lørdag 20. mars 2010

My Swedish Aunt/La zia svedese

Italy, 1980

Directed by Mario Siciliano

Marina Frajese, Peter Thompson [Giovanni Tamberi], Laura Levi, Giuseppe Curia, Guia Lauri Filzi, Erminio Bianchi, Patrizia Predan, Sandra Cardinale, Giuseppe Cardone, Rossana Canghiari

Though rarely brought up in discussion, Italian hardcore porn from the early 1980s is quite fascinating stuff that can make for some really interesting viewings. Curiously, the hardcore scene in Italy was established relatively late in comparison to other European countries as there basically wasn’t any market for hardcore porn in Italy during the 1970s. Sure enough, some Italian films from this era did contain hardcore scenes, such as Joe D’Amato’s Emanuelle flicks Emanuelle in America (1976) and Emanuelle Around the World (1977), Edoardo Mulargia’s sleazy W.I.P. romp Hotel Paradise (1979) and Mario Gariazzo’s ‘sexy’ giallo Play Motel (1979), but these scenes were added in order to spice the films up for export to foreign markets such as France, who demanded hardcore scenes. Hence these films can hardly be labeled as real porno movies – they’re basically softcore films with a few brief hard scenes thrown in here and there. It wasn't until the early 1980s that full-on hardcore pornos started to boom in Italy. One of the better known Italian pornos from this era is My Swedish Aunt – directed by former straight movie director Mario Siciliano – and this is largely because it was one of the very few of these films to get dubbed into English and given an international release.

As expected, the plot is simple enough: Barbara Musomecci (Marina Frajese) is an attractive and free-spirited Swedish blonde who lives in a huge villa in the Italian countryside together with her grumpy and much older husband (Giuseppe Cardone). The husband is usually preoccupied with his work, and the film starts with him leaving for a two-week business trip to New York. Rather than sulk around, Barbara decides to have fun while she has the house to herself, and invites two of her slutty friends (Patrizia Predan and Sandra Cardinale) over for some partying. They quickly get into some lesbian action and later invite two hunky student boys over for some further hanky panky.

When hubby is away...

Barbara also gets around in between all her partying as she’s carrying on a fling with her virile gardener, Alberto (Giuseppe Curia), and occasionally gets some lesbian love from her nymphomaniac maid, Alice (Laura Levi).

Meanwhile, we are introduced to teenage boy Marco (Giovanni Tamberi), who is the nephew of Barbara’s husband. Marco lives in the city together with his strict, puritanical mother (Guia Lauri Filzi) and he is nearly flowing over with hormones as he has started to develop a craving for the opposite sex. This does not sit well with his sex-hating mother who goes ballistic when she discovers that Marco has brought a dirty magazine into her house: “You’re vice personified. You’re a potential delinquent. You’re nothing but a sexual maniac!” she scolds him!!


...and his horrible mother

Unable to cope with his deranged mother any longer, Marco decides to move out and go to stay with his uncle in the country. But since the uncle is away on business, Marco is met only by his sexy aunt Barbara. The two of them get along very well and it doesn’t take long before the hormonal boy starts lusting after his Swedish auntie. Unfortunately for Marco, Barbara isn’t prepared to take up a sexual affair with her husband’s nephew, so he has to make do with the nympho maid instead. However, as Marco gradually falls in love with Barbara, she finally gives in during one of her sexy parties and they have passionate sex in the middle of the living room floor while Barbara’s friends giggle and dance around them. Naturally, several more complications follow…

Seduced by auntie

As you can probably tell from the plot, this is fairly traditional coming of age stuff with lots of jealousy between the characters and ridiculous sex comedy elements thrown in for good measure. None of it is particularly original, or even all that well-made for that matter. No, in order to really understand the success of this film it is crucial to take a closer look at its star, Marina Frajese (alternatively known as Marina Hedman, Marina Lotar and various other aliases). Swedish-born Frajese made her first hardcore scene at age 32 in Joe D’Amato’s Emanuelle in America, and would continue to do hardcore scenes in both Play Motel, and for D’Amato again in Images in a Convent (1979). But since there wasn’t much of a hardcore market in Italy at the time, Marina also appeared in a number of regular, non-pornographic roles. It wasn’t until the advent of fully fledged Italian porno movies in the early 1980s that she reached true stardom.

My Swedish Aunt is one of the key titles among Marina’s early pornos, and it played an important part in establishing her star power. A mature but attractive 36-year old at the time, Marina Frajese was ideally cast as the frivolous Swedish aunt who has her sexually awakening nephew walking funny. The seductive aunt was soon to become one of Frajese’s signature characters as she would go on to play different variations of this role in a number of adult films – quickly establishing herself as Italy’s most (in)famous porno diva of the 80s. Much of Marina’s popularity was no doubt due to her uninhibitedness as she eagerly performed in scenes with anal sex, double penetration and facials – none of which was too common in early 1980s porn. There are no such scenes on display in My Swedish Aunt, though.

The sinful aunt

In addition to introducing Marina as the seductive aunt, this film also foreshadows another notorious Marina trait. In a bizarre sexual dream sequence, Marco dreams about a horse in a field, and a buff naked Marina running towards the horse in slow-motion while a catchy disco beat plays. As she reaches the horse, she starts caressing it. The film then cuts to a smiling Marina on her back in the field getting a big, white load squirted over her breasts while we hear the off-screen stallion neighing ecstatically. Mercifully, this scene is clearly faked, and Mario Siciliano has the good sense to suggest instead of showing - thereby sparing us a repeat performance of the uncomfortable stable sequence from D’Amato’s Emanuelle in America. Marina, however, would later go on to perform explicit scenes of zoophilia in several other films such as Marina e la sua bestia (1984) and La perdizione (Marina’s animals) (1986), although the authenticity of these scenes is rather questionable.

Marco’s very bizarre dream

But really… the scene of Marina and the horse, though surprising, is little more than a mild preview to her later escapades. There are no really nasty or overly graphic scenes in My Swedish Aunt, which is really a relatively innocent affair when compared to the Italian hardcore films that would follow. As mentioned, the film is one of the few Italian pornos from the early 1980s to get dubbed in English and given an international release. In the US it got a VHS release on the Private Screenings label under the title The Other Woman. The English version I’ve seen was a fullscreen softcore cut – shorn of all moments of hardcore couplings. Luckily, I also have an Italian release and although it is in Italian only, it is widescreen and has all the hardcore action intact. Now, you’d think this would be the best way to view the film but truth be told, both versions contain exclusive footage, so neither one is completely satisfactory.

Obviously, the softcore version suffers from having a lot of unfinished sex scenes. There are numerous scenes that contain a lot of build-up and cheesy dialogue full of sexual innuendo but then abruptly cuts away just as the actors start undressing. It’s a build-up to nothing and it’s hard to not feel cheated by this. To compensate, though, there are some soft sex scenes that appear to have been shot exclusively for the non-hard version – most notably a silly scene where Marco and the maid, Alice, have sex in a car.

Fun in the car

Now, the hardcore version delivers all the explicit footage missing from the soft cut but on the other hand it’s missing a lot of additional footage from the soft version, including several dialogue scenes and an even entire sub-plot regarding Marco’s mother. It also leaves out the sex scenes that seem to have been shot soft (like Marco and Alice in the car).

So what does the hard footage consist of? Well, for the most part it’s limited to a lot of long blowjobs. There are also some full-on sex scenes with vaginal penetration but these scenes are briefer and occur with less frequency. Also, the fact that the penetration scenes are mostly shot in close-up indicates that they were performed by body doubles. This is presumably because Giovanni Tamberi, who plays Marco, was a “real” actor and probably didn’t want to appear in such scenes.

Tamberi was at the start of his film career when he starred in My Swedish Aunt and he would later appear in a series of thrillers such as Specters (1987), Phantom of Death (1987) and Too Beautiful to Die (1988). He’s not bad as the horny nephew but does feel dreadfully miscast because he is at least 10 years too old to be playing a sexually awakening teenager. Also of great interest is the fact that while he doesn’t partake in any penetration scenes, he does receive a non-simulated blowjob from Marina. Which explains why he’s hiding behind the pseudonym “Peter Thompson”. No doubt, Tamberi would like to forget all about his short-lived porno adventure.

Some of the naughty bits missing from soft versions

Seeing a legitimate actor like Tamberi doing porn, and having Marina Frajese playing her aunt role for the first time are some of the main selling points of My Swedish Aunt. But it does have some more stuff going for it as well, such as a couple of delightful Euro-disco songs by composer Carlo Maria Cordio. The two songs “No, Baby, Not Tonight” and “Hello” are both extremely catchy and dance-able but, unfortunately, the credits don’t list the singer. Too bad – we could really need a soundtrack release with these great numbers.

As an erotic film, however, My Swedish Aunt doesn’t exactly work because it is for the most time distinctly un-erotic. There’s nothing too sexy about the sex scenes, and with the exception of Marina Frajese, the performers are plain-looking at best. This can be said about pretty much every Italian porno movie from the early 1980s, though. They’re all highly unlikely to get modern viewers turned on but they still remain fascinating and worth checking out because of their often wacky plots and extreme cheesiness. Personally, I’m particularly interested in the ones that feature “real” actors, such as Giovanni Tamberi in this case, but other notable actors like Paola Montenero, Kieran Canter, Karin Well, Enzo Monteduro and Zaira Zoccheddu also popped up in some early 1980s hardcore productions.

But My Swedish Aunt isn’t just a sex film, of course. More precisely it is a sex comedy, which means that we are served a lot of funny business as well. Director Mario Siciliano was a competent craftsman and had made some fairly enjoyable films in the past, such as the WW2 adventure Overrun! (1969) and the strange supernatural giallo Evil Eye (1974), but his films lack a distinctive style and he doesn’t seem to have that good an eye for comedy. Hence the comedic elements tend to fall rather flat as they’re both predictable and stupid (and aided by an appropriately laughable English dubbing job). The sub-plot involving Marco’s sex-hating mother, in particular, is monstrously idiotic – so much so that it actually ends up being kind of amusing. The mother is played by prolific porno diva Guia Lauri Filzi, a hard-faced woman who tried her luck as a legitimate actress in a couple of films like Tano Cimarosa’s trashy crime flick Death Hunt (1977) before turning to hardcore. She’s pretty funny here – wearing her hair in a tight bun and without any make-up on. But since this is a sex film, she naturally gets cured of her fear of sex by a doctor, whose method is taking his clothes off and jumping in bed with the poor woman. So after some long blowjobs and a bit of brief fucking, the mom lets the hair out of her tight bun, puts on make-up, and voila: she’s now a lusty gal with an insatiable sexual appetite. One can’t help but laugh at this!

Ms Filzi’s hilarious transformation from nutty to slutty

The rest of the cast is interesting, too. Beefy, moustached Giuseppe Curia plays the gardener, and he has that super-clichéd 1980s porno actor look that immediately makes him funny to watch. Curia was one of the most important male porno actors in Italian adult cinema of the early 1980s but he too had started out with some brief roles in softer films: he was one of the orgy participants in a soft scene in Bruno Mattei’s The True Story of the Nun of Monza (1980) and played one of the men who rapes Marina Frajese in the woods in D’Amato’s Images in a Convent (a scene that does features some brief hardcore action). Playing the role of the maid is voluptuous brunette Laura Levi, who was also a key figure in Italian XXX cinema. She really gets to display her sexual appetite here. There’s also another important porno regular on board – namely Erminio Bianchi, who plays the doctor that cures Marco’s mother of her sex phobia. Grey-haired Bianchi looks a tad older than the other actors and he also played tiny bit part roles in a number of legitimate films such as The Concorde Affair (1979), The Salamander (1980), Bruce Le Fights Back (1982) and others. Rounding out the cast are blonde ladies Patrizia Predan and Sandra Cardinale as Marina’s friends. Of the two, Predan is the one who gets in on the most explicit stuff but she doesn’t appear to ever have done anything else. Cardinale doesn’t actually perform in any hardcore scenes here but she later went on to appear in a few more pornos for both Joe D’Amato and Angelo Pannacchio.

All in all, My Swedish Aunt is complete rubbish and not very sexy but it has its moments and is a relatively important title in Italian hardcore cinema. Mario Siciliano’s two next adult movies, Happy Sex (1981) and Dangerous Love (1981), were also dubbed into English and released on VHS in the US by Private Screenings. It’s a big wonder why Siciliano’s pornos were chosen for international export because there are numerous other Italian adult films that are far more interesting and enjoyable than these films. For a much better and sexier film where Marina Frajese plays a seductive aunt, I’d recommend Con la zia non è peccato (1980).

© 2010 Johan Melle

The cast:

Marina Frajese as Barbara

Giovanni Tamberi as Marco

Laura Levi as Alice

Giuseppe Curia as Alberto

Guia Lauri Filzi as Marco’s mother

Erminio Bianchi as The doctor

Patrizia Predan as Barbara’s friend

Sandra Cardinale as Barbara’s friend

Giuseppe Cardone as Barbara’s husband

Rossana Canghiari as The doctor’s wife

5 kommentarer:

Stephen Grimes sa...

I recently got a great looking English language version of Sicilano's EROTIC FAMILY from the old Swedish vhs release,this version is lbx and runs for 105mins+ with hardcore scenes.

Johan Melle sa...

That's very interesting, Stephen! I have EROTIC FAMILY in Italian and from what I can remember it only contains one single hardcore scene: a stag film sequence featuring Guia Lauri Filzi. Everything else was soft - including scenes with Giuseppe Curia and Laura Levi. I'm guessing the Swedish release has more hard footage. Interesting that the English language release should be more explicit than the Italian one as it's the opposite case with MY SWEDISH AUNT.

Anonym sa...

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prashant sa...

Hello, can any one send me a link to download this movie?

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