Today's double feature consists of two Italian sex comedies: There is a Ghost in My Bed (1981) AKA C'e Un Fantasma Nel Mio Letto and Secret Fantasy (1971) AKA Il Merlo Maschio.
There is a Ghost in My Bed (1981) AKA C'e Un Fantasma Nel Mio Letto
Billionaire Adelaide (Lilli Carati).and Camillo (Vincenzo Crocitti) are newlyweds. On the way to their honeymoon, Camillo gets frisky in the car and causes a wreck - fortunately, they spy a Gothic looking inn nearby. Comedy awaits.
Camillo may be the goofiest human being who has ever lived (and, yes, I'm taking into account Don Knots, Jerry Lewis and Jim Nabors); and his wife is among the hottest. The innkeep, like the audience, is in disbelief that these two could be a couple.
There's no room at the inn, so they're put up in a castle next door which happens to be haunted by this guy - Archibald Trenton (Renzo Montagnani). It's also haunted by Angus (Guerrino Crivello), Archibald's ghost servant - a dimwitted masturbating dwarf (yes you read that right).
The hilarity begins when Adelaide takes a bath and gets manhandled by the unseen Archibald. The lights are out, so she blames poor Camillo when he enters the bathroom. (It should be noted that Angus the ghost is busy masturbating despite Archibald'd protestations to stop; thankfully, it's invisible to the audience.)
Let's get a good look at Camillo. I can't help it - I love over-the-top buffoons (hence my namesake - Gilligan). Comedy can be jaded, witty and cynical - but it can also be mindless fun as well.
Back at the inn, Archibald and Angus are playing pranks on the guests. Their goal - to create a commotion so they can steal away with the food.
At one point, Archibald disrobes the barmaid (Mariana in the film, but not listed on IMDb); at which point the crowd goes wild and she's carried off.
This is the sort of thing you have to reconcile when you go into a European sex comedy - things are going to get real raunchy, real quick. Not the porno kind of raunchy, but the un-PC "Is this appropriate that I'm laughing at this?" kind of raunchy.
Don't worry that Josephine is hauled off naked by a pack of lustful patrons; it's all in good fun.... right?
The only living person in this castle is the Baroness, played by super hot Vanessa Hidalgo (note that IMDb has her listed under the wrong role). She tells her guests the legend of Baron Archibald, a charming story of how he died after having relations seven times in one evening with a prostitute.
Camillo has waited through five years of engagement for this moment. Sadly, he falls asleep (Archibald slipped something in his drink at dinner). The ghost quickly removes him and ravishes his new bride.
She's, of course, is driven to ecstasy by the perverted poltergeist, thinking it's Camillo. )She must have the worst night vision ever.) Also, this whole scene is kind of rapey - like The Entity, but for laughs.
Camillo gets a clue that something's not right at this castle and attempts to flee. The eternally pervy Archibald wants them to stay; so, he causes Camillo to have an accident. When Camillo goes to the inn for a change of clothes, Archibald drops a bug down the barmaid's dress - to which she naturally disrobes.
And doesn't this create a nice compromising position for when the innkeep, Terrence, comes home?
Night after night, poor Camillo tries to finally consummate the marriage, but Archibald always gets in the way. One night, he gives Camillo uncontrollable farts, another night he drops him in a dungeon. Finally, Adelaide gets a clue and runs to the Baroness screaming the title of this movie.
Adelaide makes a pact with the ghost: She'll give him one more night of wild passion if he'll leave her husband alone.
Archibald is more than happy to comply, but falls asleep before he can make sweet love. What happened?.... This happened....
Remember Angus the masturbaing ghost dwarf? Archibald thinks he's been given an aphrodisiac, but Angus has given him a sleeping potion instead.
So, who got the aphrodisiac?
Camillo got it. When he revives he madly humps both Adelaide and the Baroness... then moves on to the barmaid. (All in Benny Hill super-speed)
This would have been a great ending (although, again, it's kinda rapey); however, they did the whole "it was all a dream" shtick at the end. Yet, it was such a fun ride to get here, I can forgive a lackluster finish.
Secret Fantasy (1971); AKA "Il merlo maschio"
Despite the lurid title, this film is far from being some softcore exploitation film; it's actually a fairly charming and genuinely funny film... if you can get past the adult nature of the central plot. But we're all adults here, right?
Meet Niccolo and Costanza Vivaldi (Lando Buzzanca and Laura Antonelli), a nice young couple, happily married - except for one problem: Niccolo can't get aroused. It's a terrible predicament, but a solution may be on the horizon...
Niccolo accompanies Costanza for a medical checkup and, miracle of miracles, finds that he's getting aroused. It makes for an extremely uncomfortable doctor visit and some comedy gold, but most of all, Niccolo thinks he has the answer - if someone else is seeing his wife naked, that's the ticket!
Thus, the gag is set up for the rest of the movie. Niccolo has got to have his wife naked in view of others to get his rocks off. From an audience member standpoint, I couldn't be happier: this ensures we'll see a lot of Laura Antonelli, but this has some great comedic potential.
At first, Niccolo can't reveal his secret to Costanza - it's more than a little embarrassing. So, he gets her drunk, and when she's passed out, takes pictures of her, pretending she's a girl in a magazine.
This sounds a little twisted, I know, but it's done with comedic flair.
He has her suck her finger like the ladies in his girly magazine; however, she's passed out, so her finger keeps popping out. It's just not the erotic experience he was hoping for.. and then things take a turn for the worse....
The next day, Niccolo arrives home from work presented with his dirty little photographs. She's found them by accident. Oh, snap!
Costanza is a trooper about it. If it means Niccolo will be an animal in bed, what's wrong with some picture taking? Unfortunately, fate dictates that they must try another route...
The next plan: go back to the doctor. It worked so well the first time, why not? The strategy is genius, Costanza will only need a thorn in her toe, but she'll be wearing a full leotard. To get at her foot, she'll have to disrobe completely.
When that proves fruitless, it's on to employing a masseuse. Fail. Next it's having poor Costanza stand in her birthday suit in front of a window on a train.
With each attempt we feel Niccolo's frustration. I'll mention there's a tangential plot involving his job as a cellist which isn't exactly going well either.
When Costanza is rescued unconscious from her bathtub, Niccolo says, "Bravo". This wasn't Niccolo's idea at all - what a gift from his lovely wife! Turns out - she truly was injured and genuinely needed medical attention. Nothing seems to be going Niccolo's way.
It all ends in spectacular fashion which I won't give away. One day, I am sure this will be remade for US audiences and be a huge hit. Perhaps this very post will be the impetus. Stranger things have happened.