20 June 2005 | armando_mariani
An Italian Sex Comedy: raunchy but quite entertaining.
Cult and, in many ways, talented movie-maker Aristide Massacesi aka Joe D' Amato, never felt really comfortable with comedy, during his prolific career. He was a great cinematographer and a skilled and clever director for an audience looking for "strong emotions". Movies with sex, guts and violence were his "bread 'n' butter" and he (almost) always delivered. As a matter of fact, comedy is one of the most difficult genres and demands a sophisticated sense of humor and a sensibility he probably never had. For "Il ginecologo della mutua" aka "The ladies's doctor", he had available (for a pleasant change), what appears to be at least a decent budget, a more than usual clever script by long-time collaborator Fiorenzo Carpi, a cast of strong and skilled veteran actors like Renzo Montagnani, Mario Carotenuto, Massimo Serato, Tony Ucci and Italian stage and movie legend Aldo Fabrizi, as well as an outstanding group of pretty and absolutely not inhibited ladies, lead by a gorgeous Paola Senatore, all of them enthusiastically willing to show all their "treasures". So, probably aware of his limitations, he apparently decided to let his talented actors do what they could do best: means acting, restraining himself to a "soft touch" direction, only injecting, from time to time, some hearty doses of raunchiness and sleaze, as his personal trademark. If what I speculate is true, I think this was a very wise decision and, as a result, we got a far more entertaining Sex-Comedy, then the majority of the Xeroxed farces, which the Euro audience was bombarded with, during the 70's and early 80's. Renzo Montagnani is great as Dr. Giovannaldi, an obscure and modest, but "not so innocent" gynecologist, employed by the national health system, which knows how to properly scam this institution. His wife is lesbian; they only share conveniently an apartment (in those years, the majority of homosexuals stayed still comfortably in the closet...) and they have completely independent lives. He accepts this odd arrangement, simply because she is the daughter of an established professor, which may help his career. One day however, he gets the opportunity of his life-time: he is offered to take over, temporarily, the posh practice of an established colleague, on the run for tax troubles. He obviously accepts. In this way, he can continue to seduce his own patients and also succeeds in satisfying "big time" his new high-class clients, becoming rapidly popular and requested. He finally manages in becoming a partner in a new luxury clinic, working his way to the top, by cheating, lying and having torrid sex with every (beautiful and influential) woman available. Excellent (as usual) Aldo Fabrizi, as the exploitative father in law of the oversexed ladies's doctor, mainly concerned in finding a safe way to transfer to Switzerland the money he makes. In a couple of scenes, which are definitely a blast, he just about "steals" the movie. Among the women, there are several familiar faces (and bodies) of that period, such as Daniela Doria, Dirce Funari, Loretta Persichetti, Lorraine de Selle, caught in various stages of undressing and nakedness and, the more funny than sexy, Isabella Biagini. In a very small part with only a couple of short scenes, we can also appreciate a very young and very, very pretty Marina Hedman, freshly arrived from native Sweden to conquer the Italian movie industry, perhaps in one of her first screen appearances. She only smiles here, stutters a few lines with a horrible Teutonic accent, wakes her "booty" a couple of times and, amazingly,... doesn't "show any skin" at all! Only a few months later, during the same year, she performs the first Italian mainstream-movie hard-core sequence in Massacesi's "Emanuelle in America", breaking the ice for an all new explicit trend and becoming, during the 80's and '90's, as Marina Frajese (in the meantime she had married famous journalist/anchor-man Paolo Frajese, who quickly divorced her, as soon as he realized, that he was sharing, at least visually, his wife's most private parts with several hundred million men around the world...) and later as Marina Lotar, one of the most popular Porn Queens of all times. In 2000, great Robert Altman, landed a (perhaps unintentional) remake of this cult classic "Dr. T and the women", starring a somehow lame Richard Gere in the title-role. In spite of being an Altman admirer, I think this is just another polished Hollywood product, with far less "punch" and definitely not as entertaining as his raunchy predecessor. Just leave Sex-Comedies to the Italians....It's just a fact: they were and still are the best in this department! I think this is a must for Italian Sex-Comedy fans and rightfully deserves its Cult status and if you liked it, don't miss Pasquale Festa Campanile '71 "Il merlo maschio" starring a young and gorgeous Laura Antonelli and '79 "Il corpo della ragassa" starring "my darling" Lilli Carati. I give this one a 7 out of 10.