Did you happen to record Monty Python’s Flying Circus
when it was shown on PBS back in the 1970s?
Do you still have the tapes?
Is there a TIME LIFE logo at the end?
If so, please write to me. Thank you!

Click here to learn the story.


(Image taken from Tinto’s web site, and I hope I don’t get in trouble for using it here) Ziva — l’isola che non c’è
(Ziva — Never-Never Land)
All I know is what I read on the Internet, especially at Tinto’s site: http://www.tintobrass.to/news.htm and http://www.tintobrass.to/film/ziva/ZIVA_ING.pdf. It was never made.

If this is the sort of movie you like, then for heaven’s sake don’t pay any attention to me. Go out, enjoy it, have fun. I do not wish to rain on your parade.

This is not the sort of movie I enjoy, though, not at all. Rather than gripe, what if I look for the positive qualities? One positive quality is that the movie got made and shown, despite the absence of commercial sponsorship. It is an independent production by Louis Nero, Franco’s son, done on something like no budget though it still looks slick and professional. Another positive quality is the cast, which is almost a reunion of sorts: Franco Nero (from Tinto’s earlier movies Dropout and La vacanza), Philippe Leroy (from Tinto’s earlier Yankee), and Corin Redgrave (from Tinto’s earlier La vacanza). Then, of course, there’s Tinto himself. Best of all, though, is Faye Dunaway, who in real life has infinite enthusiasm for EVERYTHING (I heard her give a presentation once and I was completely enchanted; unfortunately I had to dash away right afterwards and so there was no time for me to introduce myself — oh well, next time...), and she has the most magical rôle which is all too brief. She’s dubbed but so beautifully dubbed that you’ll actually prefer it that way. A third wonderful quality is the off-kilter English subtitling. For instance, when Tinto, playing an absurd caricature of himself, castigates the young protagonist for not emphasizing “tette e culi” in his proposed movie, the subtitles render that phrase as “boots and boops.” And I wouldn’t have it any other way. The title music is by Luis Bacalov, who did such a wonderful job on La città delle donne back in 1979. Despite those good qualities, though, I found it painful to get through this dreary, self-absorbed, life-sapping dreck. Well, that’s just me. Some people really like this movie, and if you’re one of them, you can fantasize about telling me to shut up.

Rather hard to find, as it doesn’t seem to be sold in stores or online except through the occasional eBay copy, which might be its only marketing tool. It’s Region 2 PAL and so it won’t play on most US/Canadian equipment.

Frame grabs from the preview:

The New Maid

I could tell such fun stories about this because I know some of the people involved and they told me such fun stories about this, but I better keep quiet because I don’t want to steal their thunder. This was to have been four episodes, each written by and featuring Angelit Franco, each with a different director. Only Tinto’s episode was completed: “Kick the Cock,” which is really quite funny and despite being strongly influenced by the rudest Internet-porn, it’s really too silly to be offensive and ends up being quite innocuous. It got nonstop chuckles when I attended a screening. It runs about half an hour and was to have opened the anthology feature. Here’s a clip.

Tinto also did something called Hotel Courbet. I don’t remember what the credits claimed, but I’m certain he didn’t come up with the story. This has had a few screenings, but I don’t think it was ever released.

...and there were others in the works....

...that I really don’t think I should talk about quite yet.

...well... I’ll talk about one...

...now that it’s finally out in the open.

Last summer, maybe around June or July, I heard the top-secret news that Tinto had found a producer — or a producer had found Tinto (I’m not sure which) — to make something called Who Killed Caligula?, to be shot on high-definition video in 3D. I was sworn to secrecy but then a friend this last Thursday asked if I had seen the news in that day’s edition of The Hollywood Reporter. I hadn’t, and so he told me how to find it on the Internet. Click on the link and you’ll be able to find it too. Despite the title of the article, I’m quite sure it won’t be porn, but rather some sort of Brassian erotica. Despite what Tinto is quoted — or misquoted? — as saying, it will NOT be the first 3D porn movie. There have been plenty of 3D porn movies. But it WILL probably be the first Italian erotic movie in 3D. I see from a few Google searches that this is getting a lot of nasty commentary from people who disliked the earlier movie. Well, what can I say?

Eventually more news about this title was made public:

The Roman emperor Caligula, who is exposed to continuous conspiracies, is no longer safe even in his palace, and as humiliating as it may seem, he is forced to go to a luxurious brothel to satisfy his sexual appetite. Nevertheless, it is there where he loses his life to an absurd accident; however his right-hand man, Timocle, devises a plan to try to make his undignified death more respectful. Timocle will be supported by Messalina. They devised a plan that was used long before their time. The plan has a name, Caligula’s double “Asdrubale,” a man currently imprisoned and carefully guarded by the prison guard, Nasone. No one will notice that the emperor is missing; they will take Asdrubale to the palace and a few days later, they will kill him, making it seem like a conspiracy act. Then, they will simply switch the bodies and that’s it, of course... Problem solved. The plan seems very simple, but they need to hurry up: the emperor’s body is starting to rot. However, it will not be easy to hide the manners of “that boorish man” Asdrubale, definitely not fit for an emperor’s role. It will be very hard to continue to make everyone believe that such man can pass for the emperor. Servants, soldiers... everybody is just watching their master’s behaviour; especially the slaves. All of a sudden the emperor has become a very passionate man! A real sex machine. Of course, when Messalina discovers all that intense pleasure that foolish man can give her, she starts to change her mind about killing him: she wants him all for herself. There is no way she’ll let him die. At this point, time is running out; Timocle is fighting against time and he plans a conspiracy with some senators so that once the emperor is dead, he can rely on them for a favour. The “X” day has been set; what’s going to happen? The “X” day is a theatrical act where Caligula normally enjoyed participating as an actor. This is what’s going to happen, despite Timocle’s and Messalina’s interests being opposed, everyone will be pleased at the end. The emperor will be stabbed during the act. Does this mean that Messalina has lost the battle? Certainly not; she never loses: she is actually the one to give an original twist, because the actual person to die will be the horrible prison guard, Nasone; and this is how Messalina will keep Asdrubale for perpetual indulgence.

That plot summary sounds as lousy as any of those miserable 1970s sex comedies, but what can we discern from a plot summary? I’m sure Tinto had some delicious tricks up his sleeve, but...

In August 2010 Tinto had a change of heart. His traumatic illness forced him to rethink things, and he no longer wants to make sex-obsessed movies. He wishes to return to his roots with low-budget films of quality. Rather than do a 3D movie on Caligula, he now prefers to do one on Messalina, in the hopes of rehabilitating her reputation. More immediately, he wishes to make Vertigini, a story of a desperately ill man in his seventies who asks his daughter to assist with his suicide. You can read the full story in Corriere del Veneto of 30 August 2010. I thank Marco Fornier for sending me that link. After that interview, the record went silent for the longest time.

Tinto has made brief appearances in at least two more movies of late:

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