Femi Benussi, looking beautiful as ever, is the only reason to take a gander at THE BLACK MAID, a sad excuse for sex comedy all'Italiana.
I watched it because I'm a big fan of the late 1990s XXX output of director Mario Bianchi, who shot several of Sarah Young's best feature films. His earlier work (over two decades earlier) in the softcore vein is poor, the reverse of most pornographers' career trajectories.
Carla Brait toplines in the title role, a tall and thin but not very attractive maid servant whose presence in an apartment building seems to excite everyone. It didn't excite me in the least, even when she is called upon to do an imitation Josephine Baker dance late in the film. Casting of a real beauty, say Beryl Cunningham or Ines Pellegrini, in the role might have saved the movie.
With Carla not pulling her weight, it falls on Femi Benussi's pretty shoulders to keep one interested. She's spelled by buxom Magda Konopka in a couple of scenes, but Femi is the dominant contrast on screen - her classic looks and comic timing almost saving the day.
But too much of this overlong (99 minutes in the print I caught) farrago is devoted to a cast of quirky male characters, who are supposed to generate laughs via lame slapstick or just looking odd.
Chief amongst them is a short little would-be comic in a uniform as the apartment building's janitor -his antics are consistently dull. A bald guy living there is lampooned in sort of a subplot making fun of Mussolini, and the other creeps make little impression at all. Much of the action takes place on the steps, elevator area or rooftop of the building, though occasionally there are scenic outdoor urban locations.
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