Claudia Cardinale’s Sex Tombola

Antonio Pietrangeli’s IL MAGNIFICO CORNUTO is a marital comedy that plays kind of like a sixties Italian EYES WIDE SHUT — it’s all about fidelity, there’s an exchange of fantasies/affairs, the complacent male is thrown into a whirlpool of angst, there are scenes in a hotel and a big country house… Ugo Tognazzi (you remember the child-catcher in BARBARELLA who takes off his big fur coat to reveal an even bigger, furrier chest?) cheats on his impossibly gorgeous wife, Claudia Cardinale, and is tormented, not by conventional guilt, but by impotent fantasies of her cheating back.

The climactic, is I may use the word, fantasy, is a prolonged and luminously atmospheric striptease, with Cardinale stripping away her seven or so veils according to the results of an erotic tombola. Yes.

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11 Responses to “Claudia Cardinale’s Sex Tombola”

  1. While Claudia scarcely needs an introduction, Ugo Tognazzi was much more than the hairy-chested dude in Barbarella Leave us not forget his turns in the orignal La Cage aux Folles a marvelous Luciano Salce comedy Crazy Desire, plus his Marco Ferreri films including ,Le Grande Bouffe and Don’t Touch the White Woman

  2. Ugo Tognazzi was also in Bertolucci’s Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man. A pretty good actor.

  3. La Cage au Folles is delightful — a farce that takes its time getting going, but reaps the frenetic benefits. And for all its use of stereotypes, its heart is in the right place and it must have seemed hugely progressive.

    Ridic Man seemed disappointing to me when I saw it, but it would be interesting to view it again in a better quality (non 3rd-generation VHS) copy.

  4. Ridiculous Man is Bertolucci’s smaller films, of a piece with Spider’s Strategem, Stealing Beauty, Besieged and “sigh” his latest film Io e Te, which I saw at the Mumbai Film Festival, and man was that a disappointment. But I like Ridiculous Man quite a bit.

  5. Shame about the new one. But I’m iffy about Stealing Beauty and Besieged, though they both have some good things, moments, performances, intentions.

    The Spider’s Stratagem strikes me as really major Bert, though, masquerading as a small TV film.

  6. Sorry to hear about Io e Te too, but Bertolucci has been in horrendous physical shape for a good number of years now and the fact that he managed to make a film at all is miraculous.

    Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man is indeed very good, as is the horribly underrated Luna. But Rochelle Rochelle (aka. Stealing Beauty) is awful.

  7. At least it has Jean Marais, I always get a kick out of seeing him.

    La Luna is very strong, has great moments, but I regret that Fred Gwynne doesn’t stick around longer.

  8. Io e Te is still worth a look, it starts really well and it clearly is personal since it deals with several themes that Bertolucci covered with in his earlier films. There’s a strange mother-son relationship, like LUNA, only here the mother is middle-class rather than a world-famous opera singer, and the son is a modern teenager. Much of the film takes place in a room like quite a few other Bertoluccis and there’s also the usual father issues. But it doesn’t go very deep and the film is betrayed by a lamentable ending which quotes from Les 400 Coups. Parts of it felt similar to Gus Van Sant’s PARANOID PARK and his RESTLESS, which perhaps Bertolucci looked at, but those films have a better feeling for the subject.

    Bertolucci’s physical weakness is truly sad and I kind of hope that he made this “minor film” as a finger exercise for his real comeback and I certainly want him to bounce back. Bad form can’t take away from his talent or achievement though it could be a case that he’s peaked early in his career.

  9. He used to do the BEST endings — Spider’s Stratagem, 1900, even The Last Emperor…

  10. david wingrove Says:

    Good moments in BESIEGED? Wow, I must have slept through those. A friend announced after a screening that it was the worst film he’d ever seen by a major director…and I would tend to agree!

  11. It’s been a while. I do remember some awful stuff, but it passed the time…

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