Friday, 13 June 2008

Biancaneve & Co. / Snow White and the 7 Wise Men

This 1982 film is an adaptation of the adult fumetti of the same name by Leone Frollo, an erotic, comic version of the Biancaneve – i.e. Snow White – legend, albeit with seven wise men rather than the dwarfs that Anglophone audiences might be familiar with and a foregrounding of the sexual subtexts inherent in the original not-so-innocent tale.

C'era una volta...

After Biancaneve's mother, the Queen, dies giving birth to her the weak willed King (Aldo Sambrell) is tricked into remarrying. A number of years pass and Biancaneve (Michela Miti) blossoms into a beautiful young woman. The wicked Queen / stepmother (Damianne Saint-Clair) resents the threat she perceives Biancaneve represents and hires Jack il silenzatore to murder the girl. Jack, however, is smitten by Biancaneve's and cannot bring himself to kill her. Instead, after taking Biancaneve's virginity he takes a lock of her pubic hair and presents this to the queen as proof that Biancaneve is dead. Unable to return home, Biancaneve wanders the kingdom and has various adventures, invariably putting her in various states of undress...

The wicked stepmother and the king


The mirror in the TV set

Biancaneve strips for her assassin, Jack the Silencer

Biancaneve meets the seven wise men

Miti is a winning heroine, who brings the right mixture of innocence, playfulness and sexiness to the role. It's a shame her emergence coincided with the decline of the Italian popular cinema as one could well imagine her having become a next generation Edwige Fenech otherwise – or, had the film been made ten years later during the heydey of the Decamerotics, the delightful possibility of seeing Fenech herself in the title role.

Everyone else enters into the spirit of things, with Sambrell effortlessly sleazy as ever and a nice cameo from Oreste Lionello as the sorceror the wicked Queen goes to for help on realising that Biancaneve is still alive.

The familiar magic mirror is replaced with a gold-framed television set, but otherwise performs the same mythic function of answering the wicked queen/stepmother's questions and indicating to her that she is no longer the fairest of all as Biancaneve's beauty blooms, with the magic mirror telephoning the director to check. (Lacanians will probably also have a field day here with the Queen's little secret.)

Another amusing anachronism, besides telephones, projectors and porn films, a prince in a tracksuit and welding gear, sees the queen looking for an assassin to take care of Biancaneve in the giallo – i.e. yellow – pages, where there are also entries for the likes of squartatore – i.e. rippers – before settling on Jack the silencer.

Despite the English lyrics on the catchy theme tune (“Snow White she's a beautiful girl / She's a venus with a pony tail / Put your head in her world / She will give you fun / She never fails”), the film itself is in Italian, without subtitles. It matters because, alongside the visual humour and attractions, there appears to be a lot of wordplay, most of it delivered at screwball comedy speed and much with exaggerated voices: one character is called Stronzolo – i.e. little(r) piece of shit, while one of the wise men's attempts at installing himself as a pimp sees his target say she doesn't need any help from murderers, rippers, thieves or politicians.

Hopefully subtitles will surface some day. Until then...

...e vissero felici e contenti


David Zuzelo said...

According to Craig Ledbetter there is an English Language version of this from Finland. Recently watched it myself (in Italian) and thought it was fun.

K H Brown said...

Thankss for the information David. Interesting that there should be an English-language version from Finland of all places, until you think of the various fumetti translated into Finnish and published there - the same ones as I've gotten via your site! :-)

spannick said...

the Italian DVD is cut by 4 mins (sex-related dialogue and "Sex" Scenes, plus has 2 alternate, softer, non-nude Scenes compared to the German edit!)

Wow Gold said...

Good post. i liked this!