DISCOVER--the very best of Tinto Brass

by jonabbott56 | created - 17 Jan 2013 | updated - 26 Jun 2018 | Public

Although ironically and unfairly best known for the notorious 1979 film of Caligula, which he was famously removed from and subsequently disowned, the true cinematic legacy of Giovanni Tinto Brass is as the foremost maker of classy but in-your-face erotica. He has commanded and exercised complete control of his projects ever since, even to the point of doing his own editing. Also, unlike many other reliable providers of sexual content in film (Franco, Rollin, etc.), Brass is neither objectionable or incompetent, having learned his trade with the likes of Fellini and Rossellini.

His films range from the poignant emotional drama of The Key and Black Angel to the brazenly silly and fluffy Cheeky and Private. Best known for his stunningly beautiful leading ladies, abundant fulsome uninhibited nudity, and joyous love of life (his films frequently feature scenes of frivolity and dancing), his films are completely and wonderfully shameless in their lusty exhibitionism. Brass makes no concessions of any kind to prudishness, propriety, or puritanism, referencing it only to show his admirable contempt, and frequently mocks weak or controlling men and figures in authority, ridiculing hypocrites in church and government alike. His women are vivacious, selfish, demanding, and in complete control of their lives, the exact opposite of women's roles in most cinema, including much aimed at women.

Make no mistake though, these are films made purely for men, even though it's impossible for anyone of either sex to criticise them without looking like a repressed chump. Invariably set in precise time periods that are nevertheless timeless in their presentation, his films rarely betray their era even when it is a part of the story; you rarely see technology or popular culture, although the early '60s films of his youth were exceptions, typically and unmistakably of that era, often in the worst possible way. Interestingly, his one attempt to be of the moment, the very '80s Miami Vice-like Snack Bar Budapest, is now, of course, his most dated, while almost all the others could have been made at any time during the last thirty years.

This is in no way a complete filmography, but an introduction to his very best work. This list is in chronological order.

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1. The Key (1983)

Not Rated | 116 min | Drama, History, Romance

In 1940s Venice, after twenty years of marriage, a Professor and his younger wife witness the passion wane. Now, all that remains is to confess the rousing thoughts to an elaborate diary hoping to break free from ties and inhibitions.

Director: Tinto Brass | Stars: Frank Finlay, Stefania Sandrelli, Franco Branciaroli, Barbara Cupisti

Votes: 2,225

An impotent old man's attempts to turn on his bored young wife work a little too well. The first of Brass' sexy erotic fables...

2. Miranda (1985)

Unrated | 96 min | Comedy, Romance

In this erotic comedy, Miranda is the landlady of a small country tavern who is looking for a husband, and tries out a variety of men for size.

Director: Tinto Brass | Stars: Serena Grandi, Andrea Occhipinti, Franco Interlenghi, Andy J. Forest

Votes: 1,776

This is about as European as it gets, and British and American audiences might struggle with the unrestrained and unrepentant leching that takes place in this uninhibited tale of a tavern landlady working her way through the customers while Brass' camera gets closer than the leading lady's doctor, let alone her lovers...

3. Snack Bar Budapest (1988)

98 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

A disbarred lawyer (Giancarlo Giannini) is working as a debt collector for his partner Sapo (Philippe Léotard). Escorting prostitute Milena (Raffaella Baracchi) impregnated by Sapo to an ... See full summary »

Director: Tinto Brass | Stars: Giancarlo Giannini, Philippe Léotard, François Négret, Raffaella Baracchi

Votes: 571

A two-bit absurdly young gangster tears apart lives as he fantasises about turning a sleepy coastal community into another Vegas. Tarantino meets Miami Vice, but all the Brass trademarks are present and correct.

4. Paprika (1991)

Unrated | 99 min | Drama

A young country girl comes to town and works in a brothel in order to help her fiance get the money to start his own business. "Paprika" is the name given to her by the madam.

Director: Tinto Brass | Stars: Debora Caprioglio, Stéphane Ferrara, Martine Brochard, Stéphane Bonnet

Votes: 2,856

The Tinto Brass version of Fanny Hill with a very well-built leading lady and a fairly honest attitude toward prostitution that refuses to pander either to the prudes or the punters, but delivers plenty of Brass' trademark eroticism on the way.

5. All Ladies Do It (1992)

Not Rated | 93 min | Comedy, Drama

A happily married 24-year-old woman who experiences an inexplicable, rather restless craving to finally live her life intensely, retells her extra-marital escapades to her husband intending to spice up their marriage.

Director: Tinto Brass | Stars: Claudia Koll, Paolo Lanza, Franco Branciaroli, Isabella Deiana

Votes: 3,250

Another of Tinto's free spirits runs amok while her stuffy husband stands helplessly on the sidelines. Also known as All Women Do It.

6. The Voyeur (1994)

Not Rated | 97 min | Drama, Romance

A troubled college professor becomes obsessed with the idea that his emotionally distant wife is having an affair with his invalid father.

Director: Tinto Brass | Stars: Katarina Vasilissa, Francesco Casale, Cristina Garavaglia, Raffaella Offidani

Votes: 2,649

Two stunning leading ladies and a fantasy sequence on a beach brighten up this amusing piece of fluff about a bored wife who plays around with her lecherous father-in-law (Brass regular Franco Branciaroli with fake bald pâté and fake penis). As usual, unapologetic wall to wall eye candy.

7. P.O. Box Tinto Brass (1995)

81 min | Comedy

This film is a series of letters, photos and video cassettes which women often send in to certain newspapers. By visualizing their story-telling (the name given by the psychologists to ... See full summary »

Director: Tinto Brass | Stars: Tinto Brass, Cinzia Roccaforte, Cristina Rinaldi, Erika Savastani

Votes: 1,137

The plot synopsis of this one is slightly askew. As the title suggests, this is actually a massive conceit in which Brass is shown (with his sexy secretary, of course) wading through the numerous applications he gets from women corresponding with him in the hope of appearing in his films! In most cases the response to such vanity would be "You wish...!", but where Brass is concerned, I'm inclined to believe every second of it...!

8. Frivolous Lola (1998)

Not Rated | 105 min | Comedy, Romance

Set in the 1950s Italian countryside, the film tells the story of Lola and Masetto, a young couple whose views on premarital sex differ drastically.

Director: Tinto Brass | Stars: Anna Ammirati, Patrick Mower, Max Parodi, Susanna Martinková

Votes: 2,768

Role reversal: she wants to get it on before they marry, and he doesn't. Who will get their way? Clue: it's a Tinto Brass film... A lusty and irreverent light comedy that celebrates sex with a stunning leading lady...

9. Cheeky (2000)

Not Rated | 91 min | Comedy, Drama

While scouting out apartments in London for her Venetian boyfriend, Carla rents an apartment that overlooks the Thames. There she meet the lesbian hyper-horny real estate agent Moira.

Director: Tinto Brass | Stars: Yuliya Mayarchuk, Jarno Berardi, Francesca Nunzi, Max Parodi

Votes: 4,349

Also known as the slightly less subtle and more appropriate Cheeky. A vapid, inconsequential piece of fluff with a ton of eye candy. Two lines of story and never a dull moment. Imagine if Benny Hill had made a film for Playboy...

10. Black Angel (2002)

Unrated | 128 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller

Trapped in an unhappy marriage, the wife of a high ranking Fascist official starts a dangerous, self-destructive relationship with a duplicitous S.S. Officer.

Director: Tinto Brass | Stars: Anna Galiena, Gabriel Garko, Franco Branciaroli, Antonio Salines

Votes: 1,517

If you like the look of the attractive young woman who inadvertently causes the Nazi officer's comeuppance, check out a little-known minor masterpiece of eroticism titled La Donna Lupo. This has been a public service announcement...

11. Private (2003)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama, Romance

Tinto Brass - The maestro of Italian erotica is back! Lies, subterfuge, betrayal and mischief - FALLO! is a collection of six stories based on the joys of sexuality and the eroticism of a new generation of women.

Director: Tinto Brass | Stars: Sara Cosmi, Massimiliano Caroletti, William De Vito, Guglielmo Aru

Votes: 2,128

If you've yet to see a single frame of a Tinto Brass production, this series of vignettes shows the Maestro at his very best and very worst (and also features some of the most amazing women ever to place themselves in front of a camera).

12. Monamour (2006)

94 min | Drama

An attractive, yet neglected housewife will have a scandalous affair behind her husband's back at Mantua's renowned literary festival.

Director: Tinto Brass | Stars: Anna Jimskaia, Riccardo Marino, Max Parodi, Nela Lucic

Votes: 3,899

Brass' last major work to date collects all his trademark obsessions together for one last grand outing...

See also...

DISCOVER--where to start with the films of Jean Rollin... DISCOVER--25 sexy horror films that remembered to put in the sex and nudity... DISCOVER--40 films with drop dead gorgeous leading ladies... DISCOVER--the most bizarre British sex films ever... DISCOVER--twenty sex films that are actually sexy... DISCOVER--the best of the bad British sex-coms... DISCOVER--the films of Italian actress Gloria Guida...and DISCOVER--the very best of Lina Romay, actress.

Jon is not on Facebook, but can reply to comments at the base of this list. He does not, unfortunately, speak Italian!

Obsessed with the popular culture of the 1960s and surrounding decades, Jon Abbott has been writing about film and TV for over thirty years in around two dozen different publications, trade, populist, and specialist. He is the author of several books, including

Brass Cheek: the Sex Films of Tinto Brass, Irwin Allen Television Productions 1964-1970, Stephen J. Cannell Television Productions: A History of All Series and Pilots, The Elvis Films, The Great Desilu Series of the 1960s, Cool TV of the 1960s: Three Shows That Changed the World, and Strange New World: Sex Films of the 1970s.

See his Amazon author's page, and his other lists on the IMDB, all under the pre-fix DISCOVER. ” - jonabbott56

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