Color, 1992, 96m.
Directed by Tinto Brass
Starring Claudia Koll, Paolo Lanza, Franco Branciaroli, Ornella Marcucci
Arrow (Blu-Ray & DVD) (UK RB/R2 HD/PAL), Cult Epics (US R0 NTSC), Umbrella (Australia R0 PAL) / WS (1.78:1) (16:9)

All Ladies Do It

Deriving its humorous Italian title, Cosi Fan Tutte, All Ladies Do Itfrom Mozart's famous comic opera, Cosi Fan Tutti, this early '90s romp is one of director Tinto Brass's lightest, fluffiest films. Most likely influenced by the growing European popularity of Pedro Almodóvar, Brass spends just as much time leering on women's posteriors but also devotes more attention than usual to the intricacies of visual decor and some delicious background details. This time our rump-heavy heroine is Diana (Koll), a happily married woman who nevertheless spends her time romping with a number of men. Fortunately her husband, Paul (Lanza), doesn't mind her little escapades; in fact, he rather enjoys hearing about them. Things get out of control, however, when Diana has a fling with an ass-obsessed poet named Alphonse and takes off to a wild jet set, omnisexual outdoor bash, where she dabbles in party drugs and literally anything goes.

With this film Brass teams up for the first time with the gifted Venetian composer, Pino Donaggio, best known for his Brian De Palma scores like Dressed to Kill and Carrie. The music here adds a considerable flourish to the proceedings, working in pop motifs and nods to Mozart with equal aplomb. Significantly, this was one of the earlier Brass films (alongside Paprika) from his softcore era without any significant stars; he had managed to land some pretty notable names for his prior films like Stefania Sandrelli, Serena Grandi, Andrea Occhipinti, Luc Merenda, Giancarlo Giannini, and Frank Finlay, but here the focus is more on unknown faces. That turned out to be the approach for most of his subsequent films (apart from the marvelous Senso 45), and Claudia Koll is definitely one of his strongest discoveries of the period. She's a sunny, engaging presence, often engaged in wildly uninhibited scenes without a shred of guilt. She also makes for one heck of a fashion model, with the big party scene allowing her to strut her stuff in All Ladies Do Ita set piece most actresses would kill for. Not surprisingly, she went on to have a fairly healthy acting career including the lead role on the Italian TV series Valeria medico legale.

The first English-friendly DVD releases of All Ladies Do It - identical transfers in the US and UK - were almost completely open matte, with hard matted 1.66:1 opening credits and virtually full frame for the rest of the running time. The previous Dutch DVD release (from Dutch Filmworks) was dubbed, as are the UK and US variants, but had optional English subtitles as well. All Ladies Do ItThe subsequent Italian DVD revealed that Brass originally shot the film in a much harder version than what the export market saw, filled with his trademark prosthetic phalluses bobbing around in numerous scenes and one fleeting shot during the nighttime party that looks an awful lot like the real thing. His original cut, running five minutes longer than the 87-minute English version, finally made it to US DVD in a revised edition from Cult Epics, featuring the superior Italian audio with optional English subtitles. The extended US disc was also available in a boxed set with remastered versions of Miranda and The Key, also featuring 10 minutes of outtake footage showing the cast clowning around during shooting.

The 2013 UK dual-format release from Arrow marks the film's first British appearance in its more explicit Italian release form, with both the English and Italian PCM soundtracks included with optional, newly translated English subtitles. As for the transfer, well... get ready to see blue, blue, and even more blue. Not since Twilight Time's volatile change in the color timing of 1990's Night of the Living Dead has a film's formerly warm color palette gone so chilly, and it's bizarre to see its once vibrant reds disappear almost completely. The 1.78:1 framing falls somewhere between the two Cult Epics releases, with a tad more on the sides but shaving more off the top. That proves very disruptive in a few wide shots when the top halves of actors' heads are cropped off, and overall it looks like a compromise between the two falling somewhere around 1.66:1 would have been preferable. That said, the film elements are cleaner and the audio is drastically improved, so there you have it. It's definitely weaker looking than Arrow's simultaneous Blu-Ray of The Key (which is also the better film), and it's probably safe to say that this was a matter of making do with what the Italian licensor provided. The cheeky cover art is reversible with the original poster art on the other side, while the liner notes booklet contains an essay by David Flint. The sole video extra is the inventive theatrical trailer, which features Brass and Koll cozying up and pitching the film to the audience with lots of gusto.

Updated review on May 20, 2013.