Casanova '70 (1965) - Marisa Mell Saves The Day September 15, 2018 12:30
Comedy is one of the more difficult genres to grasp internationally as every country has their own style of humor. British comedy is usually pretty dry and heavily laced with sarcasm, Spanish comedy seems to find adults dressing up a children highly amusing, and Italians seem to be heavily involved in comedies centered around sexual escapades; at least such was the case in the 60's and 70's. Casanova '70 is easily one of the tamer Italian comedies of this era and undoubtedly one of the better written ones as well.
The film centers around army officer Andrea Rossi-Colombotti, played by well known Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni. Andrea could be easily cataloged as a ladies man, always looking for the next beautiful woman to spend a night with, yet he has one distinctive problem... he's unable to perform in non life threatening situations! For Andrea danger is his Viagra, the rush of potentially being caught by a woman's boyfriend or husband and being beaten to death is what gets his juices flowing. This leads him to put himself in rather precarious situations, such as breaking into one of his girlfriend's homes at night and almost getting shot when she assumes he's a burglar, making out with a circus girl in a lion cage, or pursuing a woman with a murderous husband. As the film progresses Andrea continues to place himself in even deadlier situations in an attempt to curb his lust for women and danger until it almost leads to his death.
My exposure to Italian comedy likely isn't as deep enough as it should be to thoroughly appreciate Casanova '70, if there's a whole lot to be found in it at all. The film is mildly amusing yet for me the increasingly "dangerous" exploits of Andrea are repetitious and quickly become more of a bore more than thrill as each encounter is only a little more outlandish than the previous. Eventually I began to question the point of the film and where it was all going. Thankfully midway through Marisa Mell shows up and saves the film.
Marisa Mell plays Thelma, the mentally tortured wife of a wealthy Count. Andrea is instantly smitten by her (who wouldn't be) and when he discovers she's recently come from the funeral of her now ex-lover, whom her husband recently killed, he's even more enthralled with her. She warns him of her husband's jealousy, yet this only precludes him to want her even more, and she finds his lack of caution quite enticing as well. Later on in the film the two are reunited and Andrea learns her husband is deaf, which only adds to the Andrea's suspense of the affair.
These scenes with Marisa are easily the highlights of the film, not to mention the most amusing, and finally bring a much needed conclusion. Out of all Andrea's escapades it's the most in-depth and suspenseful, an aspect which most of the other encounters sorely lacked and which quickly caused them to seem more repetitious. Aside from Marisa Casanova '70 boasts appearances from other well known leading ladies, Virna Lisi, Michele Mercier, and Margaret Lee; and a nice collection of scenic locals and catchy music, something you can usually always count on an Italian film of this era to contain.
Overall Casanova '70 is an average comedy that could possibly be more enjoyable a second time around once you've fully grasped where the film is going. Fans of Italian comedies should find some enjoyment here, and as a Marisa Mell fan it's an easy recommendation as her part is fairly large in the second of half the film and she makes it worth sitting through. Supposedly out of all her roles Casanova '70 was among of her favorites, having some knowledge of Marisa Mell's personal life it's not hard to see how she probably found this film to be quite enjoyable as the character likely mirrored a lot of characteristics of her own personalty, which is probably why her performance compared to everyone else is so great.