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  Ubalda, All Naked and Warm medieval slap and tickle
Year: 1972
Director: Mariano Laurenti
Stars: Edwige Fenech, Karin Schubert, Pippo Franco, Umberto D’Orsi, Pino Ferrara
Genre: Comedy, Sex, HistoricalBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: How’s that for a come-hither title? For Euro-horror fans, Edwige Fenech will always be queen of the giallo, but she was also queen of the Italian sex comedy. This saucy, medieval romp is but one of many that followed in the wake of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s The Decameron (1971) and Canterbury Tales (1972). Whereas Pasolini taps the bawdy satire of Boccaccio and Chaucer in a way that tickles both the raincoat brigade and art-house crowds, movies like Ubalda, All Naked and Warm are closer in tone to a Frankie Howard vehicle, with the raunchiness cranked up to eleven.

Olimpio (Pippo Franco), a bumbling knight home from the crusades, is eager to resume carnal relations with his lovely wife, Fiamma (Karin Schubert), whose virtue has been protected by padlocked, cast-iron panties. Little does he know, his wife stole the key long ago and has lovers hidden about the house, in cupboards, barrels and under the bed. Not over-eager to share herself with the oaf who left her shackled alone and went off chasing fortune and glory, Fiamma concocts a phoney religious vow and makes him wait. But feckless Olimpio is already enamoured with the village bombshell, Ubalda (Edwige Fenech), whose beauty drives every man nearby into a sexual frenzy, much to the annoyance of her brutish husband, Oderisi the Miller (Umberto D’Orsi). Away from his prying eyes, Ubalda unlocks her iron chastity belt for several young studs, a lusty monk (Pino Ferrara), and an elderly apothecary (?!). Olimpio figures he’s in with a shot and concocts an array of hapless schemes to bed her.

Ubalda, All Naked and Warm’s sole raison d’etre is to get doe-eyed, voluptuous Edwige naked as many times as the plot will allow. That’s a whole lot of naked, with set-pieces ranging from nude modelling, numerous love scenes, threesomes, bathing, and a lengthy dream sequence with Ubalda running naked through the fields in boob-bouncing slow-mo. Wow. Thankfully, Fenech didn’t become a star through gorgeous looks alone. Producer/co-screenwriter Luciano Martino (brother of Fenech’s regular director Sergio Martino and her lover at the time) tailors the film to showcase her winning combination of innocence, charisma and fine sense of comic timing. He doubles our pleasure by including blonde sexpot, Karin Schubert - who sadly descended into hardcore misery in the 1980s.

Things are a lot duller when these two aren’t onscreen. Olimpio and Oderisi, forever slapping each other around in sub-Laurel and Hardy fashion, prove especially tedious, although Pippo Franco (who scored a supporting role in Billy Wilder’s Avanti! (1972)) is funnier when camping it up as a fey artist (“Fab-u-lous!”). The male characters are all neurotic twerps who treat women like cattle (“Wives and oxen belong at home”, grunts Oderisi), and are either sexually dysfunctional (Oderisi refuses to make love to Ubalda, but quite fancies Olimpio’s wife), or hypocritical (Olimpio is introduced trying to ravish a virgin, but rails at Ubalda for being a “wanton hussy”), which puts our sympathies with the heroines despite their gross infidelity. The oddly macabre ending gives the misogynist males more or less what they deserve.

No Shame’s region 1 DVD includes trailers, “Edwige Fenech’s Groovy Sexadelic Reel” (basically, all her nude scenes from the movie scrunched into three minutes with fancy optical effects and sitar music. Surprisingly compelling.), plus a warm interview with the beloved cult film star herself, who still looks amazing. If you’re after a quality film starring Edwige Fenech try All the Colours of the Dark (1972). If you want a shameless excuse to drool, try this.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


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