Frivolous Lola (UK - BD RB)
Tinto time again. Marcus hangs out in the 50s with the easily excitable Lola...
Set in the 1950s Italian countryside, Frivolous Lola tells the story of Lola (Anna Ammirati) and Masetto (Max Parodi), a young couple whose views on premarital sex differ drastically.
This fifties set Brass tale of a cook's daughter that's dating a baker has a whole lot of focus on dirty hands. Brass seems obsessed with locking his camera on his cast rubbing their dough covered hands on their aprons or having Lola clean her boyfriends hands and fingers... with her mouth, obviously. This isn’t a movie about health standards, it is of course an erotic drama.
Once again we have a boyfriend falling behind his highly sexed girl in regards to putting out and a central female that obviously wants a whole lot more. There’s a particularly indulgent masturbation scene that is actually handled quite delicately as Lola deals with her frustrations but most of the scenes start fairly normally then end with Lola coming on strong to her fiancé only to end up getting frustrated by his persistence that they only have sex after they're married. That’s really the only main drive here and it runs a little thin before the fairly obvious outcome arrives towards the end of the movie.
To mix it up a bit and to add to the period setting, there's a fair few classic Rock 'n Roll musical numbers in the film. They usually add a bit of a bounce to Lola's flirty behaviour and gives her another excuse to expose herself one way or another. There’s also a more sordid sub-plot with the UK's own Patrick Mower and his obsession with his old flame and Lola parentage as well as an odd past time of staring at projected pictures of naked ladies and drinking with a close male friend.
Frivolous Lola is once again a rather silly look at relationships and turns the usual table on sexual driven women chasing down the more timid men. Lola as a character isn’t quite as likeable as Brass may be intending, making the film a little harder to warm to and the darker elements of the film bring down what could have been a fairly light countryside romp without them.
The opening scene is a murky overcast affair. Lola's bright red vest jumps out of the image and most elements seem clean enough but the hazy image is another Tinto Brass movie that feels like a boosted DVD as opposed to glorious HD overhaul. As we move out of the opening credits the layer of grain increases, especially in the film's mainly interior scenes. The hazy lighting and dark scenes can often make for a rather grimy flat image and while the grain is pretty acceptable most of the time it is occasionally overbearing and kills whatever details there are trying to reach through the haze.
Brass's female focused framing continues, giving a sometimes oddly framed set of scenes. The lighting does very little to enhance this rather flat and uninteresting presentation and interior as well as exterior scenes never really glow like you'd expect an HD remaster to do. It’s actually rather opposite to what the film is telling us. Lola often talks of how warm the weather is (and usually as an excuse for lack of clothes) but generally speaking this is a rather coldly coloured film that feels like its about to rain all the time.
Black levels range from hazy off blacks to borderline greys and it’s largely due to Brass's choice of smoky sets. The best example is the bakery or kitchens a lot of the film is set in. Sure it would probably come with a certain amount of steam but the visuals of this place is more like a hazy sauna and this does not help the Blu-ray’s chances of showing off at all.
The fun 50s inspired main theme and the 50s classic used in the film have a bit of punch to them and fill the stereo track very nicely but really the film is simply dialogue. It’s clear, comes with the expected disconnect to some of the visuals and sits centrally in the stereo track. Beyond that it's just sound effects, heavy breathing and very little else. The track gets the job done within the film's limited scope but really that’s all that’s going on here.
The only extras this time out is the ‘Trailer’ and the opening credits in either English or Italian. Oh and of course the DVD Copy.
Frivolous Lola was fairly typical Tinto Brass stuff but felt more like the seedier side of Erotica at times. Its central female is still fairly sweet-hearted but her spoilt, demanding side is not quite as charming as some of Tinto’s other leading ladies can be. The disc looks pretty rubbish but it’s largely down to the hazy style of the film, the audio is simply okay but is limited by the film’s small scope.The extras are all but non-existent so this one is really only for fans as they will be the ones seeing the real HD differences.
Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 18 years and over
Release Date: 10th February 2014
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: LPCM 2.0 English, LPCM 2.0 Italian
Extras: Trailer, Open Sequence in English or Italian
Easter Egg: No
Director: Tinto Brass
Cast: Anna Ammirati, Patrick Mower, Max Parodi
Genre: Comedy, Drama and Romance
Length: 104 minutes
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