Giovannona Long-Thigh Review

Another of NoShame’s Italian sex comedies starring the glamorous Edwige Fenech, Sergio Martino’s Giovannona Long-Thigh, is slightly more coy in its depiction of nudity than the previous year’s Ubalda, All Naked And Warm, but its charming star is no less alluring. Fenech’s role as a foul-mouth prostitute who is willing to do whatever it takes to help a businessman out of trouble is hardly any more politically correct a role for the lady than her nymphomaniac in a chastity belt in the previous film, but her ability to play comedy is rather better exploited and the film, as a consequence, is much better for it.

Threatened with having his cheese company closed-down on account of the amount of effluent being deposited into a Sicilian stream, the President, Commandatore La Noce (Gigi Ballista) attempts to gain the influence of an important politician, the Honorable Pedicò (Vittorio Caprioli) to help them out of the mess. There’s only one problem – Pedicò is the rarest of Italian politicians – he’s honest and incorruptible. The local priest however, paid heavily for information, reveals Pedicò’s one Achilles Heel - he has a weakness for the beautiful wives of his associates. La Noce’s deeply religious and stay-at-home wife won’t fit the bill, so he sends his secretary Albertini (Pippo Franco) out to find a substitute with a little more glamour. Albertini thinks he has found the perfect candidate in a new prostitute he meets at the side of the road – and I don’t think too many people would dispute his choice – but Coco (Edwige Fenech) turns out to have a rather unfortunate turn of phrase that would be somewhat unbecoming of the wife of a prominent businessman. Nevertheless, with the Staccatone business about to go down the pan, they have little choice.

What follows is the standard fare of a comedy of errors sex farce – mistaken identities and swapped bedrooms, the protagonists stumbling into the arms of nymphomaniac women, gay men and a frustrated old-maid – all witnessed by a couple of straight-laced English ladies aghast at the goings-on of these hot-blooded Italians. There’s even a speeded-up Benny Hill-style chase around a swimming pool. It’s all frightfully politically incorrect, but at least even-handed in its lampooning of all aspects of Italian society – not just women and gays, but supposedly respectable businessmen, honourable politicians and instructive priests. The storyline of business and political corruption gets a bit forgotten about as the film turns its focus on the bedroom farce, but in this case it’s a good thing as the strength of the film is not in the complexity of the plot or the satire, but the comedy and the performances. Giovannona Long-Thigh might rely on all the tried and trusted conventions of high farce, but with a good script, decent characterisation and strong performances from all the cast, what should be rather dated and out-moded in terms of comedy turns out to be much funnier than it really ought to be.

Giovannona Long-Thigh is released in the US by NoShame. The disc is in NTSC format and is not region coded.

Like Ubalda, All Naked And Warm, NoShame have gone far beyond the call of duty and obtained a brand new print of Giovannona Long-Thigh from the original 35mm vault negative. The negative is perhaps not in quite as good condition as the former, but it still makes for an impressive transfer. Transferred progressively the image is strong and stable, with only a few marks and scratches here and there. It’s a little bit soft however and the colours appear to be a little bit off, slightly yellowish in a 1970s fashion, the blacks looking consequently a little flattened out. None of this overly affects the whole look of the film, which remains colourful, and it even improves in the second half of the film, only to fade again slightly at the end.

The original mono soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 and for the main part of the film it’s fine and clear with only a little bit of reverb on the track. There is however some problems with heavy crackling towards the latter part of the film.

English subtitles are provided in a white font. The fact that they are removable is a considerable benefit here, allowing the viewer an uninterrupted view of Ms Fenech’s breasts. Considering the problems with translating the slang and wordplay from Italian, this film seems to work much better in English than Ubalda, All Naked And Warm.

Most studios wouldn’t go to the effort of providing extra features for a film like this, but NoShame dig into the archives for trailers of other Italian sex comedies starring Edwige Fenech that may never again see the light of day and provide a brand new Interview with Edwige Fenech (7:46), where she talks briefly of her association with director Sergio Martino and producer Luciano Martino. More examples of the actress’s talents are provided in Edwige Fenech’s Sexy Comedy Trailer Collection (13:21) which, along with providing you with some more nudey bits, also give you an indication of the standard of these kind of films – with titles like Cream Horn, Poker in Bed and the straight-to-the-point Erotic Exploits of a Sexy Seducer - helping you appreciate Giovannona Long-Thigh’s relative subtlety. There is another collection of Edwige’s highlights from the film compiled in Revenge of Edwige’s Groovy Sexadelic Reel (3:10). The Original Theatrical Trailer (3:27) is also included, as are the usual informative liner notes in the enclosed booklet.

Giovannona Long-Thigh delivers everything you expect from a good farce – stock characters misreading signals and stumbling into the wrong bedrooms and a stunningly beautiful woman willing to drop her clothes and get into bed with all the drooling men chasing her around. For an Italian 70’s sex comedy though, it’s all handled with a surprising lack of heavy-handedness, some well-timed performances, hilarious situations and very funny lines. With a fine transfer from NoShame, anyone looking for a few laughs and some harmless titillation are onto a winner here.

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