onsdag 29. august 2012

Sexy Night Report/Le notti porno nel mondo

Italy, 1977

Directed by Bruno Mattei (and Joe D’Amato)

Hosted by Laura Gemser

I’ve never been a huge fan of the so-called mondo genre, which tends to focus a bit too much on senseless animal killings for my taste, but the many sexy mondo films made by Bruno Mattei and Joe D’Amato in the late 1970s are a different matter. Focusing solely on sex, perversion and kinky nightclub acts, these mondos are staged from beginning to end, and offer a lot of crazy fun. Sexy Night Report was the first of the bunch, and there has been some debate about the film’s authorship. Bruno Mattei wrote the screenplay and was the film’s official director under the name “Jimmy Metheus”, one of his countless aliases. He directed the various vignettes and was in charge of piecing together all of the material (which also includes a lot of footage ‘borrowed’ from other productions), while D'Amato contributed some unofficial assistance by directing all of the linking segments with Laura Gemser. As such I think it’s only right to consider this is somewhat of a joint Mattei/D'Amato effort.

The film is hosted by the lovely Laura Gemser, a very frequent collaborator of D’Amato's, who once again plays her signature role as the exotic, globe-trotting investigative journalist Emanuelle. Thanks to her many connections around the globe, Emanuelle’s camera crew has been granted access to the most exclusive, secretive and often bizarre nightclubs in the world, and from her comfy home, Emanuelle cheerfully introduces and narrates the hot, exclusive footage she has acquired for us.

The beautiful Emanuelle is our host for the evening

The show kicks off with a strange act in a Hamburg nightclub, featuring porno queen Marina Frajese as a club performer dressed in a sexy safari costume. After doing a striptease she lies down in a sleeping bag – only to have a guy dressed in a laughable-looking gorilla costume storm onto the stage to attack and chase her around. After putting up a pretty weak struggle, Marina gives in and the pair begin to go at it while the incredibly sweaty and sleazy-looking audience members excitedly look on.

Safari striptease

Gorilla silliness

Apparently the show is quite a turn-on for the spectators

An interesting piece of trivia for this segment is the fact that the guy in the ridiculous gorilla suit is referred to in Emanuelle’s narration as 'Lotar'. In the early 1980s, Marina Frajese was sued by her ex-husband, respected Italian journalist Paolo Frajese, who sought to prohibit her from using the respected Frajese name in the sleazy porn movies she was starring in. As a result, Marina took back her maiden name Hedman but also frequently starred under the name Marina Lotar! But whether or not it was Lotar the Gorilla who gave her the idea for this name I do not know.

Could this be where the Marina Lotar name came from?!?

We then move on to a lesbian club in Hong Kong, where two oriental dancers strut their stuff while the all-female patrons stroke and caress each other in their darkened audience seats. “Are you scandalized?” Emanuelle asks in voice-over. “Why? In an era in which air, earth and water are polluted and the world is becoming a giant trash can, you shouldn’t be scandalized when people go against nature”, she tells us. Some great social commentary from Bruno Mattei there!

If this sequence looks familiar it’s because it’s lifted from D’Amato’s Black Cobra (1976), the first of his many erotic films to star Laura Gemser. The awesome song “My Lyne” that plays during this segment will no doubt also be familiar to D’Amato fans as it featured prominently on the soundtrack of his exploitation classic Emanuelle’s Revenge (1975). The song is performed by a little-known group named The Pennies, and is taken from their only album, The Five Pennies Opera, released in 1972. In fact, most of the songs heard throughout the film are taken from this album.

Hong Kong lesbians

Up next is a woman who does a striptease in a club together with her dog. And so the film continues – jumping from one bizarre club act to the next, with inevitable linking segments where a constantly smiling Laura Gemser introduces each sequence in various stages of undress. While the narration and some grainy establishing stock footage shots try to convince us that the various acts are taking place in exclusive clubs from around the world, it is patently obvious that all of the sequences were shot in a studio in Rome. The fact that the very same set recurs in several club acts is a dead giveaway, and furthermore the various audience members are made up of Italian bit part players whose faces will be familiar from countless other films. But Sexy Night Report also contains plenty of footage lifted from erotic foreign films and possibly some genuine documentary footage that the film’s producer, Franco Gaudenzi, had acquired the rights to. More about that a little later.

I won’t go into details about each of the many segments in the film but there are a couple of highlights that definitely warrant special attention. One of them is a sequence set in a Copenhagen nightclub in which Mandrake the Magician and his female assistant Narda (played by one of the girls from Mattei’s Nazisploitation romp SS Girls, 1977) perform sexy magic tricks. First, Mandrake lets the club patrons examine Narda up close and take a good look at her private parts. Then the magician performs a bit of magic by giving Narda male genitalia! Or, to put it in the words of Emanuelle: “Abracadabra! With his diabolical forces Mandrake changes Narda into an abundantly endowed male – causing the men to writhe in envy and the women to applaud enthusiastically”.

Mandrake and Narda

Mandrake displays Narda in all her glory...

...before giving her a penis!

Mandrake later reappears in another amusing sequence but for some inexplicable reason he doesn’t perform magic tricks this time. Instead he leads a couple of women up on the stage, puts them behind a large screen and has them poke their naked butts through large holes in the screen. The women’s husbands are then given the task of identifying their wives merely from the sight of their butts, and must fuck the one they think is their wife while “My Lyne” plays on the soundtrack again. In her voice-over Emanuelle expresses her doubts that everyone has made the right choice. “But who cares? The important thing is to have fun, isn’t it?”, she chirps.

Butt fun!

In this segment it is worth noting the presence of Dutch-born porn actress Pauline Teutscher as one of the women who stick their asses through the hole in the screen. This was one of the first roles for Teutscher, who in the early 1980s would become one of the most prolific stars of the Italian hardcore scene – appearing in tons of porn movies for the likes of Joe D’Amato, Alberto Cavallone and Mario Bianchi.

An early role for Pauline Teutscher

One of the funniest moments in the film is a segment named “Love on Wheels”, which features a naked man and woman on roller-skates. The man tries to catch the woman but they’re both rather clumsy and repeatedly fall on their asses while “My Lyne” plays on the soundtrack yet again. This cute and charming sequence is actually lifted from the episodic Swiss sex film Blutjunge Masseusen (1972), directed by sexploitation great Erwin C. Dietrich and released in the US as Pin-Up Playmates. Being an undisputed master at borrowing from other filmmakers, Bruno Mattei does of course not leave it at that, but instead pilfers two more sequences from Dietrich’s film. One in which a man is given a discreet blowjob at an Asian barber shop, and another in which a woman performs a striptease in a display window in front of an excited crowd before inviting one lucky spectator in for a lovemaking sessions while the others keep watching.

Scenes stolen from the film Blutjunge Masseusen

Another hilarious sequence shows a sex school in Amsterdam, in which a partially undressed sex teacher uses a blow-up doll to educate her group of naked students in the joys of love making. Undoubtedly, this segment has been culled from a German-language production but I haven’t been able to identify where it comes from. Possibly from another Erwin C. Dietrich film? Whatever its origins, the sequence was later re-used by Mattei in his most extreme mondo movie, the rather shocking Libidomania (1979).

If you recognize the film this scene is taken from then please drop me a line

And then there’s the segment featuring Omar “the world’s greatest lover”, in which an alleged super-stud named Omar attempts to have sex with 100 horny women in front of an ecstatic live audience. And of course he does so to the tune of “My Lyne” as well as another great The Pennies song named “Many Doors, Few People”. Unfortunately, Omar gets exhausted after 24 girls and has to be carried off the stage while the furious crowd starts booing and throwing vegetables. “Well, if you try too hard that always happens”, comments a wise-assed Emanuelle. I’m sure it won’t come as a surprise to you that this highly enjoyable sequence has also been pilfered. Not from a European production, though, but from the American sketch movie If You Don’t Stop It… You’ll Go Blind!!! (1975), featuring Uschi Digard, who can be seen here as the very first girl who gets a piece of Omar.

Fun with Omar

Uschi Digard!

Throughout the film we are also served a boob competition, a masked Santo-style wrestler who mud-wrestles with a naked woman, three virgins given to a raja, a macumba ritual, two Arabian performers who due to strict laws are only allowed to mime sex acts, a naked dancer who inserts ping pong balls into her vagina and plops them out, and a black nightclub performer named Lollipop, the so-called ‘sex witch’, who loves to turn on her audience and get them to participate in her act. Many of these sequences appear to be culled from other productions but, unfortunately, I don’t know from where.


Sex mimers

Lollipop the sex witch

Considering that it was made by Mattei and D’Amato, Sexy Night Report does admittedly come across as somewhat tame. Sure, there’s lots of nudity but most of what’s on display here is rather harmless fun. Only occasionally does the film drift into more sleazy territory – most notably in a segment depicting an African tribe’s execution of two adulterers. The condemned are tied to stakes, and then the man is menaced with a knife before the getting his penis sliced off, while the woman is beheaded with a machete. This violent and brutal sequence stands in strong contrast to the easy-going silliness that precedes it, and as such it comes as a bit of a surprise. But even here Emanuelle’s reaction is merely to smile and cheekily tell us that: “It’s a good thing we don’t have laws like that or we’d all be losing our heads. I know I would”.

Observant viewers will probably recognize the execution footage as it was also used briefly in D’Amato’s Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals (1977), where it serves as the black and white film footage being watched by Laura Gemser and Gabriele Tinti on a projector.

Penis slicing


The execution sequence is immediately followed by another sleazy highlight: a segment called “Taxi Mother”, in which a several women bring their teenage daughters to a seemingly respectable establishment. But appearances are deceptive as the mothers are in fact pimping out their daughters to fat and sweaty old men. While the young girls are forced to service the old perverts, their mothers sit in the waiting room and keep careful count of the minutes just like a taximeter – thereby earning them the nickname ‘taxi mothers’. The entire sequence is filmed through barely cracked doors and featuring some action that is caught only as a reflection in a mirror. Consequently the footage really looks like something that was filmed secretly, and the whole thing is very well put together. Interestingly, this is the only sequence in which Emanuelle’s narration turns serious and critical, with her describing the taxi mothers’ cynical operation as “disgusting” and “monstrous”. Reflecting Emanuelle’s attitude is the soundtrack – playing the melancholy songs “For You My Friend” and “Photograph” – both performed by The Pennies, of course.

A taxi mother relaxes in the waiting room...

...while her unfortunate daughter “entertains” an old pervert

After the release of Sexy Night Report, D’Amato and Mattei churned out three more mondo movies in 1978. Laura Gemser returned as Emanuelle to narrate Emanuelle and the Porno Nights, credited to Mattei, while D’Amato gave us Sexy Night Report n. 2, hosted by black sexploitation queen Ajita Wilson, and Crazy Nights, hosted by Euro-disco sensation Amanda Lear. Of these films Sexy Night Report is by far the gentlest as the other three films take it quite a bit further in terms of sleaze and nastiness. This first entry in the series is more lightweight but that’s not to say that it isn’t entertaining because it really is. Clearly, the film aims more for fun than for shocks, and as long as you don’t mind that, you should be able to enjoy the film.

Using Laura Gemser in her signature role as Emanuelle to narrate the film was a smart choice, and Gemser’s charming presence is a strong asset for the film. There’s no good reason whatsoever for the many scenes of her undressing and changing clothes but it is amusing, and the final scene in which she accidentally exposes one breast and says “Oooops!” – even though she has willingly stripped a dozen times already – perfectly summates the film’s general attitude and the spirit in which it was clearly made.

Laura Gemser keeps changing in and out of clothes for no good reason other than to entice the viewers

Much praise must also go to voice actress Pat Starke, who dubs Gemser’s voice in the English language version. Starke later dubbed Gemser again in Violence in a Women’s Prison (1982), Blade Violent (1983) and Endgame (1983), and her eternally upbeat and girlish voice will be instantly recognizable to most fans of Italian B cinema. Her dubbing of Laura Gemser here is quite good and Starke does a great job of capturing the enticing and free-spirited essence of the Emanuelle character. Of course, she does not only dub Gemser whenever she’s on-screen but also provides a great deal of off-screen narration during the various segments – allowing Starke to deliver a practically never-ending stream of amusing and highly quotable comments that ensure we are never bored.

The great dubbing actress Pat Starke - seen her in a screenshot from Miami Golem (1985), one of her rare on-screen appearances

In sum, I’d say that Sexy Night Report is a pretty enjoyable way to spend an hour and a half. It might feel a bit tame for a Mattei-D’Amato production but it’s likeable, and each of the segments are kept at a suitable length so that they don’t wear out their welcome and become boring. Well worth a watch!

© 2012 Johan Melle