The Senator Likes Women (1972)

a.k.a All'onorevole piacciono le donne (ITA) The Eroticist (USA)
Lucio Fulci directs this light hearted, but highly politically charged satire. Severin Films US R0 DVD release.

The Film

Italian Senator Puppis is involved in the tense battle for the Presidency vote in Parliament. However, this all seems to be jeopardised when he is filmed pinching the bottom of a visiting female Head of State. After helping to repress the tape, Father Lucion decides to send Puppis away for a 'Spiritual Retreat' to the convent of a Father Scirer, and expert in psychoanalysis. However, Puppis finds that the presence of dozens of young attractive Nuns is doing nothing to cure him. Meanwhile, his sudden disappearance has left the Army and Police concerned, with talk of a coup, and when the Mafia find out what is really going on, their church contact Cardinal Maravigli is appalled - having spent years working to get Puppis to be President, he has to make sure the Senator is fully cured...

Co-written by frequent Peplum writer Sandro Continenza, and Fulci himself, The Senator Likes Women is a long way from the dark and grim horror films with which the Italian director is most commonly associated. At first impression, and certainly to modern eyes, the film seems to be an average 'naughty' comedy about a lusty Senator, and on this level it is a genuinely funny and entertaining film - remniscent of the antics of the British 'Carry On' team, although with more nudity. However, taken in context, the script is also a very potent political satire and most notable for its attacks on the Catholic church (still a potent force at the time) who are seen as being in league with the Mafia, involved in election rigging and responsible for several murders. Unfortunately a rather clever sub-plot with the police and army fearing coups as a result of the Senator's diappearance is forgotten about in the second half of the film. As a whole, the scipt balances well, although it does seem to drag on a little in places, and could probably have used a trimming to 90 minutes. The conclusion is perfectly fitting.

Fulci's direction is strong throughout, but paticularly in the surrealist dream sequence he gets to show off some of the distinctive style that he used so effectively in during the 1970s (most notably also in Lizard in a Woman's Skin (1971)). The film's budget serves it well, with some great looking sets, and the film is boosted by a comically fitting soundtrack from Fred Bongusto.

Little known outside Italy, the comedy actor Lando Buzzanca takes the lead role and gives an absolutely superb performance in the role. He is joined by blacklisted American actor Lionel Stander as a Cardinal, while Feodor Chaliapin Jr. gives a good turn as rival politician Senator Torsello.

At the time, considered so shocking that the Christian Democrat Party attempted to buy out the production and bury the film, The Senator Likes Women is now quite a tame satire - the Catholic Church has been accused of many worse things than vote rigging since then. It is hard therefore, for a modern, Anglo-American audience to fully appreciate the full extent of the comedy - the fact that Senator Puppis is clearly made-up to look like a serving Italian minster of the time is completely lost. However, there is still plenty to enjoy, and the film is certainly recommended to fans of Italian cinema. Fulci fans hoping for some of his trademark horror movie styling will doubtless be disappointed, but it makes a fascinating contrast with his later work, and is a good example of his lesser known early work.

In brief:

Anyone famous in it? No-one well known.
Directed by anyone interesting? Lucio Fulci - the cult favourite horror director, responsible for such films as Zombi 2 (1979) and City of the Living Dead (1981), but many other films as well, including the Spaghetti Western Massacre Time (1966).
Any gore/violence? None
Any sex? A number of soft female nude scenes.
Who is it for?
Recommended to Italian comedy and cinema fans, certainly of interest to Lucio Fulci fans.


Visuals Original Aspect Ratio  - 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Colour.
Picture quality is generally strong, with good colours and definition. Quite heavy grain throughout.
Audio Italian mono - sounds fine.
Subtitles English.
Extras The disc includes:
  • An interview segment with lead actor Lando Buzzanca, the cinematographer Sergio D'Offizi, and the make-up artist Giannetto De Rossi. Very interesting, as they speak frankly about the film, and explain many moments that might not make sense to a modern audience. (42 minutes)
      AvailabilityDVD Title: The Eroticist
      Region Region 0 (ALL) - NTSC
      Other regions? None known.
      Cuts? Belived to be fully uncut. The print is in Italian.



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      All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 2nd December 2007.
      Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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