Italy | 1977
Directed by Luciano Martino
Edwige Fenech
Alberto Lionello
Ray Lovelock
| 95 Minutes | Not Rated
Format: DVD(R1 - NTSC)
Mya Communications
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  DVD Rating   5   10 = Highest Rating  
Guest Review by Troy Howarth
Frustrated by a doofus husband (Alberto Lionello) who'd rather screw around with other women than sleep with her, a wife (Edwige Fenech) decides to start fooling around herself...
Ah, the Italian sex comedy. In the hands of a master like Vittorio De Sica or Mario Bava, the end results can be charming; just think of the likes of Marriage Italian Style or Four Times That Night. In the wrong hands, however, it can become the cinematic equivalent of a deadly weapon a crashing bore loaded with 'cute' antics and scene after predictable scene of misunderstanding leading to catastrophe. Where does The Virgo, the Taurus and the Capricorn fit into this scheme? Well, let us just say that director Luciano Martino is no De Sica or Bava...
    The story is pretty standard stuff, not necessarily a fatal flaw in and of itself, but one that prevents the film from pulling any surprises over on the viewer. The predictability factor would be forgivable, though, if the film made up for it with plenty of sparkling wit. Alas, as a comedy, Virgo is as funny as a colonoscopy. The cast mugs and tries their damnedest to be funny, but it's all to no avail. The situations are trite and predictable, and the jokes fall flat on their face. It's hard to believe that a comedy with so many would-be humorous moments could be this unfunny, yet somehow it manages to be just that; it's almost kind of impressive, in a perverse sort of way.
    Fortunately, all is not bleak especially for fans of luscious leading lady Edwige Fenech. The one-time "Queen of the Gialli" was knee deep in a string of lascivious comedy vehicles during this time frame, and luckily for her fans she had no misgivings about doffing her clothes in the process. It is this, and this alone, that redeems Virgo from the brink of being completely unwatchable. Our first glimpse of Fenech shows her stark naked as she lies down for a rubdown, and when she isn't covered up in a series of stylish gowns or swimsuits designed to show off her cleavage and curves, she spends the rest of the film in various states of undress. The stunning brunette is at her most photogenic it probably helps that director Martino, the brother of the far more talented Sergio (who directed Fenech in such signature films as The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh and Your Vice is a Locked Door and Only I Have the Key), was the starlet's paramour during this time and was therefore in a particularly appreciative state of mind and she also does her best to breathe a little vitality into the stale material. Fenech is a rare actress who combines impeccable looks with genuine thesping talent, and if this film is beneath her abilities as an actress, at the very least it provides her with an almost fetishistic showcase for her natural beauty.
    Beyond Fenech, however, one would be hard pressed to find much to defend here. A couple of eye-catching starlets get in on the action, it's true, but much of the supporting cast is typified by the irritating mugging of Alberto Lionello, who tries way too hard to get a steady stream of laughs as Fenech's idiotic husband. Franco Pisano contributes a score that's pure piano tinkling 'funny' in its stylings, and Martino's direction seldom rises above locking the camera down for another static setup... unless he takes the opportunity to caress his lover's body in loving detail, much to the relief of the reviewer in question.
    Long story short: if you're a fan of Edwige Fenech, The Virgo, the Taurus and the Capricorn the title, incidentally, refers to the astrological signs for the characters played by Fenech, Lionello and guest star Ray Lovelock (The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue), who shows up as one of Fenech's conquests is worth a look. Just don't expect a particularly funny or involving movie beyond that.

Mya Communications continues their trend of issuing obscure Italian cinema to R1 DVD, issuing Virgo for the first time on DVD in the U.S. The source materials are in very good shape. Colors are accurately rendered, detail is sharp, and print imperfections are minimal and limited to minor speckling and the like. There are no authoring defects to report. Audio options include both the English and Italian tracks regrettably, however, Mya haven't included English subtitles for the latter option, forcing monolingual viewers, such as myself, to watch it in its goofy English dub. In addition to the rather pitiful vocal performances, this track also suffers from being rather soft, thereby obliging viewers to crank up the volume in order to understand all the dialogue. Extras are limited to a theatrical trailer, which is also given the unusual option of being viewed with either an English or Italian soundtrack. 1/18/09