Summer Night

The full title of this Lina Wertmuller effort is Summer Night With Greek Profile, Almond Eyes & Scent of Basil. It’s more or less Swept Away II, with Michele Placido’s Sicilian kidnapper replacing Giancarlo Giannini’s deckhand, and Mariangela Melato playing an even richer member of the ruling class, who has the kidnapper kidnapped and brought to her lushly appointed island to launch some retribution and, eventually, some sexual games. Wertmuller remains as cheerfully cynical and vulgar as ever about class warfare, but to call her a thinking director, as some American critics were wont to do in the 70s, would be like applauding Sylvester Stallone for his semiological insights. Try to imagine an Ayn Rand epic recast as bawdy farce and you might get a rough idea of the sensibility on view; the lack of self-consciousness, which lends a certain thrust to the opening reels, eventually leads to tedium as the central conceit gets spun out endlessly. With Roberto Herlitzka and Massimo Wertmuller. (JR)

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