• Giovannona Long-Thigh



    Released by: No Shame Films
    Released on: November 14, 2006.
    Director: Sergio Martino
    Cast: Edwige Fenech, Pippo Franco, Gigi Ballista, Riccardo Garrone, Sandro Merli

    Year: 1973
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    The Movie:

    One of the few films that Edwige Fenech made with director Sergio Martino that was not a giallo is this odd little tale of a hooker and her John entitled Giovannona Long-Thigh from 1973 that once again teams Fenech up with popular Italian comedien Pippo Franco (they’d worked together previously on Ubalda, All Naked And Warm).

    The story begins when a judge is out fishing one day and finds the river where he’d hoped to drop his line to be completely polluted. Some quick research points the finger towards a cheese factory run by Commendatore La Noce (Gigi Ballista who has a small part in Tinto Brass’ Salon Kitty). In order to avoid charges and having the good name of his company smeared in the public eye, Noce tries to figure out how he can get into the good graces of a local politician (Vittorio Caprioli of Fernando Di Leo’s To Be Twenty). His assistant, Mr. Albertini (Pippo Franco), he finds out that he does indeed have one weakness, and that is that he enjoys sleeping with married women.

    The gears start to turn in Noce’s head and he figures that since his own wife isn’t exactly the hottest thing on two legs nor would her strict Roman Catholic upbringing make her an ideal candidate for such an endeavor even if she did have the looks to pull it off he should hire himself a prostitute. Enter Cocò (Edwige Fenech) – a lovely lady of the evening who Noce hires to pretend to be his wife in order to fit into the politician’s specific kink. She accepts the job and looks to be perfect for what is required, but things don’t go as planned and soon everyone, including Cocò’s pimp (Riccardo Garrone), lands themselves in some hot water.

    Giovannona Long-Thigh is particularly well shot in that it does a great job of capturing the locations used for the film and the charm of its leading actress. Stelvio Massi (who worked as cinematographer on this film but who is probably best known for his own directorial efforts such as Mondo Cane Oggi and Convoy Busters) has done a fine job framing everything up nicely and there are some pretty impressive compositions on display throughout the movie. While there isn’t as much skin on display here as there are in some of Fenech’s other sex-comedies of the same era, there are enough moments here that some titilation is provided even if more often than not it is played for laughs. As far as the comedic value of the film is concerned, there are enough fun moments in here to get the film by though the prime reason anyone is going to want to watch it is for the Fenech factor as the story and the gags are really only slightly above average at best.

    As far as the performances go, Fenech isn’t given a whole lot to do here save for standing around and looking good – she does it well even if nothing in this film is particularly demanding of her as an actress. Pippo Franco gives the best performance of the film showing a knack for comedic timing and physical comedy and although the film isn’t as strong as Ubalda, All Naked And Warm, Franco’s performance is better than the one he gives in that earlier film.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The 2.35.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that No Shame has provided for this release looks to be in the film's original aspect ratio as there's no obvious cropping or compromising of the framing, everything looks quite good in that regard. Color reproduction is strong and bold and black levels stay pretty consistent throughout the film. There's some mild print damage in the form of the odd speck here and there as well as a little bit of grain (you’ll notice this more in the darker scenes) but that's to be expected to an extent from an older movie. For the most part, the picture is clean and quite detailed and there's really little to complain about here in terms of edge enhancement or mpeg compression artifacts.

    Italian language Dolby Digital Mono track isn’t quite crystal clear but it’s close enough that you probably won’t care too much. There aren’t any serious problems with hiss or distortion and the levels are well balanced. No Shame has a disclaimer that plays before the movie stating that the optional English subtitles have been adjusted to better reflect the nuances of the comedy that might not translate so well – not speaking Italian this reviewer can’t say if it worked or not but the movie flows well as presented here and No Shame has done their usual nice job in this department.

    The main attraction in terms of extra features for this release is Days Of Being Wild, an eight-minute on camera interview with the still lovely Edwige Fenech. Here she covers the making of the film, her working relationship with Sergio Martino and his brother Luciano Martino who she would work with often, as well as what it’s like shedding your clothes in front of the camera. She comes across as smart and as genuinely nice and while a commentary or documentary would have been most welcome here, given the niche market that this release will likely appeal to this is a decent compromise.

    Less impressive but still fun is a collection of trailers for films in which Edwige starred – look for promotional spots for Cream Horn, Poker In Bed, Don’t Play With Tigers and The Erotic Exploits Of A Sexy Seducer and for the feature itself. A segment called The Revenge Of Edwige’s Groovy Sexadelic Reel is basically a second collection of nude clips from a few of her films set to some sixties style music. Animated menus and chapter stops for the feature itself round out the extras on the disc. Included inside the keepcase is an insert booklet containing an essay on the film and biographies for the key cast and crew members.

    The Final Word:

    No Shame has once again done a nice job of an obscure Italian release. While Giovannona Long-Thigh won’t appeal to a huge audience and it’s hardly a classic piece of cinema, those with a taste for Italian comedies or who appreciate Ms. Fenech’s considerable charm and screen presence should enjoy this film a fair bit.