La Celestina (1996)
This is the second time in a week I have run
into DVD censorship. In the case of The Intended, chunks of nudity had
been snipped from the film. In the case of La Celestina, the frames
are all there, but all the pubic hair has been blurred out!! As with
The Intended, the censorship of La Celestina is a tragedy for
celebrity nudity buffs, since the sexiest Spanish tootsie, Maribel
Verdu, performed one of the sexiest scenes ever performed on camera.
She asks an old witch-lady for advice with her "woman's problems,"
whereupon she is subjected to a gyno exam. A young man, watching in
the wings as part of the witch's plot, is so inflamed by the sight
that he jumps upon Verdu. She is perfectly happy with the situation,
and they engage in an incredibly hot sex scene, one of the fifty best
of all time.
This is a film version of one of the first
novels ever written, the Spanish-language La Celestina (pub. 1499).
Although almost nothing is known about its author, this work alone
makes him an important literary figure who predated the works of
Cervantes by a century. "La Celestina" is generally considered to have
ended the medieval period in Spain and thus to have jump-started the
Spanish Renaissance, and the Celestina character has subsequently
become a literary archetype. As Wikipedia points out, "The name
Celestina has become synonymous with procuress — especially an old
Typical of the period, the story is a
melodrama. A nobleman is in love with a chaste maiden. To assist
in the matchmaking, his two man-servants enlist the aid of a scheming
old witch/madam called La Celestina. Her conniving produces the
desired results: the maiden falls in love with the nobleman. Their joy
is short-lived, however. Trouble soon begins when the nobleman rewards
Celestina for her efforts but slights the servants. When the two men
demand just compensation from Celestina, she refuses and they kill
her. Celestina's friends blame the nobleman, and ... well ... tragedy
ensues. The whole mess ends with the now-defiled maiden, having lost
her beloved, throwing herself from the battlements of a castle, but
not before making a long, dramatic speech to her mother below. Not
content with ending the story with one long monologue, the author has
the maiden's father, after having nearly made it to the top of the
castle in time to save the girl, shout his own post-climactic
monologue from the rafters downward to his dead daughter and aloft to
What can I tell you? It was a different age.
The people of the time thought this was some major league
entertainment, and it was widely enjoyed by the six people in Spain
who were literate in 1499, five of whom were monks, the other being
the author, Fernando de Rojas ...
... unless he was dictating to one of
The filmed 1996 version features some of
Spain's top performers, and was nominated for seven Goyas. Tellingly,
it did not win any Goyas, and was not nominated for Best Picture, nor
for the screenplay or direction. Four of the nominations were for
visual presentation (costume, set design, make-up, cinematography) and
three for performances. Think costume melodrama.
The DVD presents the film in an anamorphic
widescreen rendering, with the audio in flowery old Spanish and the
subtitles in flowery old English. The DVD transfer is not especially
good, and there is a significant problem with motion blur and
interlacing. The only saving grace of the DVD is that the
special features include a promotional short which includes some of
the Maribel Verdu nudity without the pesky censorship.
Although this interpretation of the story
probably lacks the subtlety which the original author might have
conveyed, I would have enjoyed the experience if the disk had been
uncensored with a better transfer. I can't recommend this DVD, but I
probably would recommend the film itself with some enthusiasm if
somebody would issue a solid transfer without the blurring.
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- I'll never forget seeing Le Grand Charles in person
at Expo 67 in July of that year in Montreal. He sailed a
good chunk of the French fleet up the St. Lawrence, then
addressed the crowd from the top floor of the French
pavillion, inciting them to a chant of Vive le Quebec
Libre. He pulled the same stunt on the steps of city
hall in Montreal!
- Good thing Canada is a peaceful, wimpy land. Imagine
if DeGaulle had done that in 1967 in New Orleans, urging
a free Louisiana! What would LBJ have done to him? When
Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson simply dared to
make a Vietnam speech on American soil, LBJ manhandled
him physically! Imagine that happening today between the
head of sovereign states.
- Yeah, that LBJ was pretty macho. Pearson was about
three feet tall, wore a bow tie, and was nearly 70 years
old at the time. David Spade could have kicked his ass.
- You think these are contentious times? They have
nothin' on the sixties. Lester Pearson, although a
career diplomat and the only Canadian Nobel Peace Prize
winner, somehow always seemed to be in the middle of the
controversies. After LBJ grabbed his lapels and shook
his tiny ass, he would never enter the USA again in an
official capacity. After DeGaulle made his controversial
speech in Montreal, Pearson told DeGaulle to get out and
stay the hell out of Canada, and by golly he did!
Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format.
Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.
"And Starring Pancho Villa As Himself"
And Starring Pancho Villa As Himself (2003 TV) tells a true story of how Pancho Villa allowed a movie company to film his battles, both for the cash he required, and to improve his US image. Big oil interests in the US had much to loose if the Mexican revolution was successful, and their anti-Villa fight was led by William Randolph Hurst in his papers. Villa even went so far as the allow the movie makers to change is battle plans for better camera angels.
Antonio Banderas was terrific in the role of Villa, and Eion Bailey was also good as the Mutual Film Company producer. After the first film was booed in theaters as being hard to see, and making Villa look rather clownish, Bailey tries to convince Villa to allow a second film, this time, a seven reel biography, using some scripted scenes, and actual battle footage. Villa feared intervention from the US, and needed an image upgrade, and so agreed. His daughter was played by Mutual Film Starlet Alexa Davalos.
Davalos and Bailey became an item during the filming. The movie was released to rave reviews, but Bailey had fallen out of love with Villa over a very cruel incident. Unfortunately, that film is presumed lost.
Alexa Davalos, and Rita Lopez Carrasco as Villa's girlfriend, both showed breasts in very dark sex scenes.
HBO pulled out all the stops on this one with a huge budget. The cinematography was excellent. What sells the story, however, is its very uniqueness, and some excellent performances. IMDb readers say 6.6. This is a C+, and one of the better made-for-TV movies I have seen.
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All 6 women end up doing full frontal and rear nudity. Tomorrow, the rest of the images and the review.
For today's contribution we travel to Holland and uncover three actresses in
one movie. This we achieve in De Jurk (1996; The Dress), a delightful movie
rated a deserved 6.9/10 at the IMDb, in which the lead role is actually a
The competently made film narrates the things happening to several
women who end up with that same garment. The movie is available on DVD in The
Netherlands but has no English audio nor subtitles. My clips come from German
TV and that is the audio you can hear in the following nine clips.
- Ricky Koole, in a triple B performance, is wearing the aforementioned dress
but not for long as an intruder forces her to take it off, yet does not
force himself upon her as you might assume in these 4 clips.
- Ariane Schluter shows breasts and buns when a bus driver attempts to rape her
and later on in bed in the apartment of some old but lucky codger in three
- Lamenting, maybe because ignored by the IMDb in this film, Maike Meijer goes
bottomless in two clips while refusing to service Tony, according to the guy
in the clips just another human being but in another shape. Oink, oink.
Azucena Medina, bares just a hint of bum in this scene from the film festival flick "The Matador", starring Pierce Brosnan.
German babe and co-star of "Troy" the action stinker "National Treasure" Diane Kruger. Here she is showing a little breast exposure in scenes from "Joyeux Noël" aka "Merry Christmas". You can catch this one right now in Europe, but you'll have to wait until March for a limited release here in the States.
Bérangère Allaux, shows off an amazingly flat chest in the French film, "Le Petit lieutenant" (2005).
One more from France...here is Valérie Donzelli topless in "Entre ses mains" (2005).
Newcomer Monica Himmelheber turns in a triple B performance during a guest spot on the made for cable series "Sleeper Cell".