New to DVD in the UK is ‘Arabella’, an Italian period comedy set in that hotbed of hilarity, pre-wwii fascist Italy. Virna Lisi stars in the title role – known variously in the film as Arabella Danesi and Arabella Angeli – who determines to save her grandmother from destitution by finding ingenious ways to pay off her elderly relative’s crippling tax bill.
The film is structured rather like those 1960s Italian portmanteau comedy-dramas, such as ‘Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow’, ‘The Witches’ or ‘Woman Times Seven’. Such films were intended as vehicles for one female star, be they Sophia, Silvana or Shirley, to demonstrate their versatility in a variety of roles. But instead of separate stories, with different characters, ‘Arabella’ has one continuous story arc, with Lisi’s sexy heroine adopting various costumes, personas and wigs to seduce and blackmail her way through a string of lovers, who are then