Excellent Italian striptease pic "through the ages"
SEXY PROIBITISSIMO puts to shame the many American striptease features of the '50s and '60s, playing at adult cinemas. It's definitely worth a look via Something Weird DVD-R reissue.
IMDb (and the massive AFI Catalog covering films released during the 1960s) fails to enlighten on the film's history, garbling the credits and establishing two different movies released back in Italy in 1963 from the same producer: SEXY PROIBITO and SEXY PROIBITISSIMO. It is the latter which was imported to the U.S., and my guess is that they have overlapping contents, with perhaps this one being a new, expanded version of the first one. Similar to the way Miramax cut & paste the funny British concert comedy films SECRET POLICEMAN'S BALL and its followups 30 years ago.
Format is simple: one vignette after another showing how the fairer sex used striptease to attract and/or subjugate the male of our species, dating from caveman times to a futuristic (in 1963) scene on the moon featuring a stripping cosmonaut ogled by tentacled (and presumably horny) aliens. Whether the Italian filmmakers postulated that the Soviet Union would beat America in the race to the moon was because of their party affiliation, or just based on Russia having women in space before we did is a moot point.
What makes this a superior example of the genre is the casting of beautiful women who all dance -each striptease is a real routine, not just shedding of clothes. The costumes, sets and lighting are all pro, not the canned "proscenium arch" shooting style of so many tedious American burlesque movies. This being 1963 the girls only go topless, with the best-built beauty playing a spider lady oddly enough the only one who retains pasties at the end of her act.
Presenter for SWV Frank Henenlotter, still a cult figure for his amateur night horror films, leaves a great deal to be desired as historian/self-appointed "expert" (though I must say that only Lisa Petrucci, in-house, is readable and reliable among a dozen or so hacks writing liner notes for the label). He hews the cornball party line of Euro haters complaining that the stripper who portrays Cleopatra in her milk bath has "hairy armpits".
Guess what: she is clean-shaven if you take the time to actually watch the film. This reminds me of another misogynistic cliché often trotted out in these notes and summaries, complaining about women with light "mustaches" on their upper lips - a stupid fetish among would-be "critics" that persists to this day (see reviews of Mariah Carey in PRECIOUS).
Jazzy musical score is a plus, including an excellent imitation of Dave Brubeck's classic "Take Five", but even though the import version has evidently been seriously cut, down to an hour in length, it is padded by a lengthy "highlights" segment at the end, re-showing footage in a more abbreviated "get to the skin" form.
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