Directed by Giuliano Carnimeo
Written by Ernesto Gastaldi, Franceso Milizia
Story by Sauro Scavolini, Luciano Martino
Produced by Luciano Martino
Cinematography by Marcello Masciocchi
Music by Luciano Michelini
Cast: Edwige Fenech, Corrado Pani, Richard Conte, John Richardson, Laura Bonaparte & Ettore Manni

1973/95 mins./Color/Mono
2.35:1 anamorphic/English/Italy/NTSC Region 1

Review from the NoShame Films DVD

Being the black-gloved Euro-cult nut that I am, I take every opportunity to watch said films when they are released on DVD and SECRETS OF A CALL GIRL was no exception. Now I had never even heard of the film (shame on me) until I saw that one of my new favorite companies, NoShame Films, was releasing it. Of course the prospect of adding yet another victim... I mean, Edwige Fenech flick to my prized collection only sweetened the deal so I just could not pass it up.

SECRETS OF A CALL GIRL is about Anna, a rather naive, nice girl who works in a boring local coffee shop. Anna meets Guido, a seemingly charming man, one day at work and he makes it a point to get her attention. A strange romance ensues and Guido promises to make Anna's life more exciting if she will stay with him. Well that he does and she is soon swept up into the world of organized crime where she is forced to be a prostitute after witnessing a murder that Guido commits. On her rounds she ends up getting pregnant. Since a pregnant prostitute is useless, Guido wants her to get an abortion so that she can continue to work. Anna is strongly opposed to this but its either the baby goes or she goes with the baby. Luckily for her, Guido is arrested on the way to the clinic and Anna escapes the ugly world she has been forced into. Time moves on and Anna has her child while trying to get back to a regular life. A few years later, all is going well and she even meets and falls for the nice, caring doctor who takes care of her sick son. Soon enough though, Guido is let out of prison and he forces his way back into her life...

Seeing as how I'd never heard of SECRETS OF A CALL GIRL until just recently, I really didn't know what to expect. Based on the title alone, I was expecting an erotic comedy or possibly drama. What I got though was a romantic drama set against an organized crime background with the occassional outburst of violence. The film switches gears on more than one occasion but it always keeps your interest. There are action sequences, love scenes, comic relief, tender moments, some graphic surgery, violence, and plenty of drama to behold. Everything blends together nicely to round out the story. The actors all fit their roles as well. I think its finally settled too, Edwige is now the hottest woman of all time for me (sorry Rosalba, you'll have to settle for a close second). Not only is she hot, she's a damn fine actress as is perfectly displayed in the film. She actually gets to act rather than run around half naked and scream as she does in some of the other gialli she was in, not that there is anything wrong with that. Her character, Anna, is allowed to develop and actually show emotion. In fact, there are some emotional, heartbreaking scenes she is in which she pulls through effortlessly. Fenech's portrayal of Anna allows you to really feel for her. Conversely, you end up loathing the bad guys who only care to exploit her, especially Corrado Pani as the son of a bitch Guido, and Richard Conte as the cold, heartless crime boss. Euro-fave John Richardson is also a nice addition to the cast.

As I said earlier there is some violence and a little gore in this one. Its not the highlight of the film but it works and it is well done, especially the surgery scene. I think the fact that its not that prevalent is what makes what is there work better. The violence is there too, but the film never gets to the dizzying insanity of something like LIVE LIKE A COP DIE LIKE A MAN. Then again, it never sinks into mushy feel good cinema either. Its just about a perfect film in every way in that it crosses into many different genres without really being able to be categorized as any one completely. In short, you NEED to see this if you're a fan of euro-cult cinema!

As always, NoShame has done a fantastic job with the DVD. To start things off we get a full color booklet with liner notes, cast information, and some photos. I can't re-iterate enough how nice it is to see a company including such material with ALL of their releases. Now on to the DVD. The film itself is broken into 12 chapters, accessible through the menu. The 2.35:1 transfer looks nice for the most part. A few times, the colors are slightly dull or faded but they're never washed out. Its very minor and defintiely not a complaint as much as an observation and I've got to imagine the print is rare though so its to be expected. There have been reports that there is "ghosting" when watching the film in progessive mode on a high def TV but I don't have that setup so I can't comment on it. Needless to say I was happy with the way the picture looked on my TV. Sound (English or Italian w/ English subs) is good too and is presented in original mono for both tracks. I watched the film in Italian with English subs and had no trouble following the story or reading the subs. I did switch over to the English track a few times to check it out and it was clear and easy to understand. The extras are an documentary/interview segment featuring some of the cast and crew, a poster and still gallery, and the original Italian theatrical trailer (with optional English track). The documentary is engaging and it's nice to see everyone's positive reflections on the film. Once again, I can't stress enough just how beautiful Fenech still is, she is absolutely radiant. This is one black gloved killer that wouldn't mind the chance encounter with this lovely lady!

I expect that all you Euro-cult buffs already have a copy of this in your possession, if not, you are doing yourself and the genre you love a GREAT disservice. Now if I find out you haven't picked it up, you better keep your eyes on the shadows and suspect every trechcoat and fedora sporting silhouette you see...





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Review by The Black Gloved Killer. All Right Reserved. 2005. ©

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