• It’s Nothing Mama, Just A Game (Mondo Macabro) Blu-ray Review



    Released by: Mondo Macabro
    Released on: August, 2021.
    Director: José María Forqué
    Cast: David Hemmings, Alida Valli, Andrea Rau, Francisco Rabal, Nuria Gimeno
    Year: 1974
    Purchase From Mondo Macabro

    It’s Nothing Mama, Just A Game – Movie Review:

    Distributed domestically by Joseph Brenner And Associates in 1974 and alternately known as both Beyond Erotic and Lola, José María Forqué’s It’s Nothing Mama, Just A Game (known in its native Spain as No es nada, mamá, sólo un juego) opens with a rather nasty scene where a woman in a bunny suit is chased through the woods by a man on horseback named Juan (David Hemmings). She hits a trap and is promptly mauled to death by his dogs.

    From here, we get to know a bit more about Juan. He lives at a massive old estate with his mother, Louise (Alida Valli), who not only puts up with his strange, sadistic pursuits but actually encourages them. Juan’s father, who passed away some time ago, was a sadist who used and abused the women that he employed, treating them as playthings and Juan seems to have inherited his father’s mean streak in this regard. As Juan’s family has always been a big employer in the area and many of the locals depend on them to survive, they turn a blind eye to his endeavors.

    Not wanting her son to be without a new toy, Louise tries to find a new woman for Juan to torment but he’s not interested in his mother’s selection. Rather, Juan takes an instant liking to Lola (Andrea Rau), the beautiful daughter of one of the supervisors in the family’s employ. When she rejects his advances, Juan shows his true colors, but Lola has a lot more going on than most of the other women Juan has abused…

    Forqué directs this psychosexual thriller with style, but not in a way that distracts from the story or the acting. The cinematography is frequently very good and there are some creative angles used here, making certain scenes effectively uncomfortable and sometimes quite claustrophobic. Thematically, while the film is fairly graphic in its use of nudity (primarily in regards to Andrea Rau’s character), there’s more here than just base exploitation. Sure, that’s part of it, but the movie deals with the all too relevant idea of the upper class using their privilege to exploit those who can’t hide behind their money and, in particular, those who depend on them for their paychecks. It isn’t hard to draw all kinds of allegories here and the movie gives viewers more food for thought than you might expect, given its fairly sensational nature.

    The acting in the film is very strong. Hemmings is completely despicable as Juan, and he’s very convincing in the part. He uses his body language and facial expressions to really create a seriously sinister character. We have no problem buying him in the role. Alida Valli, instantly recognizable from her turn in Suspiria, is also quite solid here. Her character is, in many ways, just as twisted as Hemmings and she uses her stern, matronly appearance to her advantage on the screen. The lovely Andrea Rau, who starred in Daughters Of Darkness only a few years prior, does great work in this picture as well. Without going into spoiler territory, it’s interesting to see how her character arc changes over the course of the film and how, as an actress, she handles that.

    It’s Nothing Mama, Just A Game – Blu-ray Review:

    It’s Nothing Mama, Just A Game debuts on Blu-ray from Mondo Macabro on a region free 25Gb disc with the feature taking up just a hair under 19GBs of space. Presented in AVC encoded 1080p and taken from a new 4K scan and restoration of the original 35mm negative, the transfer looks very good and shows very little noticeable print damage. Detail is strong, especially in close up shots, and color reproduction looks really strong here as well.

    Audio options are provided in English and Spanish language 16-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono tracks with optional subtitles provided that translate the Spanish track. Both tracks appear to be dubbed. They sound fine. The audio is balanced well and the dialogue clean and clear.

    Extras start off with a new audio commentary by Kat Ellinger, who starts off by explaining the different titles that the film has been known under over the years, thoughts on the way that Spanish genre cinema has been released on home video over the years, the dubbing that is employed in the film, the depiction of childhood trauma and absent fathers in the movie and how they affect Hemmings' character, the marketing and advertising campaign used to promote the movie, thoughts on the performances that the cast deliver in the film, some of the politics that the film plays with particularly in regards to class entitlement, thoughts on how Lola eventually becomes complicit in her treatment, details on José María Forqué's career, the use of nudity in the film and a fair bit more.

    Up next is a new video essay on the career of David Hemmings created by Chris O'Neill that runs for eighteen minutes. The female narrator talks about Hemmings five decade career in front of the camera and the different genres that he played in, how his star rose very quickly after being cast in Blow Up, some of the more obscure low budget films that he made primarily for a UK audience, how prolific he was in the seventies in particular, his willingness to appear in films from many different countries and his international appeal, thoughts on his work in this specific film and what makes his performance so strong.

    Finishing up the extras on the disc are a home video trailer for the title under the Beyond Erotica moniker, a second trailer under the alternate Lola title, the seven-minute alternate Spanish title sequence, menus and chapter selection.

    The limited edition of this release, available now from Mondo Macabro’s webstore and limited to 1200 copies in their trademark red case, will also include some reversible cover sleeve art with original ad art on each side and the reverse side featuring the alternate "Beyond Erotica" title. Additionally, a full color twenty-four page insert booklet that includes an essay entitled José María Forqué, An A-List Journeyman by Spanish film expert Ismael Fernández that gives an excellent, detailed overview of the filmmaker’s career in both film and television and which also provides a nice selection of one sheet art, lobby cards and archival materials. The limited edition also comes with a really nice set of postcard sized Spanish lobby card reproductions.

    It’s Nothing Mama, Just A Game - The Final Word:

    It’s Nothing Mama, Just A Game is a pretty twisted picture highlighted by some strong performances from Rau, Valli and especially Hemmings, the later of whom is unsettlingly effective in his role. Mondo Macabro’s Blu-ray presents this twisted psychosexual thriller in very nice shape and with some interesting extra features as well. Recommended!

    Click on the images below for full sized It’s Nothing Mama, Just A Game Blu-ray screen caps!