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You could do better, but you could do worse too. . .
In 1971 notorious Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini released his film "The Decameron" which ushered in the Italian "decamerotici" films, a series of ribald period sex comedies. It's interesting though that even before Pasolin's seminal film, the Germans were are already busy churning out their own period sex comedies like the "Sexy Susan" series and "The Blonde and the Black Pussycat". These films are set in a bit later times than the "decamerotici" (the German golden age of the 18th and 19th century as opposed to the Italian golden age of the 15th and 16th century) and are distinctly Barvarian flavored. They do, however, have a lot of the same actresses that later appeared in Italian "decamerotici" and other Italian exploitation genres--Rosalba Neri, Lucretia Love, Daniela Giordano, and perhaps most famously Edwige Fenech. who really got her start in these German films before becoming the reigning queen of 70's Italian exploitation.
The story here involves a wealthy but unmarried couple (which seems pretty unlikely in the 19th century)who host a wine-making party for their assorted friends. There is a promiscuous young woman "Arabella", who constantly cuckolds her older husband with both men and women. There is a bickering couple with a handsome husband who constantly cheats on his wife (even though his wife is played by a twenty-year-old Edwige Fenech). There is the typical saucy maid who fools around with the head servant. And rounding out the group is the virginal but sexually curious contessa niece of the host. What does any of this have to do with French author Honore de Balzac, you ask? Well, the women all enjoy reading racy passages from Balzac, but otherwise the works of the great author are pretty irrelevant.
These films rarely work as comedies, and they probably weren't much better even BEFORE they were badly dubbed into English. But this film isn't as horridly dubbed as usual and at least isn't trying too hard to be funny, so it's less stupid than some of its ilk. (Although there is one not-very-subtle scene where the uncle lectures his niece on the birds and the bees while he just happens to be straddling a large cannon). This film isn't necessarily as sexy as it could be though either. It is a tradition of these films to use more busty, voluptuous women, (especially compared to Germany's more famous sexploitation series, the "Schulmadchen-Report" films, which tended to use "barely legal" actresses with slender adolescent bodies). Two of the actresses here though are pretty seriously pushing overweight status, and moreover, they are often filmed from pretty unflattering angles during their sex scenes so you can see lots of goose-flesh and cellulite (it's also possible, however, that these shots are actually inserts added by the American distributors to "spice up" the product). Fenech looks great as ever though, voluptuous enough to play a character much older than she was at the time, but without an inch of unappealing cellulite on her. The actress playing the niece is also very cute, but stays (mostly) dressed. The best scene is where all four main actresses are sunbathing nude while reading Balzac and a thief steals their horses, so three of them give chase without, of course, put any of their clothes back on. . .
Obviously, this is very stupid and it lacks a lot of the clever satire and literary gravitas of Pasolini's "The Decameron" or the better Italian "decamerotici". But it's also better than most of your 60's-era "nudie-cuties" or anything that passes as non-hardcore sexploitation today. You could do better I'm sure, but you could worse too. . .
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