Sunday, December 7, 2008

This week - Umberto Lenzi's DIRTY PICTURES

Irene Papas vs. Pretty Colors

During the golden age of Italian exploitation cinema there were craftsman directors every bit as good as the humble (and not so humble) craftsmen of Hollywood's golden age like William Wellman, Clarence Brown, Woody Van Dyke and the like. They all worked in different genres as the market dictated and all could be counted on to provide films they could sign with pride. It's amazing to realize that at one time in Italy the following versatile guys were making movies: Sergio Sollima, Sergio Martino (and producer brother Luciano), Umberto Lenzi, Enzo Castellari, Mario Bava, Fernando Di Leo - and that's just scratching the surface. It was a time of great ferment. There was a lot of money and a lot of demand for new films.

In Lenzi's PARANOIA (ORGASMO) with Caroll Baker he played the first Altamontish dark chord of the end of the sixties. Italy always had an uneasy relationship with concepts like freedom and permissiveness. In PARANOIA two free young people tip a 35-ish self-destructive beauty over the edge. In DIRTY PICTURES the older woman traps the hippie couple in her web. It's a dark coda to the sixties as the two photogenic youths disappear and capsize into the voluptuous black storm that is Irene Papas. It's an ugly and fascinating film and if you care enough about these movies to read this blog you won't want to miss it.

Joe at Filmforno sure liked it but don't read it if you don't like spoilers.

1 comment:

Joe D said...

Damn I'd love to see this on film! Can you send it to LA after you're done? Maybe we can open an ALamo West or something. a wierd wednesday west .