Despite the typically lurid English-language title this is a surprisingly serious, and at times even touching, film about prostitution. It is mainly the story of a high-class madam (Francoise Fabian) who has fallen in love with a respectable bourgeois man and is planning to move into a renovated apartment and leave the business, but fate may have other plans.
The movie also goes off in several other directions involving three of the madame's "employees" and a couple regular customers. One working girl (Silvia Dionisia) is at first an enthusiastic young whore, but reconsiders her line of work after a client (Ernest Borgnine, yes, THE Ernest Borgnine) has a heart attack during a session. Actually, he has a heart attack as soon as she takes her clothes off, both understandably and thankfully (since Dionisio was frickin' gorgeous, but NOBODY wants to see her actually have a sex scene with Borgnine). He then recovers and falls in love with her. The second girl (who looks like a more black, less Asian version of Laura Gemser) is a lot less believable. She doesn't actually have sex for money(!) and wants to be with a different guy each time. One of her male customers becomes infatuated with her and stalks her and finds out she's actually a bourgeois, married woman whose motives for entering the profession fall somewhere between "Belle du Jour" and "Breaking the Waves".
The third girl is a impoverished and neglected housewife with a young child (Corinne Clery), a neighbor of the madame who she initiates into the business. This is a believable role, but perhaps not not when assayed by the glamorous model/Bond girl Clery who it's hard to imagine ANY man ever neglecting (or only at his own peril). Clery, like Dioniso, has some great nude scenes, but I'm really glad the two of them didn't appear in the same scenes at least because that would have given ME a heart attack. The movie eventually leaves the sex scenes and the sumptuous femme nudity behind to return at the end to the story of the madame herself. And it actually works pretty well. It's not a great movie, but it's rare to have a film move so successfully from hot sex to tragedy.
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