11/16/08

The Lightning Bug presents Sunday Funnies:Giovannona Long-Thigh (1973)


Welcome back to Sunday Funnies. Today I got a chance to take a look at a type of Italian film I haven't seen before, the Italian sex comedy. I've been quite obsessed with flicks from the land that looks like boot lately, and I wanted to take a break from the guts and gore to explore the lighter side. Well, that's one reason. The other is the presence of the lovely Edwige Fenech, and the guarantee that she should appear in the buff in a flick where she wasn't getting murdered.

I first encountered Miss Fenech in the film Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key. Before tonight's film, Fenech had mostly starred in giallo films or the like. The same can be said of director Sergio Martino. This was also his first adventure into comedy territory after directing Your Vice and The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (both films had featured Fenech who was involved with the director's producer brother Luciano Martino). So first their first stab at film funnies that chose a story of sex, slapstick, and cheese known as...

Giovannona Long-Thigh (Giovannona coscialunga, disonorata con onore) (1972) starring Edwige Fenech, Pippo Franco, Gigi Ballista, and Riccardo Garrone. Directed by Sergio Martino.



It's a peaceful afternoon as the new judge in town takes some time out to go fishing. Unfortunately, when he reaches the banks of the river he finds all the fish dead and the river filled with pollutants. After getting them analyzed, it's determined that it is chemical waste that one would usually see around a paint factory. There is not such factory in the area though, only Straccolone Cheese. A scandal erupts and the cheese factory is heading toward financial ruin unless something drastic is done.

Commander La Noce (Ballista), the head of the factory, and his assistant Albertini (Franco
) come up with a plan to influence a politician who is on his way to becoming a member of the Italian cabinet. They check him out and find out he has a weakness for women, or more specifically, for the very attractive wives of people he does favors for. The Commander's wife is homely and very pious so she will not do. It is up to Abertini to find a suitable woman to stand in for her. He first tries a computer service which only ends up with him getting hooked up with a transvestite. His spirit broken he drives home along a road lined with prostitutes. He finds them all to be unfit until he spies Coco (also known as Giovannona Long Thigh, but her pimp thought Coco sounded better).

He hastily takes Coco home for a quick trip though the My Fair Lady playbook to try and soften her rough edges. Along the way she develops a crush on the bumbling assistant, but there's no time for that as they go to meet the Commander on a train where he will meet up with the politician (Garrone). The man takes an instant liking to her and hilarity ensues as instances of wrong rooms, squeaky shoed pimps, and Benny Hill style chases cap off this madcap romp.

Film Facts
--Martino and Fenech would work together again in Sex With a Smile (1976), Sabato (1979), and Sugar, Honey and Pepper (1980)

-- Riccardo Garrone had previously appeared in Fellini's La Dolce vita(1960).

--Sergio Martino would go on to direct cannibal opus At the Mountain of the Cannibal God.

The Bug Speaks
Having been my first foray into Italian comedy there is not much of a basis for me to compare it to. That being said I really enjoyed this slapstick farce for what it was. Many of the jokes seemed like they were plays on words which fell kind of flat reading them in subtitled format. Yet there were more than a few times I was laughing out loud so hard that I had to roll the film
back so the subtitles did not get away from me.

Fenech did very well in this film. Apart from being very beautiful (and frequently topless) she seemed to have real comic timing and a knack for this kind of film. Pipi Franco was really amusing as the bumbling assistant. He seemed capable of both the physical comedy and the rapid fire wordplay that the script involved. He also struck me as looking a bit like an Italian version of Adrian Brody.

I was truly entertained by this film and the film-work of Martino was solid as always. The mod look that he utilized in his giallo films carries over into this amusing flick, and it makes for a solid look to the film. It feels very colorful and light just like the subject matter.

I have to say that overall I found the film to be slightly above average however my opinion may change in the future according to other films I see of the type, but as far as cheese factory polluting prostitute having sex romps go, then it's one of a kind.

Bug Rating

Sadly I could find no trailer only some clips from the film which are in Italian hopefully they will at least give you an idea of the look of it.

2 comments:

  1. I have this in my Netflix queue--I'm really looking forward to checking it out--more so now. I love Edwige Fenech, I can't wait to see her humorous side. My only dips into Italian comedy are Fulci's THE EROTICIST, Pasquale Festa Campanile's WHEN WOMEN HAD TAILS and it's sequel--WHEN WOMEN LOST THEIR TALES--the latter both featuring the gorgeous, Senta Berger. All of which I enjoyed, but wasn't blown away by.

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  2. I just have to comment on those awesome Lightning Bug Pasties - Ha! ;-)

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