Forza 'G' [Winged Devils] (1972) July 4, 2020 14:17
Of all the films Barbara Bouchet has appeared in Forza 'G' aka Winged Devils may rank among the most unique. It's a film I have no clue why it exists if not only at the behest of the real Gianni Orlando, a wealthy and full of himself pilot (credited as both writer and consultant) on this oddly produced film centered around him and aeronautic acrobats.
Riccardo Salvino stars as Lieutenant Gianni Orlando a wealthy flying enthusiast, who at a very young age dreamed of being an aeronautic pilot. When he grew up he used his mother's influential connections and a lot of personal drive to squeeze his way onto the Italian aeronautic acrobats program by persistently tailing, or essentially harassing, the head of the program in his airplane until the he agree to let him join so he could finally have some peace.
But that was only the beginning of Gianni's problems. While now a part of the program he was on the second team as the reserve to the reserve pilot, which meant he never got to fly during any of the competitions. When the team loses the cup to the British everyone agrees it's time to come up with some fresh ideas, but no one has any. That is until Gianni comes up with an idea of rolling the planes over each other during a fling with his one of many beautiful women. It's an idea could definitely win back the cup and maybe finally give him the chance to fly in the solo position on the team. That is if it passes scrutiny of the General and of course the two guys ahead of him are otherwise engaged!
Winged Devils is a very obscure film and I was surprised to stumble upon this English version. Suffice to say if you're a fan of aeronautics this is the film for you. It's really more a documentary of aerial shots and acrobatic flight maneuvers set to a mildly amusing yet thinly constructed plot. While the story begins to stretch a little thin somewhere around the halfway mark, it still oddly managed to hold my attention for almost two hours, likely due to the combination of fluffy comedic moments, the amazing score by Ennio Morricone and the number of Italian cult film femme fatales that cameo.
While none of the ladies make an appearance for any longer than a couple minutes max they packed in well known Italian cult film actresses like Magda Konopka, Anita Strindberg, Kitty Swan, and of course the entire reason I sought this film out Barbara Bouchet. Out of all the cameos Bouchet's appearance is by far the longest at around five minutes, and also the only one out of the group whose character has a name. She plays Karin, the fling of the reserve pilot ahead of Gianni who decides to fake sick to give Gianni a chance to fly in competition since it's his idea their using to win back the up. Karin pretends to be a nurse when Gianni shows up unannounced to make sure he's actually "sick".
Unfortunately Barbara Bouchet's scene in the English version is very edited. The Italian version contains numerous butt shots which were removed from the English version. In doing this they also had to try and remove the reactions from Gianni's friend and the doctor to Bouchet's butt being displayed, which is a running gag throughout the scene. To make it even more confusing she speaks English in both cuts, so in comparison her lines in the English version don't make a whole lot of sense as she is expressing she doesn't understand what they are saying to her (because she doesn't understand Italian). In the English version this simply comes off like she's dumb, when really it's a scene that doesn't work when everyone is speaking English.
If you're looking for a palate cleanser Winged Devils definitely fits the bill, it's not only outside the normal repertoire of Barbara Bouchet but it's quite different from any Italian film I've seen and truly deserving of the label of "cult". With that said it's very niche, so if you're not a huge fan of aeronautics it may not be for you. I can't say I'd likely watch it again myself but it was an interesting change of pace and for the subject matter I'm not really sure how they could have done a better job.