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Movie Reviews Cattivi Pensieri 1976

Cattivi Pensieri (1976) Starring Ugo Tognazzi, Edwige Fenech, Paolo Bonacelli.

Directed by Ugo Tognazzi.

Running time: 93 Minutes.

Rating: R (frequent nudity and sexuality)

AKA Evil Thoughts

Married, jetset, international businessman Mario Marani (Ugo Tognazzi) comes home to his wife Francesca (Edwige Fenech) in his penthouse apartment building in Rome late at night. As he begins to prepare for a weekend hunting trip with their friends he sees the hairy legs of a man hiding in his closet. He immediately suspects his gorgeous young wife is having an affair with a much younger, much more attractive man her own age. He actually thinks he knows who it is too. He is convinced she is having a fling with a boorish playboy downhill skier who goes on occasional hunting weekends with their crowd.

His mind concocts various scenarios in which he imagines her and the man having a kind of sex he never had with her. He imagines himself in a most humiliating light as ageing cuckold. The contrasts between his elaborate fantasy and the very different reality are the stuff of terrific black comedy.

Tognazzi finds the humour in portraying Marani in the character’s self-absorption. We see the kind of superficial, mean-spirited friends he has and we come to understand how an individual like this can exist without feeling utterly preposterous all the time. The ending and the overall arc of the character shows how truly silly and self-absorbed a person he really his in his attitude toward his wife, women and sex in general.

This one is of the few Italian sex comedies that actually works and is one of my favourite bedroom farces of all the films I have seen. I think of as a cross between The Awful Truth and Unfaithfully Yours. It is so effective in communicating the feeling of male jealousy that it made me want to see more Italian cinema of similar variety. Unfortunately most of the Italian sex comedies I have seen since have no real story and are really just soft core porn with bad slapstick sight gags thrown in. You don’t need that many words to summarise the plots of those flicks.

Edwige Fenech appeared in an awful lot of Italian sex comedies. But this one cannot be grouped in with those, as it is the only one that has any kind of sincerity and depth behind it. It does utilise unnecessarily frequent and explicit nudity and sexuality in the jealous fantasy scenes. But Edwige Fenech’s clothing only comes off in those non-diagetic scenes. It why this movie is a reflection of reality where those awful other exploitation films are not.