Image Entertainment presents
Fuego / The Female (1968)
"I don't want to get married. The idea repels me."- Laura (Isabel Sarli)
Stars: Isabel Sarli, Armando Bo, Francisco Rabal
Other Stars: Alba Mujica, Roberto Airaldi, Jardel Filho, Hidla Suarez
Director: Armando Bo, Leopoldo Torre Nilsson, Jack Curtis
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nudity, sexual situations)
Run Time: 02h:58m:28s
Release Date: 2002-06-18
DVD ReviewThe latest wacky double-feature from the twisted minds at Image and Something Weird centers on busty Argentinian sexpot Isabel Sarli, who held the coveted title of Miss Argentina 1955. Sarli and husband/director/mentor Armando Bo, who is often referred to as the Russ Meyer of Argentina, made 27 sex-fueled films together, none of which will ever be confused with being anything but an excuse to flaunt Sarli's over-stacked body.
For this installment, we are treated to two distinctly different Sarli projects, the first of which is the steamy Fuego. The second half of the double bill is an Argentinian film called The Female, which was later re-edited by American director Jack Curtis (The Flesh Eaters) to add more sex, though the end result is a less lusty, more all-around depressing product.
Director: Armando Bo
This 1969 sexcapade seems to exist only to provide ample opportunity for Sarli to overact and underdress in a comically excessive manner. Sarli is Laura, an incredibly horny young woman with a disturbing penchant for far too much black eyeliner and very little in the way of clothes. Even though she marries the too-good-for-her Carlos, Laura still maintains an oddly disturbing lesbian relationship with her creepy androgynous housekeeper Andrea. It's explained at one point that Laura suffers from "exaggerated pathological sexual desire," which only means that there will be plenty of nekkidness, whether it's on the beach, in the shower, in the snow or up against a wall. This is great camp stuff, and it showcases Sarli's physical attributes quite nicely, which is really all Bo apparently intended in the first place.
The Female (01h:34:38s)
Director: Leopoldo Torre Nilsson, Jack Curtis
Here we have Sarli in a 1968 production that was revived for US audiences when Jack Curtis chopped out some expository scenes from Leopoldo Torre Nilsson's original, and added a few brothel scenes, like the groan-inducing toe sucking scene. This depressing black & white saga is about an aging whore (Sarli) who becomes obsessed with a hole in the ceiling of her room, which causes her to have flashbacks of her sad life (re: Nilsson's original film). It's sort of like an Argentinian western, with Sarli's remembrances serving as narratives for the tale of her unhappy life as the wife of a well-digging sheep farmer (the late, great Francisco Rabal). An escaped prisoner causes some minor sexual tension, and the film culminates with a really deep well and a murderous decision.
Isabel Sarli never quite became a household name in the States, despite her Argentinian fame. These two films sort of represent the dramatic extremes of her work, with one being ridiculously sex-filled, and the other noticeably more serious. The sad thing is neither are particularly memorable. Fuego is really one of Sarli's campy best, and she proves herself to be one of the best shower-takers in the business.
Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C+
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame||1.85:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||no||yes|
Image Transfer Review: Fuego is presented in a 1.33:1 fullframe transfer, while The Female is shown in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The colors in Fuego have faded a little, and there are plenty of nicks and specks to be found. Image detail is on par with any forgotten sexploitation film of the era, so if you don't expect much you won't be too disappointed. The Female, which is in black & white, has actually held up better, no doubt due to an unintentionally stylish lack of color. Far less physical blemishes all around, and an overall better print than Fuego.
Image Transfer Grade: C+
Audio Transfer Review: Both films sport adequate mono tracks, largely devoid of hiss or noise. Dialogue is clear and audible throughout, with the obvious lack of dynamic range one would expect from mono.
For mono, it's just fine.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
3 Original Trailer(s)
7 Other Trailer(s) featuring Love Hunger, The Curious Dr. Humpp, The Deadly Organ, No Exit, The Unsatisfied, The Pink Pussy: Where Sin Lives, Put Out Or Shut Up
Extras Review: In keeping with the South American theme, Image and Something Weird fill the extras section with appropriately leering content:
South American S&M Show (05m:11s)
This sexy black & white segment features an Elsa Lanchester look-alike dominatrix who whips and nibbles on a poor guy for five minutes. This woman has breasts that could be considered deadly weapons!
South American Smoke Den Stripper (04M:42s)
Apparently pulled from some 1940s tropical saga, this chunk centers on an illicit smoke den, highlighted by a severely unerotic striptease by an alarmingly chubby stripper.
Gallery of Sixties Sexploitation Art With Radio-Spot Rarities (12m:04s)
Always a favorite stop on any Something Weird release, it's twelve minutes of exploitation posters, set to equally trashy radio spots. See posters for such genre classics as As Nature Intended, Acapulco Uncensored, Abnormal Females, and Behind the Nudist Curtain.
Also included is a cool collection of sexy trailers (Fuego, Love Hunger, The Curious Dr. Humpp, The Deadly Organ, No Exit, The Unsatisfied, The Pink Pussy: Where Sin Lives, Put Out or Shut Up), and each of the feature films are split into 12 chapters, with no subtitles.
Extras Grade: C+
Final CommentsIt's a weird double bill here, with Fuego easily pinning the freaky meter. Sarli exudes sex with the fury of a pair of side-by-side erupting volcanos, and when coupled with the goofy title song that plays EVERY TIME she doffs her duds, then you have the makings of a trippy good time.
If you've sat through a Something Weird release before (and liked it), then Fuego / The Female is up your alley, if for nothing else but heavy-lidded Sarli's mink coat and go-go boot sex toy strutting.
Rich Rosell 2002-07-01