I honestly didn’t know what to expect from a Bava sex comedy which, thankfully, emerged to be not quite as low-brow and vulgar as most genre offerings (which the Italians would soon make their own); for the record, Lucio Fulci also dabbled in the subgenre a few years later with the THE EROTICIST (1972), which has just been released on R1 DVD. Even so, the film also wasn’t particularly interesting per se, albeit a typically stylish effort from this director. As a matter of fact, despite being undeniably amusing in its RASHOMON (1950)-like multiple (and hugely contrasting) depiction of the central situation, it made for a rather tedious – and dated – whole!
Anyway, the plot involves a young couple (Brett Halsey and Daniela Giordano) who meet by accident one day and then decide to go out together that night – which ends with the girl having her dress torn and the man with scratches on his forehead! Both of them then recount the way things went (she to her mother and he to his pals) – according to Giordano, Halsey tried to rape her; he, on the other hand, passes himself off as a shy person with the girl an insatiable vamp!
A third version of events is told by the oversexed middle-aged concierge of the complex where Halsey lives, which sees the latter depicted as a homosexual who brought Giordano to his flat so that she could serve as partner for his lover’s lesbian companion. This is the funniest, but also campiest, part of the film – funny due to the banter between the concierge and his dumb listener and campy because of the stereotypical representation of the male gay lifestyle, though the women’s angle is treated with greater sensitivity)! The last interpretation is then offered by a psychiatrist which rather deliberately supplies the most innocent and, frankly, dull outcome possible for that fateful night – since the closing narration goes on to ask the audience whether they actually swallowed his ‘theory’!
Despite having an American lead in Brett Halsey (who’s somewhat uneasy with the fluctuations in his character), the film really revolves around statuesque beauty Daniela Giordano (a former winner of the Miss Italy contest, no less). She looks confident in her various suggestive poses (this is easily Bava’s most explicit film with respect to nudity, though still pretty mild – there’s a similar hilarious contrivance to conceal private parts in bed as seen in DANGER: DIABOLIK !) but also demonstrates reasonable talent in her various facets of virtuous ingénue, sultry seductress, annoyed object of desire, etc.
Accompanying the film is a lounge soundtrack all-too-typical of its era. Incidentally, there’s some confusion concerning the year in which the film was made – many give it as 1972, but the look and feel of it all simply spells 1960s to me and, in fact, it’s listed in other sources as 1969 (which I’m inclined to believe); others yet seem to concede that the latter is true but then report its actual date of release as late as 1976!! Interestingly, the print on display has the film split into two parts – where the title in Italian is actually given as QUATTRO VOLTE…QUELLA NOTTE (which fits the English translation, whereas the original QUANTE VOLTE…QUELLA NOTTE means HOW MANY TIMES THAT NIGHT!); strangely enough, just as the film goes into its second half, the audio level drops considerably! By the way, this proved to be the director’s first collaboration with producer Alfredo Leone (who eventually got hold of the rights to a sizable portion of Bava’s back catalog!).