Saturday, October 19, 2013

"L'alcova" (1984) d/ Joe D'Amato

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We'll take a torrid turn towards the sexy tonight as we examine one of Papa Joe's sultry softcore Brass-esque period pieces from the mid-eighties, starring the source of my every Matool joke, Al Cliver, as well as the brunette bombshell from Avere vent'anni aka/ To Be Twenty(1978) and former Miss Italy 1975, Lilli Carati, D'Amato fave, the Black Emanuelle herself, Laura Gemser, and last, but never least, the angelic apple of my exploitative eye, Annie Belle, who'd not only outgrown the Lolita roles that comprised much of her early acting career by this point, but also the trademark bleached pixie hairdo in favor of lengthier brunette tresses. Naturally, you won't hear any complaints outta this guy.

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"But I didn't want a slave, I wanted cornetti di crema!!"
Elio(Al Cliver) is a victorious soldier returning from an Abyssinian conquest to his Italian villa, bearing gifts for his lovely young wife Alessandra (Carati), who's been carrying on with his secretary Wilma (Belle) while he's been out expanding the empire for his Duce, who was political bedfellows with a fuehrer of his own, ahhh, you all know how that story goes by now... He surprises his spouse with a princess-turned-slave named Zerbal (Gemser), a gift from an African king, gracious for not having been snuffed out by the then-advancing fascist war machine. Alessandra initially hates the dusky gift ( Zerbal greets her with "Hello.Go and get yourself fucked." ),  at least until she's given the lanky woman in a kooky saliva-heavy ceremony, after which she's wrapped around Zerbal's impossibly long fingers, in more ways than one, as you had to know was coming.

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" this is a very cool place to hit...", exclaims Elio (Al Cliver).
Perhaps incensed at not being able to give Elio his usual post boot removal blow job, Zerbal defiantly switches radio stations, breaks windows, and climbs trees barefoot ("Treat her like a pet, not a slave!" Elio scolds) until she finally turns her new mistress' racial slurs into 'ooh's and 'aah's, leaving a jealous Wilma as the odd lesbian out in the mix. Meanwhile, the jilted pantiless secretary and self-proclaimed 23 year old virgin teases and resists the advances of  his son Furio (Roberto Caruso), a fellow soldier and young guest, when she isn't wanking Elio off in the hallway as they both eavesdrop Zerbal and Alessandra in the bedroom. After a coke and champagne-fueled sass-off between the mistress and secretary, Elio returns with the equipment with which to make moving pictures, showing his three ladies what has to be the most vintage hardcore stag loop I've ever seen, and exclaiming, "We can do better than that!". Having gone belly up financially, he films his wife dressed as a nun, forcing her privates into the face of a bound up Wilma, before letting his filthy gardener Pepe rape her, on camera. Reunited with Furio, Wilma interrupts Zerbal getting a ceremonial slave lickdown from Elio, chucking the stolen stag film she'd made into a candle below, igniting the Abyssinian's gown, and bringing us to a fiery, vengeful climax.

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My stone's gone from flint to jade over Wilma (Annie Belle).
The production values are top notch, and D'Amato has decorated the lush Italian countryside with appropriately beautiful people, none of which were strangers to softcore(only Carati made the jump to hardcore features), to play out his perverted power play here, and the performances aren't entirely flat as one might expect, given the prolific director's track record. I'd have given it three Wops if it didn't overextend itself towards the middle, but a solid double seems fitting for a movie whose plot mirrors the director's own life with a knowing smirk, having had to "resort" to pornography due to "economic" reasons, himself.

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Amazing how she maintains eye contact with those obstructions in plain view. I know I couldn't do it.
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Nigel M said...

I was a teensy bit underwhelmed by this film. It shows that D'amato could play it straight and it was certainly pretty classy but it lacked the punch of the little jawdropping moments of sleaze that often find their way into his work. In the world of eighties softcore it is fine enough, but in the world of D'amato this, I felt, was no more than average. Classy looking mind!

beedubelhue said...

I thought the dialog was sufficiently sleazy throughout, a refreshing change of pace from faux snuff and ugly ultra closeups of mouths chewing food, for this guy!


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