MIRANDA
Color, 1985, 94 mins. / Directed by Tinto Brass / Starring Serena Grandi, Andrea Occhipinti, Franco Interlanghi, Andy J. Forrest / Cult Epics (US R0 NTSC) / WS (1.78:1) (16:9), Arrow (UK PAL R0)


ALL LADIES DO IT
Color, 1992, 92 mins. / Directed by Tinto Brass / Starring Claudia Koll, Paolo Lanza, Ornella Marcucci, Isabella Deiana / Cult Epics (US R0 NTSC) / WS (1.66:1) (16:9), Arrow (UK R2 PAL) / WS (1.66:1)


THE VOYEUR
Color, 1993, 96 mins. / Directed by Tinto Brass / Starring Katarina Vasilassa, Francesco Casale, Cristina Garavaglia, Raffaella Offidani / Cult Epics (US R1 NTSC) / WS (1.78:1) (16:9), Nouveau (UK R2 PAL) / WS (1.66:1)


P.O. BOX TINTO BRASS
Color, 1997, 88 mins. / Directed by Tinto Brass / Starring Cinzia Roccaforte, Cristina Rinaldi, Erika Saffo Savastani, Gaia Zucchi, Tinto Brass / Music by Riz Ortolani / Produced by Giovanni Bertolucci / Cinematography by Dante Dalla Torre / Dutch Filmworks (Holland R2 PAL) / DD2.0


FRIVOLOUS LOLA
Color, 1998, 105 mins. / Directed by Tinto Brass / Starring Anna Ammirati, Patrick Mower, Mario Parodi, Susanna Martinkova / Indies (Holland R2 PAL), Arrow (UK R2 PAL) / WS (1.85:1) / DD2.0


CHEEKY (TRASGREDIRE)
Color, 2000, 92m. / Directed by Tinto Brass / Starring Yuliya Mayarchuk, Jarno Beradi, Francesca Nunzi, Max Parodi, Mauro Lorenz, Antonio Salines / Cult Epics (US R1 NTSC), Univideo (Italy R2 PAL), DD5.1, Arrow (UK R2 PAL) / WS (1.66:1) (16:9) / DD5.1


Following the scandalous release of Caligula, Italian erotica auteur Tinto Brass has been completely ignored in the United States, presumably due to his increasingly personal cinematic odes to the female derriere. Hard to believe, but Brass was at one time held in relatively high esteem as a pioneering director thanks to such stylish fare as Nerosubianco and L'Urlo. However, all that began to change in 1975 with the release of the opulent and shocking Salon Kitty, an explicit riff on Luchino Visconti's The Damned starring Helmut Berger as a Nazi entangled in all manner of sexual depravity. His notorious Caligula assignment led to a string of saucy European romps continuing to this day, in which the director himself often makes at least a lecherous cameo appearance as he turns his camera to a seemingly endless parade of European beauties.

Miranda, Brass' 1985 follow-up to his comeback film The Key, pushed his boundaries just up to the verge of hardcore without losing any of the director's trademark compositions. Top-heavy Serena Grandi (The Grim Reaper, Lambero Bava's Delirium) stars in the title role as a lusty tavern owner carrying on an affair with the local village stud (Andrea Occhipinti of New York Ripper / A Blade in the Dark fame), all the while scouting around for a suitable lifetime mate. Among her conquests are a middle aged politician, Norman (Andy J. Forrest), and a visiting American soldier with peculiar outdoor bathroom habits. Meanwhile she uses her wiles to torment her sexually frustrated waiter/bartender, Carlo (Franco Branciaroli), and must eventually decide with whom she will spend the rest of her life. One of Brass' wittiest films, Miranda benefits from a sharp, pun-laden script lifted from a farcical Carlo Collodi play. Meanwhile, Grandi lets loose with a completely uninhibited performance, her look changing from one sequence to the next in an amazing succession of glamorous, sexy set pieces. The cropped, full frame British DVD from Arrow is plagued by distracting compression artifacts and pale contrast; however, the film is completely intact (including some shots that must have flickered by when the BBFC wasn't looking) and includes both the trailer and the aforementioned Brass interview. However, the same extras can be found on the U.S. disc in not one but two 16:9 transfers, which restore important peripheral information and generally look much crisper. All contain the English dubbed version. Both 16:9 versions bear the same catalog number from Cult Epics, but the second one contained in the Tinto Brass Collection box set is a significant improvement with far fewer compression issues and better black levels.

One of Tinto's most popular titles, The Voyeur (L'uomo che guarda) is in many ways his definitive directorial statement. Dodo (Francesco Casale), a university professor, languishes in his posh penthouse where he obsesses over the unusual habits of his luscious wife, Sylvia (Katarina Vasilissa), who comes and goes at odd hours day and night. Thanks to a handy peephole in the bathroom, Dodo also observes the carnal habits of his father, Alberto (Franco Branciaroli), who cavorts with his nubile nursemaid, Fausta (Cristina Garavaglia). Dodo becomes increasingly frustrated and excited as flashbacks and fantasy collide before the entire complex web of characters finally resolves itself in the tidy (and hot) finale.

Beautifully scored by the reliable Riz Ortolani, The Voyeur is a good example of how structure and photography can make a softcore film gripping even during the long stretches when the characters aren't copulating, and Euro film buffs will probably savor what is most likely the closest

Brass has come to the aesthetic heights of Radley Metzger and Walerian Borowczyk. Unfortunately Brass' intentions were muffled somewhat when the film was prepared for its English language release, which not only excised his now-trademark fake phalluses (a staple he adopted in the wake of the brutal English censorship of All Ladies Do It) but much additional erotic imagery, such as some graphic romping during the hilarious beach finale and a startling sequence with Casale becoming aroused on-camera while peeping through a wall. The first English-friendly release from Britain is very slightly letterboxed with a colorful but washed-out transfer and, like other Brass DVD releases, comes outfitted with a juicy still gallery. The BBFC reported an 8 second trim from the film, which was made in addition to the considerable amount already trimmed compared to the longer Italian original.

English-speaking Brass fans had to wait a long, long time to see the complete version, but fortunately patience paid off with Cult Epics' handsome release, which presents a much-needed anamorphic overhaul on the film in a sparkling, clear transfer. (The compositions are slightly reframed from 1.66:1 to 1.78:1, but the adjustment doesn't seem to affect the film.) Color and detail are excellent, and the film here is not only completely uncut but retains the vastly superior Italian audio track with optional English subtitles. Easily a must for Brass fans, the disc also comes with a new half-hour Brass interview in which the gravel-voiced director talks about making the film and his work with the actors, including his statement on sexual morality in this case which falls perfectly in line with the philosophy behind his subsequent features. The disc also includes a very funny Italian trailer with exclusive footage of Brass himself (and nothing from the film), as well as trailers for many of the company's other Brass releases.

Spurred on by the success of The Voyeur, Brass churned out his next epic, P.O. Box Tinto Brass, a random collection of vignettes strung together by the framing device of Brass himself reading letters detailing the erotic tales sent in by avid viewers. A jealous housewife, a woman's fascination with her new bidet, and various other situations round out an amusing but generally slapdash concoction which aims more for shock value than cinematic craftsmanship. Ortolani's Voyeur score is clumsily recycled here, and while some of the visuals are typically erotic, the overall impression is that of a man biding time while he decides on his next real script. The Dutch DVD release (later imported into the U.K.) is full frame, just like the Italian prerecord version, indicating Brass probably intended this one to go quickly to the video market in the first place. The compositions may be slightly sheared off at the sides, but it's hard to say for sure given the arbitrary camerawork. The stereo soundtrack is mostly confined to the music, while the disc also includes a still gallery and the Italian theatrical trailer. The disc also contains Dutch subtitles, which are removeable.

With Frivolous Lola (Monella), Brass was back to more familiar territory with what amounts to a sillier '50s spin on Miranda. Cute young Lola (Anna Ammirati) speeds around the Italian countryside on her bicycle, often flashing her fanny for the passing clergy and attracting the attention of randy young men along the way. She entertains a group of soldiers to a jukebox dance (one of Brass' most memorable scenes), accompanied all the way by another jaunty, pop-flavored Donaggio score. Here Brass reels back a bit from the more hardcore direction of his past two films, focusing more on his heroine's public flashing and the sexual playfulness of the various characters. The provincial Italian setting is vividly rendered, with the community frequently gathering to celebrate life, love, and food, a spectacle that will leave viewers feeling more than a tad bloated. The letterboxed transfer on this Dutch DVD looks good despite the low budget origins, while the stereo soundtrack is more ambitious than usual, spreading out both Donaggio's score and ambient sound effects to the rear speakers. The English dubbing is much worse than usual, however, making the absence of the Italian track especially irritating. As such, English-speaking fans will fare better with the Cult Epics disc, which offers the Italian track with English subtitles as well as a longer director's cut complete with jolting material including frontal nudity of male star Max Parodi and a graphic scene of Ammirati relieiving herself outdoors.