Screen Reviews
All Ladies Do It and Frivolous Lola

All Ladies Do It and Frivolous Lola

directed by Tinto Brass

starring Claudia Koll, Anna Ammirati

Cult Epics

Living in 21st-Century America, it can be difficult to fathom that a decades-long string of super erotic sex comedies would be popular, mainstream entertainment. But from the mid 1970s into the 2000s, Tinto Brass was one of the most beloved film directors in Italy, with a signature style focusing on sexually liberated women who were not shy about showing off their often well-endowed bodies. Cult Epics has recently released a pair of the erotica master’s films from the end of his golden age onto 4K UHD with separate releases of All Ladies Do It (1992) and Frivolous Lola (1998). Both titles come loaded with extras including audio commentaries and stunning transfers of the films.

In All Ladies Do It (1992) Diana (Claudia Koll) has beauty, a glamorous job, and a successful husband. Inspired by her libertine friends, she discovers deeper sexual desires than her stalwart-but-vanilla husband Paolo (Paolo Lanza) can provide. She tries to spice things up in the bedroom and finds happiness comes through exploring her carnal needs outside of her marriage. In order for her to be truly happy, she must convince Paolo to join her in her journey to prove that adultery is the key to a happy marriage.

Frivolous Lola takes a decidedly different look at women’s sexuality with young Lola (Anna Ammirati), who wants to marry the young baker Masetto (Mario Parodi) but until then wants the freedom to flirt and tease whoever she pleases in her small town. Among her preferred activities are dancing with soldiers in the local bar and riding her bike in a short skirt and open blouse, often nude beneath her clothing. She may be a virgin, but Lola knows the power her body has over men, and she takes great pride in pushing them to their limits — even if it is a pair of priests she encounters on one of her bike rides to open the film. In typical Brass fashion, the humble priests are quickly revealed to be secret perverts.

Although the two films are very much Brass films, they have some major differences. Diana in All Ladies Do It is a modern, if sheltered, woman enjoying her upper-middle-class married life, and her adventures are very urban, whereas Lola is a young woman in her late teens who dreams of her wedding while wanting to explore life before settling down. Lola is seeking attention while Diana is into it for pleasure, but in the end both women just want to be happily married but on their own terms. Neither woman is afraid to flaunt societal norms to find their own happiness.

The vintage period and pastoral setting of Frivolous Lola really works better for this type of film over the modern rat race of the city. There is an innocence to Lola’s flirting that contrasts with Diana’s more dangerous encounters. All Ladies Do It is missing much of the charm of Frivolous Lola, partly due to the setting, but also because where Lola is bombastic with her flirtatious escapades, Diana engages in actual risky sexual behavior that is tougher to find charming, even if it is terribly sexy.

Tinto Brass is a filmmaker who is deliberately controversial and utterly beloved for it. His reputation in Italy is far greater than in the rest of the world, where he is mostly known for the Nazisploitation classic, Salon Kitty (1976), and for helming Bob Guccione’s notorious porn epic Caligula (1979). Brass loves to ride the line between mainstream erotica and hardcore pornography, and in his films the line can get rather blurry. What really sets his films apart from smut is the care and craftsmanship that he puts into the work. No pornographic filmmaker would take the time to dress his sets so beautifully, seek gorgeous locations, and layer his films with personal iconography that instantly identifies his work. He is a fascinating character and talented filmmaker, and his movies are full of gorgeous eye candy that extends beyond the beauty of his actresses. ◼

All Ladies Do ItFrivolous Lola


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