Lady of the Night Review
Lady of the Night is the second of two examples of Italian erotica to gain a release from Argent Films. The first was Dirty Love II : The Love Games, a perfunctory offering from the genre notable only for its hideously dated saxophone score (the film was made in the mid-eighties in case you hadn’t guessed) and equally horrendous dubbing. Lady of the Night shares such handicaps, but generally speaking proves itself to be (very slightly) more ambitious, and thus slightly more interesting, work.
The titular Lady of the Night (though this is something of a misnomer, just as Dirty Love II’s was) is Simona, a woman who, in standard erotica fashion, goes on a journey of sexual self-discovery when married life proves unfulfilling. She’s also an aerobics instructor, to keep the eighties qualities (sweatbands and legwarmers galore), which allows the filmmakers plenty of groin thrusting montages when they’re not concentrating on the sex. And as for the sexual content – as surely this is the reason for many, if not all, taking an interest – the sleeve promises “explicitness that borders on the hard core” and a film “presented uncut for the first time.” The latter cannot be refuted as a glance over at the BBFC website reveals a version three minutes longer and notes of all previous cuts being waived. The former, however, seems to be the product of an overzealous writer and whilst there’s some cunnilingus that would unlikely make its way into a Hollywood picture, there’s nothing remotely ground- or taboo-breaking to be found here.
That said, what we do get is a nasty, misogynistic edge to many of these scenes. Simona’s “journey” begins when she is raped and ends when her husband does likewise to win her back. In-between, she gets repeatedly slapped about by a number of men and is even subjected to a bizarre restroom encounter involving fellatio and a double-barrel shotgun. Furthering this problem is the fact that there is little going to on elsewhere to offer any respite. Initially it seems as though the filmmakers are perfectly capturing the banality of Simona’s married life, though it soon becomes apparent that this “quality” infuses the entire film: the characterisation is distinctly lightweight (not helped by the atrocious dubbing) and the motivation even more so. Of course, we shouldn’t expect either a Scenes from a Marriage or an Eyes Wide Shut from this film, but then we should be able to find a reason for watching. Put simply this just isn’t the case, rather we get a film which is alternately hackneyed and plain off-putting – hardly a recommendation.
Lady of the Night comes to the UK DVD market as a Region 0 release and is presented anamorphically at a ratio of 1.78:1. Whilst this latter aspect is undoubtedly welcome (and would appear to be the correct ratio), the picture quality is still on the disappointing side. The image suffers from noticeable, if not overt, artefacting and edge enhancement. That said, the print itself is generally clean and free from any damage. The same is pretty much true of the soundtrack, although it must be noted that the film is blighted by an appalling dub. If, however, you feel that such things are part of the enjoyment then it is technically fine; everyone else (myself included) will find it far too distracting. As for extras, these amount to a promo for Dirty Love II.