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The widow Alexandra and her schoolgirl daughter Sandra live together in a luxurious villa in Spain. When Fernando, an old love of Alexandra's, appears in town the two rekindle their love affair until Alexandra finds that he is being paid to be the companion of a rich older woman. Written by
THE HOUSE OF THE DOVES (Claudio Guerin Hill, 1972) **
The only other film directed by Claudio Guerin Hill I'd watched previously had been the near-legendary Euro-Cult item, A BELL FROM HELL (1973), which also turned out to be his untimely swan song since he died by mysteriously tumbling down to the ground from the titular bell-tower! during production (the filming was eventually completed by distinguished fellow Spaniard Juan Antonio Bardem).
Anyway, to get back to the film at hand: from the synopsis, I was expecting a far sleazier film because, as it turns out, the erotic content is really played down here though 17-year old Ornella Muti already sports her stunning good looks. I decided to check this out immediately after watching Lucia Bose' - in her prime in Antonioni's STORY OF A LOVE AFFAIR (1950); she had appeared in another contemporaneous film revolving around a similar but far more intriguing three-way romance (where Ewa Aulin had been her daughter) in the semi-giallo THE DOUBLE (1971); even in her early forties, Bose' (who also happens to be the real-life mother of popular singer/actor Miguel) looks great and one believes that she would make the heads of much younger men spin.
Unfortunately for the viewer, the young man in question (Glen Lee) is a bit of a bore and one is hardly surprised when looking at his filmography to find that it only contains a handful of titles. Adding to that, the relationship between Bose' and the young man is left unclear: are they related or not? Could she be his stepmother that would, of course, imply that both his relationships first with Bose' and later on with her daughter are incestuous?
This obscure film is watchable enough in itself and is made more palatable by the typical Spanish pre-occupation with religion, the occasional stylistic quirk from the director (notably a flashback occurring in the middle of a scene filmed in slow-motion) and a decent score by Francesco De Masi. Besides, the titular location the trysting place for the young lovers, owned by a prostitute of whom he had been a regular client! provides some much-needed atmosphere. In a clear nod to Hitchcock, the birds even attack Muti towards the end but, being the precocious girl she is, eventually vents her jealous fury on our feathered friends not as a result of their behavior towards her but because, in a dream sequence which comes out of nowhere, she had equated their number with her lover's previous conquests!
In the end, however, although the subject matter is somewhat similar, the film is nowhere near as disturbing as Massimo Pirri's L'IMMORALITA' (1978) which, incidentally, I watched earlier in the year and this, as I said earlier, is a direct result of its sleaze factor not having been fully realized!
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