DVD Verdict Review :
After a weak effort at an English-language film (A Night Full of Rain, with a miscast Candice Bergen), Wertmüller needed to reclaim her reputation. Hence, Summer Night, a recapitulation of Swept Away with fancier dress.
Signora Bolk (Mariangela Melato), a rich woman who fancies herself an ecological activist, hires a former intelligence operative (Roberto Herlitzka, camping it up with an eyepatch and plastic hand, as if he had walked out of a ’60s spy farce) to help her kidnap an eco-terrorist (Michele Placido, because, well, maybe Giannini was busy that week). She chains her prize up in a room, then seduces him. It is all supposed to be funny, I suppose. Continue reading
Mimi is a Sicilian dockworker who loses his job when he votes against the Mafia candidate in what he thinks is a secret ballot. He leaves his wife behind and goes to Turin, where he meets and moves in with Fiore, a street vendor and Communist organizer. They have a child, he works non-union jobs, and again he comes to the Mafia’s attention. This time they’re impressed, promoting him to a supervisor’s job back in Sicily. He must keep Fiore and the child a secret, which is fine with Fiore, as long as he never makes love to his wife. He doesn’t, and when she becomes pregnant, he knows he’s a cuckold. His personal revenge and the Mafia’s tentacles then intertwine in tragicomic ways. (IMDb) Continue reading
Fulvia is a wealthy industrialist whose made her money as part of a rich conglomerate that supposedly supports the environment. She and her cohorts are sick and tired of a boorish Sicilian renegade named Beppe. He has been behind a recent string of kidnappings and has cost the elite almost $100 million. Fulvia decides to get even. She hires a CIA super spy to snatch Beppe, and when he succeeds, the rogue is taken to Fulvia’s secluded island estate. There he is held for ransom, and taunted by Fulvia for being a brute. When Beppe demands sex as part of his sentence, things go from simple to complex in this crazy criminal scenario. Continue reading
Lina Wertmüller’s harrowing 1976 film stars Giancarlo Giannini as a petty crook with seven unattractive sisters to support, and it features a picaresque, World War II-era journey through a prison asylum, army service, and a Nazi concentration camp. Wertmüller is more indulgent in highbrow sadomasochism than she is real profundity, but there’s no denying that the film is powerful in its story of subjugation and survival. A climactic scene in which Giannini saves his skin at the camp by seducing its disgusting female commandant is unnervingly honest. Giannini became a ’70s international icon partially on the basis of this work. Continue reading