effective film-making it is rather a shame that the last section has to rely upon the dubious interest of her and her child and her doctor lover. Nevertheless the shootings at the very end are impressive and surprising and there can be little mistake that this is 70's film drama Italian style with all the mixed emotions that was bound to stir up.
  • bensonmum217 September 2005
    Warning: Spoilers
    Anna (Edwige Fenech) is a small town girl working as a cashier in a local coffee shop. When gangster Guido (Corrado Pani) blows into town and into her coffee shop, she is immediately smitten. Even though she knows little about him, Anna follows him to Milan. She is slowly introduced to a world that completely foreign. And before she knows what's happening, she does what Guido demands and joins his criminal organization as a call girl. But the birth of her son and a chance meeting with a nice doctor changes everything. Anna desperately wants to escape her former life and Guido, but at what price to her, her son, and the new man she loves?

    Regardless of the silly American title and the way Secrets of a Call Girl was marketed, it's not really either an exploitation movie or a gangster movie. Sure, there are elements of both, but deep down this is a tragic love story. This is not the kind of movie that I usually go for, but something about Secrets of a Call Girl worked for me. Maybe it was just the charismatic presence of Fenech or the brutal character played by Pani, but I couldn't take my eyes off the television. In the end, Secrets of a Call Girl is an incredibly sad, moving film. If the ending doesn't affect you and all but bring a tear to your eye, you might need to seek help.

    The new DVD represents another bang-up job from NoShame Films. Although their catalog is still quite small, NoShame easily gets my vote for the best DVD production company of 2005.
  • Secrets of a Call Girl is a rather odd Italian crime film as instead of focusing on the usual areas - shootings, car chases, fist fights etc, we focus on the hard done to girlfriend of a mobster; Anna, played by Edwige Fenech. The film is, therefore, is something like a cross between a crime drama and a romantic drama and in my opinion, it doesn't quite gel together - but that's not to say that this isn't a good film. The title implies that this will be a 'confessional' drama and implies that the central character is a prostitute, though that is somewhat misleading. As mentioned, the plot focuses on Anna; a young girl who works in a café. She goes from rags to riches when she catches the eye of Guido; an Italian mobster who takes her out of the café and into the gangster life. She soon realises that all that glitters is not gold when she witnesses a mob hit and the boss wants her silenced. Guido then decides to push her into prostitution, but when he is caught by the law; she decides to escape him and makes a new life with her son and a doctor.

    Edwige Fenech takes the lead role and does brilliantly with it. Her role here requires her to a little more than just take her clothes off, and she rises to the occasion well. It's easy to forget that she can act considering her roles in many of her films, so Secrets of a Call Girl serves as a nice reminder! The film also features performances from Corrado Pani, Richard Conte and John Richardson, who all do a good job in supporting roles. Giuliano Carnimeo takes the directors chair and does a good of directing Fenech for the second time, after The Case of the Bloody Iris. It has to be said that this film is more than a little slow at times, especially compared to other similar genre films owing to the fact that the focus is more on Fenech's character rather than the mob activities. However, this is not always a bad thing. I can't say that I'm a big fan of Romance films, but Fenech does enough to light up the screen every time she's on it and the film never becomes boring. It all boils down to a powerful ending that actually does have an impact. Overall, I'm not crazy about this film; but it's a good entry into Fenech's resume and it gets my recommendation.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    As the title character, Edwige Fenech stars as a poor and innocent shop girl drawn into the world of crime by the overpowering Guido (Corrado Pani). Anna soon realizes a life of luxury comes at a price as she is forced to smuggle drugs and sell her body to prove her loyalty. It's no wonder she's in trouble when the head of this particular family is the traitorous Don Barzini from "The Godfather" (Richard Conte). But when Anna gets pregnant she finally manages to escape, leaving Guido to serve a six year sentence. This is also the point where the movie starts to fall apart and the story steadily dissolves into soap opera territory.

    Spoilers filled paragraph:

    Suddenly there are a couple of drastic jumps in time. First the entire pregnancy is skipped and in the next scene after that, her son is suddenly six years old (even though none of the other characters have aged or even changed their hairstyles). Anna's child needs treatment from a friendly doctor who offers Anna her first chance of true happiness. But of course, Guido reappears, leading to a tragic ending for almost all of the characters.

    Spoilers end here

    What started as an interesting drama turns out to be just another Seventies exploitation film, with a bit of Giallo thrown in for good measure. For once Edwige Fenech actually gets to act instead of being just a symbol of lust, although she can never escape that fate for long. Unfortunately the latter part of the film is not nearly as engaging as the former and never really draw you back in.

    6 out of 10