Stars: Francoise Prevost, Paolo Malco, Jenny Tamburi, Bruna Beani
Director: Sergio Grieco
Released by Redemption / Kino Lorber
Reviewed by Steven Ruskin
The nuns at St.Valentine may not be quite as sinful as you may be expecting. The film made in 1974 by Sergio Grieco comes across as much more of a swashbuckler set during the inquisition with somewhat less swash, too. Esteban loves Lucita only they are from two families that do not get along. Luctia’s father solves this by accusing Esteban of heresy and hiding his daughter away in a convent. When we first see Esteban he is wounded and being chased by a group of soldiers. Somehow he manages to fight them off seeking shelter in the very same convent that his beloved is sequestered. The janitor at the place helps bandage his wounds and arranges meetings with his girlfriend. Meanwhile Lucita’s roommate decides to make a play for her only she wants no part of her lesbian games. Soon the roommate is found dead and Lucita is blamed. She’s hung by her wrists and questioned by the lascivious and evil traveling inquisitor. This storyline is interrupted for a short moment so the mother superior can have one of her girls whipped for no reason. This abbess is nothing but trouble for everyone. No one likes her.
That’s pretty much it except for a lot of free flowing accusations. The janitor double crosses the lovers and gives them up. The inquisitor finds out that the abbess has been smuggling in men, having her way with them for a night and then burying them out in the yard. He figures everyone is complaisant so he has all the nuns gathered up and walled into one section of the convent. The soldiers cement them in just like Vincent Price would do in one of his Edgar Allen Poe films for Roger Corman. This leads to the big attraction in the film. After going mad from hunger and thirst the nuns start disrobing and trying to kill each other. A few of them fight over rocks that they think they can eat. Will Esteban be able to save Lucita who has been walled in with them? Will the abbess get her just deserts?
Director Sergio Greico is best known for a series of James Bond spoofs in the seventies and being a contributing writer to Enzo Castellari’s The Inglorious Bastards (1978) with Bo Svenson and Fred Williamson. Despite a few sadistic torture scenes with the nuns Sergio Grieco’s movie plays like a medieval pot boiler with a pretty obvious narrative. The plot draws freely from Shakespeare, Victor Hugo, Edgar Allen Poe and famed director Ken Russell to help enliven the storyline. The production’s biggest asset is the castle that it was shot in. It’s mild entertainment.
Video – 2.35:1
The materials that contribute to this Blu-ray were in okay shape so you get an okay transfer. There are some scratches and print damage but nothing terrible. Colors do not really engage but one gets the feeling that the film was not up for any cinemaphotography awards either.
Audio – Italian language with English subtitles.
The entire affair is dubbed so you don’t actually get the benefit of each actor’s vocal performance. Music and effects are mixed in but like a lot of low budget dubbed films from this era it has a cheap and mediocre feel to it. However if you are used to these it comes across as expected. Amusingly it seems that everyone is constantly calling everyone else “wretched” in the subtitles.
Extras – None.
Though there are trailers for other Redemption titles that look very tempting.
On a scale of Poor, Fair, Good, Excellent, Classic
Movie – Fair