Dirty Love II: The Love Games - Intrigue Review

A saxophone scored piece of eighties Italian erotica, Dirty Love II : The Love Games – Intrigue promises a number of things. There’s dirty love for a start, then some love games plus a little intrigue, and in combing all three perhaps the hope of some complexity. Yet the ridiculously convoluted title is something of a misnomer – essentially this is standard (and therefore substandard?) softcore fare and as such likely to interest only genre connoisseurs or those misled by the title and cover art.

Its plot, if it can be described as such, concerns Eva, one time prostitute known as “the lady of the red sofa”, now a recent widow who picks up three young, good-looking homeless types to take back to her huge Italian estate. In between acting as bother mother and whore to the trio, she also regales them with various tales from her past – an elderly gent who wished to marry her; a young girl disguised as a young boy – until a middle-aged antiques dealer steals her away from them and they part company.

Such a loose framework could at the very least provide an adventurous director with the opportunity of adding his own flourishes – consider the features of Walerian Borowczyk, almost all of which were made within the confines of erotica – yet Dirty Love II is a decidedly staid, if proficient affair. The attention seems to have been placed firmly on leading lady Valentine Demy’s costumes and Louis Brooks bob, the rest being afforded the kind of treatment “lavished” on one of Joan Collins’ late seventies efforts.

As such we’re left with what the title has promised, and in all three cases the viewer is likely to come away disappointed. The “dirty love” is in fact rather tasteful; the sex scenes act as mere punctuation to the narrative rather than it’s raison d’être and they’re also far less explicit than those found in more outwardly reputable fare such as In the Realm of the Senses or, more recently, 9 Songs - and this despite the claims on the sleeve and the PR blurb about previously unseen footage and a re-edited version (presumably mean in the manner of scenes having been added rather than removed). As for the love games, these are simply nowhere to be seen and the intrigue is likewise unforthcoming – for all the flashbacks amongst the central narrative, Dirty Love II really is a film that has little to offer.

The Disc

Dirty Love II is presented full frame, a ratio that would appear to be correct. There are no signs of cropping nor do the opening and closing credits unfold in a differing ratio or seem unduly squashed. Furthermore, the overall quality is generally pleasing: the colours and rich and sharp and the print itself is clean save for intermittent (and minute) signs of scratching. As for the soundtrack, Dirty Love II finds itself lumbered with an appalling English dub. Recorded in horrible transatlantic accents – except for when unnecessary is “called for” (upper class Brit, angry Parisian, etc.) – which makes the acting seem even worse. Things don’t improve much on a technical level, either; there is an audible background hiss throughout, whilst the entire dub sounds far too cold and lifeless for its own good. The only extra on the disc is a promo for another of Argent’s erotica titles, Lady of the Night.

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