Il prete sposato [The Married Priest] (1970) September 4, 2017 08:00
Released a month after The Conjugal Debt, The Married Priest (Il prete sposato) briefly re-unites Italian comedian Lando Buzzanca and German born sex symbol Barbara Bouchet for a "comedy" that misses the mark in every way, becoming an unholy mess.
Buzzanca plays a handsome young priest, Don Salvatore, whose transferred to Rome and quickly finds himself bombarded by beautiful women. He can't seemingly go anywhere or even perform his duties without the temptation of a beautiful woman. It's not long before he finds himself falling in love with a prostitute named Silvia (Rossana Podestà). This causes him to begin to fantasize about the idea of marrying her, but at the same time wanting to remain a priest. Will his superiors allow him or will he accept the position he has chosen and learn to control his desires?
The Married Priest advertises itself as a comedy, but in comparison to your typical 1970's Italian comedy it strays far from it. There are a couple of scenes where humor is clearly entwined into the plot, but for the most part the film is made up of bland dialogue, and uninteresting characters. The greatest fault is the one dimensional plot of Salvatore running into breathtaking women wherever he goes, who are either hitting on him or just blatantly attractive to him. His reactions are amusing a couple of times (like his encounter with Barbara Bouchet, or the Karin Schubert cameo) but quickly it becomes a tiresome merry-go-round. For an actor like Buzzanca, who is typically typecast in more corny physical comedy rolls, The Married Priest seems like a vain attempt at a more dramatic comedy role, and in the end leaves you feeling like you've wasted your time.
Even more unfortunate is Barbara Bouchet's limited three minute appearance. But once again even with only a few minutes of screen time she steals the best scenes in the film, playing a bikini clad babe Signora Marchio who Salvatore finds swimming topless in a club pool, and later on has a bizarre day dream about.
Overall, The Married Priest is a lost cause. If it is remembered by anyone, for any reason, it's the combined three minutes Barbara Bouchet graces the screen. The rest of the film is gristle, lacking laughs, extremely bland characters, and a plot that goes stale fast. Even if Barbara Bouchet had been cast as the lead female character (Silvia), which would have been a vast improvement for that character, it would have only made sitting through this film bearable. But as it stands, all it succeeds in doing is making The Golden Ass not look so bad after all.