Thursday, July 3, 2014

"Bluebeard" (1972) d/ Edward Dmytryk, Luciano Sacripanti

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 Sometimes, when an actor has truly "made it", as legendary British star Richard Burton certainly had by 1972, having snagged five Oscar nominations for 'Best Actor', and one for 'Best Supporting Actor' by 1970, he gets the opportunity to perform in as grandiose a chunk of seventies Eurosleaze as tonight's review, while surrounded by no less than eight of the most beautiful women in the world at the time. You've got Marilu Tolo, who'd appeared in Mio caro assassino(1972), Virna Lisi, who'd go on to appear in Lucio Fulci's Zanna bianca (1973), Karin Schubert, who'd turned up in Enzo Castellari's Gli occhi freddi della paura (1971),  Agostina Belli, who also show up in Giorgio Ferroni's La notte dei diavoli (1972),  and topping it all  off (for me, anyway) there's Nathalie Delon, Raquel Welch, Sybill Danning, and Joey Heatherton. For proper perspective,also try to remember that Dicky was going home to Elizabeth Taylor when shooting wrapped. Poor devil...

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"This chaise makes my ass sore. Do you mind if I lay on my Belli?", asks Agostina.
Kurt Von Sepper (Richard Burton) is an Austrian WWI pilot, big game hunter, and member of the aristocracy, his bluish beard, well admired by all his nationalist chums, while his overactive appetite for a wide variety of strikingly beautiful women leads to each lovely's respective demise at his judgmentally murderous hands, in Bava-esque, giallo-licious ways.At least until the American pixie, Anna (Joey Heatherton), with true love in her eyes, comes along. She gives her new husband a pass after stumbling upon an old cleaning woman brushing the hair of the corpse of his dead, mummified mother. Stumbling into a secret freezer full of dead wives, on the other hand, she finds much harder to forgive. Von Sepper regretfully informs his enthusiastic spouse that she's joining the gruesome display and going on permanent bye-bye's before the sun rises, but she cunningly buys herself time by hearing extensive confessions to all of her husband's previous crimes first.

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I'd say five Hail Marys, two Our Fathers, and an Act of Contrition for a swig o' the wine outta Magdalena's (Raquel Welch) tabernacle.
Through flashbacks, Greta (Karin Schubert) gets "accidentally" shot on a hunt after threatening to reveal the true extent of a war wound he'd received, then Elga (Virna Lisi) gets rubbed out by guillotine over her incessant warbling,  while Erika (Nathalie Delon) is a virginal model whose bedroom inexperience forces Kurt to hire a prostitute (Sybill Danning) to school her in the art of lovemaking. When the girls get too sleepover-y for his proper taste, it's the rhino horn chandelier for both of them. Magdalena (Raquel Welch) is a nymphomaniac-turned-nun whose constant flow of graphic carnal confessions earn her an asphyxiation in a nearby casket. Brigitte (Marilu Tolo) is a gun-shootin', hangbag puntin', bundle of feminism whose mile wide masochistic streak leaves Kurt no choice but to extinguish her. Then there's the brattish Caroline (Agostina Belli) who also doesn't make it to the final reel. A guy who couldn't hit it off with any of this crumpet'd have to be Kurt is, surprise, surprise. What ensues, I'll leave you to experience for yourselves.

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"I understand the 'milk,milk' paht, dahling, it's when you go 'round the corner that confuses meh."
For the perverted section of Woprophiles out there (hopefully every last one of you!), all of Burton's co-stars put their fleshy wares on full display here, save for Raquel Welch, who looks just as fine in a nun's habit as she does in a bathing suit, any old damned way. The soundtrack, by maestro Ennio Morricone, is top shelf, as always, full of allusion and character. While we're on the subject of moods and maestros, the film's atmosphere is notably thick with the brightly colored influence of  Mario Bava, the artificial bodies lending an air of dark humor about the production, as well. Bluebeard isn't perfect, but there's more than enough beauty in front of the lens, and behind it, as well, to make this a highly enjoyable screening, and a three Wop score sounds reasonably fitting. Equally artsy and exploitative, see it.

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"What, no Francoise Pascal or Christina Lindberg?!!?", begs the Baron (Burton). 
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