Judge P.S. Colbert can read between the subtitles.
Bambole! serves up a four spicy cinematic stories adapted from Boccaccio's "The Decameron."
The Telephone Call—It's a hot Sunday afternoon, and Luisa (Virna Lisi, The Statue) wants only to lounge about in her pajamas while reading a good book. Meanwhile, her husband Giorgio's (Nino Manfredi, Made In Italy) blood is boiling, because Luisa lounging in her black negligee is just a few degrees cooler than Elizabeth Berkley's pole dancing in Showgirls. Directed by Dino Risi (Scent Of A Woman).
A Treatise On Eugenics—Berlin bombshell Elke Sommer (A Shot In The Dark), plays feminist prototype Ulla, visiting the land of Vino and Vespucci on a peculiar mission. "I don't want romance. I don't want marriage, that's all sentimental," she explains to taxi driver Valerio (Piero Focaccia). "I want a baby to take back home. I have a job and my freedom, and I don't want a husband to tie me down." Though Valerio would be more than happy to help Ulla out, she'll settle for nothing less than the perfect Italian male. Directed by Luigi Comencini (Crime of Love).
Monsignor Cupid—A hotel manager's sexually frustrated wife (Gina Lollobrigida, Fanfan La Tulipe) seeks to satisfy her needs from among participants in the latest Ecumenical Council to converge on Rome. Directed by Mauro Bolognini (The Oldest Profession).
"Who but a collection of Italian directors could make a film that critiques sexual double-standards and the social disparity between men and women, yet manages to be damned sexy at the same time? No one, that's who."—Judge Dan Mancini, Boccaccio '70 review.
My esteemed colleague's question and answer perfectly applies to Bambole!, that rarest of things that film critics hope (usually against hope) for—the undiscovered gem. Sassy, sexy and laugh out loud funny, this collection features four of the international cinema's most beautiful female stars at the top of their game, and allows each director to show his unique ability to its best advantage, which is quite the opposite of what I've come to expect from such episodic, multi-directoral "extravaganzas" in the past.
What's more, the spanking visual and audio presentation of this Made-on-Demand release more than lives up to its title as one of Sony Pictures' "Choice Collection." There's no extra meat on this bare-bones offering, but it's reasonably priced and highly recommended for fans of sophisticated entertainment.
Honestly, I only chose Bambole! in an effort to help clean out Verdict's backlog, and couldn't have been more surprised when this good deed went unpunished. An English-dubbed, black and white anthology film issued in the DVR format…who would have guessed? Get it while you can.
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