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Details
Released: 1982
Director: Ricard Reguant as Richard Vogue
Notes: Spain, Films Dara, original soft version, c. 99 mins. Official DVD release by Suevia (Spanish language, Region 2, anamorphic; released 2007).
Alternate Titles
  • I Vizi della signora Italian hardcore version, c. 102 mins.
Actresses
Notes

Males –

  • Jaime Bascu, as Jimmy Bask, plays Luis (Guido in the Italian version)
  • Jordi Batalla, as Jack Battle, plays Roberto
  • José Castillo Escalona, as Bruno Merli, plays Felipe (Filippo in the Italian version), non-sex
  • Two unidentified actors, play the non-sex roles of stable workers.

The pseudonymous director has been identified as Andrea Bianchi by some sources, although the “Richard Vogue” moniker is associated with Ricard Reguant, who is on record as claiming responsibility for the film’s direction. Whether or not Bianchi was in any way involved in making the film is not clear. Although officially an entirely Spanish production, Sueca bisexual necesita semental may have had some unacknowledged Italian participation, possibly on the distribution side.

The film was reportedly made in four versions, two for exhibition in Spain and Italy, respectively, and a further two for the respective censors of these two countries. The Italian version, I Vizi della signora, differs from its Spanish prototype in many ways. In order to accommodate the additional hardcore footage within a similar running time, much material from the original was cut, resulting in the excision of entire scenes, including the introduction of the characters of Roberto and Angela. Additionally, all dialogue and identifiable shots of a minor character – an aged stable worker – have been eliminated and he is now only briefly visible from behind. There are also several changes to the dialogue, and a couple of different, Italianised character names. Moreover, in the telephone conversation scene between Simona and Mirella, shown from the former’s vantage point, the Italian dubbing adds feedback lines spoken by the unseen Mirella, an element not present in the Spanish equivalent.

Plot Synopsis –

Felipe, an aging intellectual, is now confined to a wheelchair after an accident, and finds solace in secretly watching his young wife Simona with her lover Mirella through a one-way mirror, happy at the spectacle itself, the fact that she is contented, and the feeling that there is love and harmony in his household. Unfortunately, this peaceful situation is disrupted by the arrival of Felipe’s son Luis.

Review –

The rhyming Spanish title of this sentimental sexual fantasy may be translated as “Bisexual Swedish girl seeks stud”, but all Swedishness within the film is confined to the real-life nationality of its Gothenburg-born star. When it came to this kind of thing, Spanish theatre owners loved a raunchy, preferably rhyming title, to the point of changing it if needed, but to all appearances, in the particular case of this late Spanish entry in the genre, producer José María Cunillés Nogués had bothered to look before his film’s leap into the exhibitors’ realm. If the Spanish title suggests a comedy, which it is not, the Italian title of the hardcore version is the more apposite I Vizi della signora (English translation: The Vices of the missus), speaking of which, Italy looks as if it had had some kind of unofficial involvement, possibly on the distribution side, although the film was officially produced entirely by Cunillés’s Barcelona-based outfit Films Dara. Whatever the case, in either version, the film’s cast combines the talents of two hardened ladies of European hardcore, two male Spanish softcore regulars, a minor Spanish actress of the “S” genre, and a pseudonymous Spanish legit actor in the film’s main character role, all under the direction of the Catalan director Ricard Reguant, now a successful director of the stage, but at the time, apparently the ghost of many other personalities.

SPOILERS FOLLOW.

To turn to the film itself, it is largely and ostensibly set in and around an isolated Italian villa surrounded by lush greenery (although a brief urban scene, clearly shot in Barcelona’s city centre, shows us a glimpse of a well-known Spanish department store). The second marriage of Felipe (José Castillo Escalona) to the much younger Simona (Marina Hedman) has been tarnished by an accident, confining the aging intellectual to a wheelchair, which means that his “carpe diem” views of life and its joys are now largely unattainable to him. Not one for self-pity, Felipe sadly observes how much of his wife’s time is spent in loneliness. Things change when he learns of Simona’s passionate relationship with his smouldering secretary Mirella (Nicole Segaud), which he can watch through a one-way mirror with a mixture of enjoyment (“One of the few joys left to me”) and contentment at the happiness of his kith and kin. Later on, Felipe is further overjoyed when he learns of the arrival from the US of Luis (Jaime Bascu), his son from his first, deceased wife. An affair soon develops between Simona and Luis, which Felipe tolerates, half-pretending not to know about it. Mirella, on the other hand, is overcome by jealousy, and soon goes out of her way to spread discord among the inhabitants of the villa, not least the two comic-relief servants, Roberto and Angela. Unable to share with others, Mirella finally leaves, whereupon Felipe is relieved at the absence at the one discordant element in the group. Luis takes over from Mirella as Felipe’s amanuensis and it would seem that the old man has at last found the household balance he wanted, except that this too will be upset by a “deus ex machina” phone call.

SPOILERS END

Not atypically in a film of this kind, and especially at this stage of development, the film provides characters referring to prototypes existing outside the world of the narrative. Roberto and Angela (Jordi Batalla and Francisca Navarro) belong in the long tradition (found in theatre, film and opera) of the secondary comic couple, but the goofy Roberto in particular, with his ancillary participation in the plot, his ability to have good sex with his wife after he has indulged in yet another session of voyeurism, his inability to have sex with the main characters until they have invited him in, seems to act as yet another stand-in for the viewer and one almost feels that with this character the filmmakers felt they could tick off yet another genre requirement. Director surrogates (such as that played by Jess Franco in his own Les Avaleuses) are perhaps less common, but this film provides one in the character of the immobile, quasi-omniscient Felipe, unable to participate but with a better understanding of what is happening than the participants themselves.

Of course, the film is basically a vehicle for its leading ladies, although personally, despite their high standing in the world of European porn, I was only moderately impressed by them. Nicole Segaud, in my opinion, has the better looks and the stronger personality of the two women but she comes across as somewhat one-note and one tires of cutaway shots of her pouting angrily at her surroundings. Either by virtue of the misogyny the genre is frequently prey to (most evident here in the climactic three-way scene, or in the running notion of a lesbian woman being no substitute for a good phallus) or by accident, the three men come across as rather more amiable than their female colleagues and, at the risk of controversy, I’ll state that I would rather have preferred to see the two young Spaniards (especially the likeable, darting-eyed Jordi Batalla) interacting with their usual female company. For the rest, there is a curious background text which, in porno terms, seems to defend the extended as opposed to nuclear family, as well as a sub-theme of Western Europe as a place where self-fulfilment is a far greater possibility than in the technocratic political superpowers of the day. Further, it should be added that, inasmuch as the sex is underpinned by the story of a man who, having failed to bring happiness to himself, also fails in his quest to find it in those around him, it would have made more sense for the film to close on the Felipe character rather than provide us with the abrupt final shot of Marina Hedman’s face. There is also a great deal too much music, some of it not too good, as well as an over-reliance on brusque zooms. Juan Gelpí’s photography is variably processed, sometimes on the verge of over-saturation, but it is fine at its best, particularly in a very well-framed shot of Simona and Luis as they are about to be seen together by Felipe.

As for the relative merits of the two versions, this is a matter of taste, according to whether one prefers hardcore or softcore. I am more inclined towards softcore although the hardcore format perhaps yields more telling results with the general fondness shown for parallel cutting. An oneiric scene featuring bestial sex with a horse is comparatively more graphic in the hard version than in the one from Spain, but in either edition, less audacious than one would have imagined, with prosthetics well in evidence. Both versions, but especially the Spanish one (dubbed in the Barcelona studio Sonoblok), cling to the porn convention of non-diegetic moaning during the sex scenes, as if it were a background score rather than noises emanating from the characters.

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