Appellate Judge Rob Lineberger urges you to read this review. It'll pad Edwige Fenech's rushing stats, and she might get invited to the Pro Bowl this year.
"Damn, I keep screwing up!"—Olimpio de' Pannocchieschi
Frankly, I was starting to think that NoShame films had grown a conscience. A stint of lackluster political films with minimized nudity and violence—but lots of ruminations on morality—revealed NoShame's dry side. Fortunately, Ubalda, All Naked and Warm brings us back to their glorious roots.
Facts of the Case
Bumbling knight Olimpio de' Pannocchieschi (Pippo Franco, Avanti!) staggers home from a (no doubt unsuccessful) campaign. He cannot wait to bed his statuesque wife Fiamma (Karin Schubert, Black Venus). But she has other plans. She steals his key to her chastity belt so that he cannot have her. She prefers the men she keeps in barrels around the house.
Meanwhile, the neighboring miller is having trouble keeping his comely wife under wraps. Ubalda (Edwige Fenech, The Strange Vice Of Mrs. Wardh, Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I Have The Key) sets men on fire everywhere she goes. When Olimpio de' Pannocchieschi sees her, it sparks a feud that can only end one way: with wife swapping and chastity belt key exchanges!
If you are a straight, English-speaking male, it is very easy to sum up Ubalda, All Naked and Warm: Fast forward to the nudie scenes and save yourself a lot of trouble. Because they are well worth the effort, and the intervening minutes are not. NoShame even admits as much with this disclaimer:
Given the linguistic peculiarity of the dialogue, the English subtitles of this movie have been adapted in order to preserve the irony, the variety of dialects and the ambiguous wordplay of the original version.
In other words, without the benefit of grasping Italian nuances, you have little hope of finding the jokes funny. With the exception of a meekly protesting farm girl trying to "preserve" her honor, none of the witty repartee struck my funny bone. The pratfalls are crude and obvious, with plenty of stunned faces and jerky limb movements.
Most of Ubalda, All Naked and Warm plays out like a lame Italian
version of Monty Python And The
Holy Grail with a ribald streak. True, Ubalda came first, and might
have even influenced The Holy Grail in some small way. But where The
Holy Grail is incisive to my English speaking ears, Ubalda is
toothless. It is a pleasant enough little romp, and I'm sure it brought down the
house in Italy. Just check out these plot keywords:
What is Decamerotic, you ask? A bawdy homage to The Decameron, of course. (Yeah, I don't get it either.)
The first thirteen minutes had me crawling the walls like that lady in The Exorcist III. I'd had enough of Olimpio de' Pannocchieschi getting conked on the head. Fortunately, Karin Schubert in the bathtub resuscitated Ubalda at the thirteen minute mark.
Speaking of Ubalda, she shows up a long twenty minutes into the flick, and it is night and day. Edwige has a way of sparkling things up. She's naked this way, then that way, up and down, side to side…all the time with a smile on her face. The capper—and presumably, Ubalda's sole excuse for being released Stateside—is a slow motion dream sequence where Ubalda runs naked through a field of wildflowers. This is not your average naked slow motion run through wildflowers. No, Edwige cuts like LaDainian Tomlinson so that you can see them from every angle. They flop this way, then that way, up and down, side to side—then do little whirly wheels. When the Wildflower Breast Festival is over, watch it again in slo-mo for a really trippy experience. Then pop the disc out 'cause you're done.
NoShame knows what they have here and promote the hell out of her. "Edwige Fenech's Groovy Sexadelic Reel" is actually a remix of the now infamous slow-mo scene, dressed up in cheesy solarization filters. "Edwige Fenech Sexy Comedy Trailer Collection" is—you guessed it, trailers starring the nubile Fenech. The interview segment has little to do with Ubalda. Cut from the same interview they use for all NoShame releases starring Edwige, this segment reveals how she was originally cast in Fellini's Amarcord. Fenech is classy and well-spoken; a joy to listen to.
The video transfer is surprisingly clean given the vintage of the film. There are specs and blobs, but not much print damage. The transfer is quite soft and the colors have leached significantly, with traces of shimmer around the edges. Yet the image is better than you'd expect. The 2.0 mono track leaves much to be desired, though it is faithfully reproduced on DVD with no pops or distortion aside from a faint hiss. Bruno Nicolai does his best to salvage painfully long and boring sequences with florid, jaunty music. Even Bruno could not maintain my interest in the story—and that's saying something, because he has single-handedly made scenes work in bad films like 99 Women.
Maybe I've been a little harsh with Ubalda. After all, she is All Naked and Warm, and that counts for a lot. Some of the sight gags translate well enough, even if I was frustrated by the difficult translation of a ribald, medieval, 1970s farce in Italian. Maybe if one of the keys had actually opened one of the chastity belts it would have been worth it. Even with the lame gags, NoShame has brought us more glorious footage of hot Italian women, and that's all I ask of them.
Ahh, what the hell. We'll let her go with a slap on the wrist.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: NoShame Films
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