(aka. COPENHAGEN NIGHTS, A MAN FOR SALE, THE EXHIBITIONISTS, LOOK AT ME)
REVIEW BY-Devin Kelly
CAST: Mircha Carven, Lilli Carati, María Baxa, Marco Guglielmi, Ajita Wilson, Fernando Cerulli, Lionello Pio Di Savoia, Filippo Perego, Carlos Alberto Valles
DIRECTOR: Claudio De Molinis
PRODUCER: Dino Di Salvo
Polo Film s.r.l
RUNNING TIME: 90 min. 51 seconds
DVD SOURCE: Alan Young Pictures (region 2 PAL)
“What could you tell her, that after modeling for you I also humped you? Or about her dear old Dad paying me to fuck you?”
Claudio De Molinis’ CANDIDO EROTICO (1977) runs along the same lines as the European exploitation films doing the rounds at the time in terms of the almighty sex and sleaze factor. Something about this tamer than expected Italian sweaty sheet melodrama however, keeps the thick fog of a diverting stylistic edge shrouding its smutty undercoat. Don’t be fooled though! For those who like their bowls of Italo-sexploiter stew more half filled than half empty, well, you’ll certainly at least feel at home.
We open up with a perfect sequence, immediately demonstrating director De Molinis’ artistically favourable approach to the shots. Following the opening credit travels of our lead protagonist, Carlo (Mircha Carven), we are taken into the studio of nude photographer, Veronique (María Baxa), busy at work and clicking away. Two women pose on the floor for her in almost a celebratory fashion, undisturbed by the lack of clothing covering them. During this moment we first see mysterious cult curiosity, the dark and lanky Ajita Wilson (THE NUDE PRINCESS ’76, SADOMANIA ’80) in one of her earliest roles, caressing an unrecognized blonde beauty. This entire moment sets the stage for much of the performance art trappings that tie the film together. As the sultry Veronique wraps up her shoot, in waltzes her old friend Carlo, who has apparently returned to town looking for work and came back the same prick he left as. It’s not a job with the enticing photographer he wants this time though. Carlo’s got himself lined up with something a little more risqué than that, something he enjoys very much. Our man with the hairy chest only Freddie Mercury could love is now the star performer of his very own sex act! Look out Copenhagen…
From here of course, Carlo just has to take it upon himself to prove to everyone how well he can jiggle his jingle-bells before slammin’ it home for a stage whore homerun, so he invites Veronique and her rich husband, strangely stiff wealthy pervert Paul (Marco Guglielmi), to check out the gig. Guess it rubbed off on them because now the well-off couple want to get off on him! Hey, why not get paid to slam a man’s wife? Well, a good reason not to is if the old bugger wants to crawl in between the two of you halfway through! What did we expect here though, really? None of this matters anyway because our swinging swine of a dancer already has his eyes set on a much sweeter prize, Veronique’s scorching step-daughter, Charlotte (Lilli Carati). It’s inevitable that the two hook up, which is precisely what happens pretty much upon Carlo’s initial meeting with the silky brunette. This all of course is much to the dismay of Veronique, who grows jealous of her hubby’s little kitten, as well as Charlotte’s daddy, who just wants the opportunity to one day feel an erection again. The Don Juan of the naked Copenhagen night spot performing arts has Charlotte wrapped around his…well…anyway…That is however until one evening when he makes the foolish decision that perhaps she’s ready for that next big step in the relationship. You know, the one where he feels they’re at that comfort level where he can fuck another woman on stage in front of strangers while dressed as a gay mime. Gosh, could marriage be far around the corner?(!)
This whole film has some really fucked up logic. Wait though, it’s a special bonus to find any logic in an Italian sexploitation nugget at all, so let’s just view it for what it’s worth and for the whole reason we know you picked it up in the first place. You either love European cult relics or you’re just a horn dog. Either way, you win! If you’re a part of either crew, Lilli Carati is a treat alone for the undemanding Euro-sex starlet enthusiast. The delectably cute, pouty lipped Italian honey who first gained attention as Miss Italy of 1975, debuted in front of the camera for Sergio Corbucci in the comedy, DI CHE SEGNO SEI? (1975), warmed the cockles of our hearts as the nasty naughty lead in flicks to follow, like ESCAPE FROM WOMEN’S PRISON (1978) and THE ALCOVE (1984), before turning to porno, becoming addicted to heroin and eventually joining a commune. Ah, lovely, lustful Lilli, how we miss you. She’s actually pretty decent in CANDIDO EROTICO and compared to her other, later efforts, is shockingly restrained. Even the long time coming first shack-up in the sack between Carati and lead male, Mircha Carven (SS EXPERIMENT CAMP ’76, AMERICAN FEVER ’78) is about as exhilarating as watching tortoises hump. It doesn’t help that Carven can only get it up in the story when he’s banging in the public eye. Carati would also do another film with Claudio De Molinis later on, thus making her the lead in two of his only four directorial attempts. The second of these is a haunted house comedy called HAY UN FANTASMA EN MI CAMA (1980).
I honestly don’t know a whole hell of a lot about Mircha Carven, a seemingly capable actor though (which I could gather even through the English dub) who also sings the main theme for CANDIDO EROTICO, the ridiculous ‘Devious Man’. He’s definitely got some hilariously God-awful dialogue flying out left and right in this thing. I particularly loved the ranting explanation he bellows to Carati in the street for his lewd profession. “It’s the only thing I know how to do. I’ve never even tried anything else, and I’m good at it! I must be good, I know from the way they applaud. I’m like a star! A star…” he shouts. Carven, prior to CANDIDO EROTICO, had sparsely popped up in films ranging from the UK, to Spain and Italy. He took on a rather unpleasant part the year before De Molinis’ film, appearing in a larger role than usual for Sergio Garrone’s SS EXPERIMENT CAMP (1976) (LAGER SSADIS KASTRAT KOMMANDANTUR). One of the only other, more than bit size parts to come Carven’s way it would seem aside from SS EXPERIMENT CAMP and CANDIDO EROTICO was once again for director Claudio De Molinis in his 1978 ‘Saturday Night Fever’ spin-off, AMERICAN FEVER (LA FEBBRE AMERICANA). Also starring the always adored Zora Kerova (ANTROPOPHAGUS ’80, CANNIBAL FEROX ’81), although I have yet to see AMERICAN FEVER, I can say I am the proud owner of an original Italian locandina for the film, in all it’s perfectly hokey glory! CANDIDO EROTICO, as mentioned previously, should also be noted as one of the starting points for the fascinating Ajita Wilson, who after this would soon be in increasingly high demand. Let's not forget the ravishing Yugoslavian actress, María Baxa either, who's really only other turn at the very top spot of the billing came again in 1978 for UFO-obsessed Mario Gariazzo in VERY CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE 4TH KIND (INCONTRI MOLTO RAVVICINATI DEL QUARTO TIPO) in which she plays an astronomy teacher who longs to sleep with an alien(!). I'll definitely be keeping eyes peeled though for anything that Ms. Baxa even remotely graced.
Born Claudio Giorgutti, writer/director De Molinis is certainly one of those many figures in European cinema we can only wonder about. Here for a short time plying their craft, and then poof, small filmographies left as a curio for the cinematically adventurous. Films like CANDIDO EROTICO and the artistic qualities that believe it or not I found sometimes showed under it’s surface have me wondering about how interesting, or at least entertaining, other Claudio De Molinis films could be.
The Alan Young Pictures region 2 PAL disc is likely the best version of this currently out there, with anamorphic letterboxed Italian 5.1 and mono version options (no English subtitles unfortunately) and the widescreen English mono dub included on the menu also. Aside from that, there’s a quality length original Italian trailer, but sadly, whether it was just my disc or not, this was minus any audio. The presentation when watching the film is what truly counts though, and this one scores with sharp picture and rich colour.
“It’s our public who wants it that way. Sex and violence,
the drama of the century.”-Mircha Carven (Carlo)
STORY: 2 .5/5 BITCH SLAPS
PICTURE: 4 .5/5 BITCH SLAPS
AUDIO: 5/5 BITCH SLAPS
EXTRAS: 2/5 BITCH SLAPS
OVERALL FILM: 3/5 BITCH SLAPS
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