Confessions of a Frustrated Housewife / La moglie di mio padre (1976)

2.5 out of 5

What is most surprising about La moglie di mio padre is how restrained the whole enterprise is. Not because it is part of the unusual yet often compelling Sins Within The Family subgenre of Italian melodrama but because it is directed by inconsistent and occasionally absurd sleazemeister Andrea Bianchi and it is no secret that he has a bit form in the Goodtaste Stakes. While the film is not on par with Fernando Di Leo's excellent La seduzione this effort is in no way horrible, indeed it possesses an interesting premise and is realised with some excellent location work and a delightful yet not atypical lounge type score from De Angelis and De Angelis.

Adolfo Celi is an industrialist suffering from erectile dysfunction, Carroll Baker his frustrated wife and Cesare Barro is the son and third wheel in the relationship who enjoys quiet moments and some footsie with his stepmum. Fellow genre favourite Luigi Pistilli is in this as is, unsurprisingly, Jenny Tamburi, who despite having a minor role in this has a bit of a history in the humping in the household type of film. Unlike La seduzione, which also features Tamburi there is no Lolita connection , no seduction as such but what seems to be a mutually realised adult consensual attraction. It has to be added that there is no real taboo such as incest as in Le sorelle either. Nor should this be confused with the sex comedies that delve into this area such as Malizia, Lover Boy or indeed the equally creepy but ever so slightly less funny Blue Jeans.

Probably better than detractors would have potential viewers believe this is actually a half decent little film. Sure it was never going to trouble the Oscars but it is, for what it is worth, far better than Malabimba or Burial Ground. In this instance, for a change, Bianchi at least makes an effort to play with a straight bat and very nearly manages to pull it off.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics