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  Undergraduate Girls What's a sexy schoolgirl to do?
Year: 1975
Director: Michele Massimo Tarantini
Stars: Gloria Guida, Giuseppe Pambieri, Gianfranco D’Angelo, Alvaro Vitali, Gisella Sofio, Illona Staller, Enzo Cannavale, Mario Carotenuto, Rodolfo Bigotti, Angela Doria
Genre: Comedy, SexBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Italian sex comedies of the 1970s had no qualms about ogling sexy schoolgirls, as proven by the soft-focus shots introducing our oft-naked heroine, Loredana (Gloria Guida) in bed or soaping herself in the shower. Art student Loredana drives students and teachers to distraction with her saucy antics, but shuns the crude advances of besotted berk Petrucchio (Alvaro Vitali) in favour of a new hunk in class: Gianni Montioni. Dorky Professor Guidi (Gianfranco D’Angelo) gets all hot and bothered watching Loredana and Gianni fondle each other under the school desks, but Loredana is in no hurry to surrender her virginity. This infuriates Gianni, especially given Loredana is perfectly happy flaunting her charms to get men to do whatever she wants.

Former Miss Teenage Italy, Gloria Guida spent most of the Seventies and early Eighties in a state of undress, whether as a nympho nurse, a naughty nun or a happy hooker. More often than not she was Italian cinema’s go-to girl for sexy schoolgirl antics in movies like Blue Jeans (1975), How to Seduce Your Teacher (1979) and this one, La Liceale which was released in the UK as Under-Graduate Girls and in the USA as The Teasers. Which makes it something of a relief that the sultry, voluptuous sex kitten never really looked like a teenager. Before the rise of home video and hardcore pornography sent sex movies back underground, movies like La Liceale titillated viewers with the added gloss of fine photography and glamorous stars. Italian sex comedies were all about worshipping goddesses like Edwige Fenech, Barbara Bouchet and Gloria. While the better examples were sophisticated satires, in most cases plot ran secondary to getting these stars naked. And what plot there was, was often driven by dodgy sexual politics.

Co-writer/director Michele Massimo Tarantini crams his film with lingering, less-than-subtle T&A, but has little patience for his heroine’s uncertainty regarding her maidenhood. The script brands Loredana a whore on the one hand for using her feminine wiles to manipulate men, but equally condemns her for not putting out for sex-starved Gianni. To be fair Loredana does flash or fondle someone every five minutes and stashes her underwear in Professor Guidi’s briefcase in a bid to blackmail him for better grades. This leads to one of the movie’s few genuinely amusing gags, wherein vengeful Gianni and his biker gang ambush the geeky teacher, only for him to turn out to be a martial arts expert. The next day, he and the embarrassed teenager face off in class amidst mock spaghetti western close-ups and a cod-Ennio Morricone score. For the most part, though the film is better made than many of its type and proved popular enough to spawn sequels, its very broad humour performed by an array of rubber-faced Italian comedians pretending to be teenagers, remains something of an acquired taste.

Eventually, Loredana takes a liking to Marco Salvi (Giuseppe Pambieri), a middle-aged work colleague of her father’s. Unlike her juvenile classmates, Marco does not pressure her into sex. Nevertheless it is he who finally gets Loredana into bed, then promptly dumps her for his wife back in the country. Rejected by Gianni, Loredana briefly contemplates joining her friend Monica (Illona Staller, later a hardcore star) as a schoolgirl prostitute, but an unexpectedly touching chat with her mother’s lover convinces her family is what matters most.

For a brief moment, it looks like Loredana’s plight might bring about a reconciliation between her parents, each of whom are enjoying extramarital affairs. However, our heroine inexplicably, if refreshingly, cuts through the treacle and everyone agrees to go back to behaving the way they were before. Which seems like a strange message to conclude with, until you realise the film was never really interested in conveying a message. It’s entirely about ogling Gloria Guida in a very short skirt. Gloria eventually proved she could act (very well) in cult director Fernando Di Leo’s gruelling To Be Twenty (1978), then went mainstream, more or less, with thrillers like The Bermuda Triangle (1978) opposite John Huston and the Agatha Christie-like giallo, The Perfect Crime (1979) with Joseph Cotten. She’s still active today, having morphed into a capable character actress.

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Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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