La nipote (1974)

La nipote. Nello Rossati. Forget Fellini: this is Italian cinema at its finest. B-movie cinematography, bad sound design, gratuitous helpings of buoyant female flesh, cheesy character acting, all shot on location in an Italian country estate in lurid color on cheap film stock. The story hinges around a horny old goat of an uncle and a ripe teenage niece who manages to kill him, literally and deliberately, with her sexuality. But Italians know their theater and what sounds like soft-core is really a can’t-tear-your-eyes-away update of 1890s bedroom farce. Smartly written and well cut, the plot and editing keep you involved. Thoughtfully constructed scenes, like the bombshell housemaid hanging white sheets in bright sunshine while wearing a clinging summer dress and singing “Volare,” reach the sublime.

Suddenly I understand Dean Martin’s entire ethos.


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