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It's ironic that Italian horror maestro Mario Bava might have made with
this movie what is literally the best sex comedy ever. Not that that is
saying a lot--American sex comedies generally range from awful to
downright painful, and let's not even speak of British sex comedies.
Italian and continental sex comedies are slightly better (but that may
only be because they rarely bother to translate them to English so most
of the lame jokes and wretched double entendres go over my head, and I
just wait around for Edwige Fenech or whoever to take off her clothes
Since it was directed by the famed Mario Bava,this movie has been translated into English, but it has an intelligent, conceptual humor that really requires no translation. It's a comic variation on the Japanese melodrama "Rashomon" where a first date between a man and a woman is told from the very different perspectives of him, her, and the doorman. Of course, being a comedy there is no rape and murder as in "Rashomon", but simply a torn dress and scratched forehead. Also, where "Rashomon" eventually resolves the differing accounts with an objective fourth story, the fourth story here is told by a blowhard pop psychologist and is at least as implausible as the other three. The message here seems to be that the truth itself is subjective, which makes this more akin to "Last Year at Marienbad" than "Rashomon" (although it's a lot more fun than either). It's also very subversive--the doorman, for instance, interrupts his obviously very fabricated tale (involving lesbianism and swingers) at the worst times to clean his glasses or go get a pair of binoculars (to the hilarious chagrin of the lecherous milkman he's telling the story to).
The female lead is Daniela Giordano, a former Miss Italy. She was not nearly as ubiquitous in continental sex comedies as Edwige Fenech, but she's very memorable here. She is introduced to the audience bending over in a short skirt playing with her dog,"Coolie", so named she says because of his "coolie nose" (this is a joke people who only speak English might not get, but suffice it to say that Giordano has a really nice "coolie"). The male lead is Brett Halsey who appeared years later in several latter-day Lucio Fulci films. He's not quite as funny here, but at least this movie is SUPPOSED to be a comedy. Definitely recommended for Bava fans and non-Bava fans alike.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
- Four Times that Night is the story of what happened during Tina and
John's first date. According to Tina, John tried to rape her and she
barely escaped with her innocence intact. According to John, Tina was
an insatiable wild woman he couldn't get away from. According to John's
voyeuristic doorman, while John was in the bedroom having "homosexual
sex", Tina was having her own lesbian encounter. So, just what did
- Mario Bava wasn't afraid to try different genres. He directed Gothic horrors (Black Sunday), gialli (Blood and Black Lace), sword & sandal movies (Hercules in the Haunted World), westerns (Roy Colt and Winchester Jack), spy movies (Danger Diabolik), science fiction (Planet of the Vampires), and so on. But Four Times that Night is his only "sex comedy". Bava called it his "blue movie". While it may have represented a departure for Bava, you can clearly see his trademark style all over the movie. Everything from the bright, rich colors to the camera zooms screams Bava.
- While I enjoyed the movie, it's far from being my favorite thing that Bava ever made. It is interesting to see how different people's perceptions are given the same set of events. In the fourth segment of the film, we get to see what really happened. And, as is often the case, reality can't match the sensationalism that our imaginations can dream up.
- Much of my enjoyment in the movie comes from the casting of John and Tina. Bret Halsey and Daniela Giordano are simply perfect in their roles. They are very believable even in the most absurd situations.
While walking in the park with her dog, Tina Brandt (Daniela Giodarno)
is flirted by the playboy Gianni Prada (Brett Halsey) in his fancy
sport car. They schedule a date for the night, and Tina dresses her
elegant and expensive dress. They go to a night club to dance and Tina
returns home late night. Her mother Sofia (Valeria Sabel) sees Tina
sneaking with her dress torn apart and Tina tells that Gianni tried to
rape her. On the next morning, Gianni tells a different story to his
friend. Later, the doorman (Dick Randall) tells another version of the
story. Last but not the least, the possible truth is disclosed.
"Four Times That Night" is a surprisingly delightful and erotic romantic comedy of the master of horror and thriller Mario Bava. The plot brings an immediate association with "Rashômon", with four versions of the same story told by four different people. Daniela Giordano, the former Miss Italy 1966, is gorgeous, sexy and hot and it is delightful to see her wearing miniskirts or naked. In 1991, Elizabeth Perkins and Kevin Bacon filmed "He Said, She Said" where they are reporters and give their perspective and opinion of the same event in a variation of this storyline. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): Not Available
I honestly didn’t know what to expect from a Bava sex comedy which,
thankfully, emerged to be not quite as low-brow and vulgar as most
genre offerings (which the Italians would soon make their own); for the
record, Lucio Fulci also dabbled in the subgenre a few years later with
the THE EROTICIST (1972), which has just been released on R1 DVD. Even
so, the film also wasn’t particularly interesting per se, albeit a
typically stylish effort from this director. As a matter of fact,
despite being undeniably amusing in its RASHOMON (1950)-like multiple
(and hugely contrasting) depiction of the central situation, it made
for a rather tedious – and dated – whole!
Anyway, the plot involves a young couple (Brett Halsey and Daniela Giordano) who meet by accident one day and then decide to go out together that night – which ends with the girl having her dress torn and the man with scratches on his forehead! Both of them then recount the way things went (she to her mother and he to his pals) – according to Giordano, Halsey tried to rape her; he, on the other hand, passes himself off as a shy person with the girl an insatiable vamp!
A third version of events is told by the oversexed middle-aged concierge of the complex where Halsey lives, which sees the latter depicted as a homosexual who brought Giordano to his flat so that she could serve as partner for his lover’s lesbian companion. This is the funniest, but also campiest, part of the film – funny due to the banter between the concierge and his dumb listener and campy because of the stereotypical representation of the male gay lifestyle, though the women’s angle is treated with greater sensitivity)! The last interpretation is then offered by a psychiatrist which rather deliberately supplies the most innocent and, frankly, dull outcome possible for that fateful night – since the closing narration goes on to ask the audience whether they actually swallowed his ‘theory’!
Despite having an American lead in Brett Halsey (who’s somewhat uneasy with the fluctuations in his character), the film really revolves around statuesque beauty Daniela Giordano (a former winner of the Miss Italy contest, no less). She looks confident in her various suggestive poses (this is easily Bava’s most explicit film with respect to nudity, though still pretty mild – there’s a similar hilarious contrivance to conceal private parts in bed as seen in DANGER: DIABOLIK !) but also demonstrates reasonable talent in her various facets of virtuous ingénue, sultry seductress, annoyed object of desire, etc.
Accompanying the film is a lounge soundtrack all-too-typical of its era. Incidentally, there’s some confusion concerning the year in which the film was made – many give it as 1972, but the look and feel of it all simply spells 1960s to me and, in fact, it’s listed in other sources as 1969 (which I’m inclined to believe); others yet seem to concede that the latter is true but then report its actual date of release as late as 1976!! Interestingly, the print on display has the film split into two parts – where the title in Italian is actually given as QUATTRO VOLTE…QUELLA NOTTE (which fits the English translation, whereas the original QUANTE VOLTE…QUELLA NOTTE means HOW MANY TIMES THAT NIGHT!); strangely enough, just as the film goes into its second half, the audio level drops considerably! By the way, this proved to be the director’s first collaboration with producer Alfredo Leone (who eventually got hold of the rights to a sizable portion of Bava’s back catalog!).
A great looking couple share an evening of dancing and groping. But
just what happened isn't exactly certain as she has one version of the
evening's happenings, he has another and the pervy concierge has yet
another tale to tell. And finally there's "the truth" which is
explained away be some shrink. Or is it the truth?
Well, this could have been a disaster of a film. Luckily it isn't as Mario Bava, one of Italy's finest visual directors, imbues the film with enough striking imagery, beautiful set design and fluent camera work to keep viewers interested. It's not particularly funny but it has a strange kind of charm to it. But hey, if you're a nut about light sex farces you may find it great.
One thing's for sure; the leading lady (Daniela Giordano, a former miss Italy) is one of the most striking eye candy ever to grace the screen. She also delivers a spirited performance and American Brett Halsey is also quite lively.
Give this a spin on a slow night.
Mario Bava is best known for his dark, morid horror films, but he also worked outside of the genre on many different occasions. One such occasion yielded QUANTE VOLTE. . . QUELLA NOTTE, a delightful sex comedy patterned after Akira Kurosawa's 1950 classic RASHOMON. The story tells of a date gone awry, and the different perspectives on what in fact led to the man (Brett Halsey) having scratches on his forehead and the girl (Daniela Giordano)'s brand new dress being torn. Those viewers only familiar with Bava's horror films need to seek out this little known gem -- it reveals a more playful side of Il Maestro, and is an entertaining and endearing film in its own right. *** out of ****
Master director Mario Bava is best known for his horror films, and
that's hardly surprising as films such as Blood and Black Lace and
Black Sabbath certainly represent the best of his oeuvre - but he also
made a few films outside of the horror genre, and Four Times That Night
is surely one of the best. I can't say I'm a big fan of sex comedies,
as while I enjoy seeing sex in movies; I tend to prefer it with a
little more sleaze than what films like this tend to offer. However, by
taking his central plot theme from the Akira Kurosawa masterpiece
'Rashomon', Bava has made a sex comedy that is interesting for the way
it pans out, rather than because of the sex theme. The plot follows
Gianni and Tina; a man and a woman that meet in a park. They end up
going on a date together, but it ends mysteriously when Tina returns
home with a ripped dress and Gianni is sporting a nasty looking scratch
on his forehead. Both Tina and Gianni give their version of what
happened on that night, and the story is given a third angle from
It's clear that this film is never going to be as deep or as fascinating as Kurosawa's masterpiece, but as a slice of light entertainment; it works fine. Bava is famous for his use of lighting and technique in order to create atmosphere for his horror films, although this movie doesn't allow him to do that. That being said, Bava's fingerprints are all over the film; as the garish use of colour features prominently, and the seventies style is what helps to elevate the film above the usual level of a gentle sex themed comedy. The film benefits from the presence of Daniela Giordano; the sexy female lead whom Bava makes best use of at all opportunities. She is joined by Fulci muse Brett Halsey, as well as Dick Randall; a man more famous for his producing credits. Bava attempts to give the film some substance by way of a psychologist explaining how different people view the same events from different perspectives...but I find it hard to believe that three people could view the same event in such wildly differing ways. One slight criticism of the film is that it's not very funny...but it's fun enough, and worth seeing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's not the most obvious idea in the world to rework Akira Kurosawa's
1950 classic Rashomon as a sex comedy. But that is effectively what
Italian legend Mario Bava has done here. This is not a genre that I am
particularly familiar with, the Italian strand in particular I know
nothing of. So I can't say I exactly knew what to expect here,
especially seeing that Bava's output was mainly in horror and
thrillers. Well, the verdict is that it's great, what else can I say?
Like other films in the director's back catalogue like Danger: Diabolik
and Five Dolls for an August Moon, this one is very pop art. The sets,
costumes and overall look are vibrant, colourful and sexy. Perfect for
an erotic comedy. And in the hands of a master stylist like Bava it's a
The story is about a first date gone wrong. The guy ends up with a scratched head and the girl with a torn dress. How did it happen? Well, we have her story, his story, the janitor's story and finally the analysis of a psychologist. At the end we are really none the wiser and left to decide for ourselves.
It stars Daniela Giordano, a former Miss Italy. And she sure is a knock-out; a very sexy girl who happens to constantly be in either slinky outfits and/or in a state of undress. Well, you'll get no arguments from me on that score. She is the real focus of the movie with good reason. Bava himself is the other trump card of course. While the story is confined to very few locations, he always keeps things looking great with a great eye for colour. There's a little bit of psychedelic action in the dance-club too which never gets old in my opinion. The film's multiple story structure means that it moves at a cracking pace and never bores. It's not especially funny to be honest but it is quite sexy and more than a little bit cool. An unexpected triumph.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Dashing playboy John Price (handsome Brett Halsey) meets sweet virgin Tina Brandt (ravishing brunette knockout Daniela Giordano, who was Miss Italy 1967) in a park. The two strike up an immediate rapport and go on a date which goes disastrously wrong. Depending on the person relating the incident, the date went down like this: 1) amorous cad Price attempted to rape the innocent Tina, 2) shameless and insatiable nymphomaniac slut Tina aggressively came on to the hapless John, or 3) Tina was seduced by predatory lesbian Esmeralda (a memorably spiky Pascale Petit). Director Mario Bava relates the amusing story at a constant quick pace and expertly maintains a playfully light and bouncy good-natured tone throughout. Antonio Rinaldi's crisp, polished cinematography fills the screen with lots of rich, vibrant colors while Cariolano Gori's frothy, groovy score totally hits the swinging spot. Moreover, this amiably silly and innocuous fluff further benefits from charming performances from attractive and personable leads Halsey and Giordano. Co-producer Dick Randall is a real hoot as the sleazy voyeur doorman. The delectable Brigitte Skay, the ill-fated skinny-dipper in "Bay of Blood," has a sexy bit as naive bimbo Mumu. Bava even manages amidst all the delightfully inane tomfoolery to make a relevant point about how individual perspectives radically vary from person to person. A cute little romp.
Mario Bava is best known for his Gothic horror and giallo masterpieces,
but he wasn't simply confined to those genres. He made exemplary sword
and sandal flicks ("Hercules In the Haunted World"), space chillers
("Planet of the Vampires"), and pop-art craziness ("Danger: Diabolik").
Here, he tackles the sex comedy, a genre popular in Italy at the time
and known for having typically low standards of quality. I generally
can't stand these swinging comedies, but the fact Bava was directing it
made me have a semblance of hope. Unfortunately, his comedic reworking
of "Rashomon" is just about as weak as I feared. His direction is
ultra-stylish to be sure and there are some nice psychedelic touches,
but the film is just so dull and uninteresting.
There's several reasons why this is a lousy film that even Bava's masterful direction can't salvage. Its supposedly a comedy, but I can't recall laughing once. Plus, since its four versions of the same story, it becomes rather repetitive and tedious quickly. The acting is horrible, with legendary exploitation producer Dick Randall being the worst offender as the janitor. The film is only eighty minutes, but it feels twice as long. Bava's typically stylish direction and an admittedly clever concept can't save this one. Avoid unless you need to see absolutely everything the man did. For the rest of viewers, check out "Danger: Diabolik" for the fourth time instead - now thats a swinging masterpiece of pop art. (4/10)
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