Just for kicks I entered the original Italian title for Giovannona Long-Thigh (1973), Giovannona coscialunga, disonorata con onore, into an Internet translator and it spit out the following...Giovannona coscialunga, dishonored with honor...interesting...directed by Sergio Martino (All the Colors of the Dark, Your Vice Is a Closed Room and Only I Have the Key, The Mountain of the Cannibal God), the film features Edwige Fenech (The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, Strip Nude for Your Killer), Pippo Franco (Ubalda, All Naked and Warm), and Gigi Ballista (Confessions of a Lady Cop).
As the story begins we learn of a new judge in town, one who enjoys a bit of fishing when not performing his official duties. While visiting a nearby river, he notices the water is extremely polluted and orders an investigation, one that ultimately points finger at the Straccolone Cheese Company. A scandal ensues, the result being the factory being shut down temporarily. The president of the company, Commander La Noce (Ballista), and his stuttering, weasel-like sycophant Albertini (Franco), in trying to figure a way out of the mess, attempt to curry favor with some politicians, but these attempts flounder mainly because said politicians have sampled their wares (har har). Anyway, turns out there's one official who hasn't named Pedico and the men discover he's got one vice...he enjoys the company of other men's wives, particularly if the wife happens to be a real looker, which Commander La Noce's wife isn't...in an effort to exploit this aspect, Albertini devises a plan to find an attractive woman with loose morals to play the role of Commander La Noce's wife so that she may get with Pedico, to which the politician would then provide support for the company so that they may resume business. Efforts to find the right woman don't go so well until Albertini runs across an incredibly beautiful streetwalker named Coco (Fenech) - seems her real name is Giovannona Coscialunga - who's got a face and body that won't quit, but possesses little of the social graces befitting the wife of a wealthy industrialist (you can take the girl out of the street but not necessarily the street out of the girl). Well, since time is of the essence, Albertini's got little choice but to employ Coco's services, and all sorts of comical mishaps ensue, especially once Coco's pimp, a goon named Robertuzzo, who wears squeaky shoes, makes the scene (he takes a certain amount of offense at Albertini's `arrangements' as he feels he's being cut out of the loop). Anyway, things get pretty wild and wooly once all the parties involved (including Commander La Noce's real wife) end up at Pedico's Sicilian estate, with a hapless Albertini set squarely in the middle...oh, did I mention? Seems Coco has taken a real shine to Albertini...
While this certainly wasn't my first foray in Italian cinema (I can't even begin to count the number of `sword and sandal' pictures I've seen over the years), Giovannona Long-Thigh was my first feature into the genre of erotic comedies, the kind prevalent in Italian cinema throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s. On the surface it may sound a cheap and somewhat sleazy comedy (it is), but I thought it was a really well made cheap and somewhat sleazy comedy. The humor throughout entails various aspects including sight gags, slapstick, innuendos, cases of mistaken identities, mixed signals, and more. I was never rolling on the floor with laughter but I did find a great deal of amusement throughout. In terms of the humor I'd equate it to that of what you'd see on an episode of The Benny Hill Show, only instead of short skits the material is drawn out to an hour and a half. While there is a `Pygmalion' element to the story as Albertini and Commander La Noce try to instill some class into Coco, this isn't focused on extensively and only accounts for a few sequences. Some of my favorite bits occur on a train, as Albertini and his boss initially try to hook Coco up with Pedico. I won't go into details, but there are a number of elements involved including a couple of old biddies, an extremely effeminate male passenger, and Pedico's amorous secretary (who's got a thing for Albertini's boss), who's face looks much like that of a well worn catcher's mitt. As far as the performances I thought they all worked very well, especially those by Franco, Ballista, and Fenech. Of course it didn't hurt any that Edwige Fenech is absolutely stunning, naturally so, and appears in various states of undress at certain points throughout the film (she's got some of the most dangerous curves I've seen in a long time). This was my first experience with her and I'm a little surprised she didn't develop more in terms of international stardom given her extraordinary `assets', along with the fact she was truly talented. All in all I thought this an entertaining, well made feature, definitely not one for the children or those who can't enjoy a foray into the blue. As I mentioned earlier this was my first adventure into the world of early, erotic Italian comedies, so I don't know if there were any better films to start with, but I can say my interest is piqued, and I'll most likely keep my eyes open for more. I certainly do appreciate NoShame for providing me with the opportunity to broaden my cinematic horizons by bringing such films for domestic release.
The picture provided on this NoShame Films DVD release, presented in widescreen anamorphic (2.35:1), is slightly funky the first, couple of minutes (the color felt slightly off), but quickly develops nicely once into the film, displaying a wonderful sense of vibrant clarity, and the Dolby Digital 2.0, in Italian, comes through very well (while there are optional English subtitles, there is no English audio track specifically because the film was never released in the U.S.). There are some interesting extras including a recently filmed eight minute interview with star Edwige Fenech, who looks as good pushing sixty as she did some thirty-five years ago, an Edwige Fenech trailer collection (13 mins.), a bit entitled `Revenge of Edwige's Groovy Sexadelic Reel (3 mins.), an original theatrical trailer for the film, and an eight page insert booklet featuring biographies on director Sergio Martino and Edwige Fenech, along with liner notes for the film and the genre in general.