Until recently I have to confess I was pretty much unaware of an actress called Ajita Wilson but now have to admit after viewing Cesare Canevari's 'La Principessa Nuda' (or as it is known here 'The Nude Princess') I am only too aware of Wilson's talents. Admittedly I was slightly cautious about why a company like Mondo Macabro would want to unleash a title such as this (well on paper it reads like a political satire) but soon after viewing this entertaining genre distraction I found that not only was the film itself a sexploitation delight but the background to the feature and its starlet is almost as intriguing as the film itself.
But let's not shoot ahead of ourselves here and take a look at the main feature to see what the deal is with this 'Nude Princess'. My unfounded concerns about viewing a political expose originated from the fact that the story here is based upon real life account of a scandalous smear campaign created by lunatic dictator Idi Amin to tarnish the good name of an African princess who had rebuked his advances. Although it was seemingly widely known that these scurrilous rumours were a work of fiction it didn't stop some unscrupulous Italian filmmakers going ahead and making their very own sexploitation variation of the events.
Here in Canevari's version of events our heroine Princess Mariam Zamoto (the stunning Ajita) is sent by her insane dictator leader to Milan to spread the good word of his megalomania whilst checking out potential business contracts. Amusingly Milan is portrayed as some sort of high tech anarchy with stylised clips of tarty pensioners shooting folk, gyrating dancing naked ladies and bikers terrorising citizens backed by a wa-wa laden psychedelic guitar riff (sounds cool, must go there sometime). Soon after arriving Ajita is joined by Miss Fogget (the very sexy Tina Aumont) who is to assist her with the proposed business transactions by keeping an eye out for any attempts at corrupt deals by the potential contractors. And of course these businessmen are as lowlife as they come so obviously our princess is going to have her work cut out for her there. But she soon finds that she also has too contend with the scandal hungry journalists, in particular hard drinking Marco who is determined to uncover the truth about her rumoured salacious past. So yes indeed, this does sound like we could be heading towards a lackluster political drama (albeit with a little sauce thrown for good measure) but director Canevari obviously realised that this would simply not do for exploitation loving cinema goers and 'The Nude Princess' very welcomingly soon erupts into an all out perverted stoner gem, with everything from domineering dwarf fun to full on black magic orgies, biker anal rape and much more! Of course the plot is not forgotten and we soon discover not only the hidden truth about Princess Mariam and but follow her in the search for true happiness. Will she find it? Or will she just be manhandled roughly by a dwarf?
'The Nude Princess' is a truly bizarre example of how exploitation cinema can take any subject, no matter how grimly serious, and turn into a sleazy crotch warming catalogue of salacious eye candy. Whether it does this entirely successfully is another point of discussion, to be honest outside of the more dedicated exploitation movie fan many will find their attention sliding in the first section of the movie as plot takes precedence, but the patiently strong willed will find much to applaud as the film picks up pace as it progresses with many moments of pay dirt filthy fun. Canevari's direction is nice and stylish throughout in the typically sweeping Italian style and the cast in general give solid enough performances but it will no doubt be the exploitation edge and (for many) the appearance by Ajita Wilson that will be the biggest pull in adding this to your collection.
Yes at last I had discovered the wonder that is Ajita Wilson, both a striking and stunning woman but some may ask what makes her so special in comparison to other genre fan favourites such as the legendary Laura Gemser for instance and why up till now has her career not been prominent in genre fan circles. Born back in the 50's seemingly as George Wilson, Ajita soon discovered her true sexuality and after flirting around the transsexual scene in New York ended up with the plum role in 'The Nude Princess' which helped a somewhat mixed success European career (Franco fans will be familiar with her work in the recently re-released 'Sadomania' and 'Macumba Sexual') but tragically died in the late eighties following a car crash. It's strange to note that really till now her career has never been of any notable profile even in genre fan circles but perhaps rightfully now with this release her status will be at least noted and recognised respectfully by said genre fans. Myself, I've never been attracted as such by truly stunning and statuesque woman (I never did 'get' what folk had on Laura Gemser et al) so Ajita Wilson, whilst indeed stunning, misses my lust radar also. In fact the real eye candy in this movie here for me is the drop dead gorgeous Tina Aumont who to be honest I could watch pouting sensually for hours, simply gorgeous…which brings us nicely onto the discs extra features…
First up in the bonus features front is an all new 13 minute interview featurette with the aforementioned lovely Tina Aumont (who still looks great) that covers not only her work on 'The Nude Princess' but her impressive career as a whole offering a fascinating insight into the underrated starlets work. Other than this though the remaining extras are all text based biography sections (which is by no means a bad thing as Mondo Macabro's bio sections are always lengthy, informative and fully illustrated) covering not only the films production but the careers of Ajita Wilson, Luigi Pistilli and Tina Aumont. Mention should be made of course of the main print itself, once again for a film so relatively obscure Mondo Macabro have to be fully commended for the excellent presentation, the anamorphic print is sharp and colourful throughout and the 2 channel stereo Italian audio is similarly pleasant (showcasing the grooving soundtrack well, though the annoyingly catchy main them does start to screechingly grate after a while) and there's nice clear optional English subtitles available also for us non Italian types.
So it goes without saying that this is another truly bizarre sexploitation obscurity that may not be noted as a classic but will more than sate those of you (like myself) that lustfully appreciate the genre. Ajita Wilson fans will simply rejoice. Perhaps not the strongest on content from Mondo Macabro on the extras front but unquestionably an impressive presentation. Get some wine in and prepare to get groovy, nice one!
Review by Alan Simpson
Get close and personal with Ajita and Tina by ordering 'The Nude Princess' by clicking here.
|Released by Mondo Macabro|
|Region - All (PAL)|
|Ratio - anamorphic widescreen|
|Interview with Tina Aumont, Biography section and more.|