Poppea... una prostituta al servizio dell'impero (1972) Poster

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Pots, pans and pie fights
Chip_douglas19 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Femi Benussi joins a long list of actresses in portraying Emperor Nero's second wife, Poppea. But even though he name is prominently placed at the play front of the title, as usual in these Italian comedies, she remains a secondary character. The real stars are Ottone and Savio (Don Backy and Peter Landers), a comic pair of scoundrels who are not as dynamic as Bud Spencer & Terrence Hill nor are they as animated as Asterix & Obelix.

The pair of them are continuously on the run, scamming inn keepers into feeding them and women into bedding the. Well actually, it is the slimmer, handsomer one, Ottone who does most of the eating and the loving. Savio mostly has to get his partner out of trouble without receiving any reward for it. It's probably because Ottone has more acrobatic skills and, apparently, a most impressive reproductive organ. When after several misadventures they arrive in Rome, the Empress Poppea, who not only enjoys taking milk baths, but also leads a double life as a prostitute, immediately seeks out Ottone, no doubt having heard about his enormous reputation.

Mama's boy Nero (Vittorio Caprioli) is well aware of his wife's adultery and occasionally passes the time as a peeping Tom. After Ottone inadvertently saves his Ceasar's life during the gladiator games at the Arena (wide shots courtesy of a more expensive swords and sandals picture), O and S are rewarded with a piece of land which includes a handy rebellion to be stifled. Most of the action is borrowed from the same (or possibly a completely different) unknown Roman epic, while our two buddies spend most of the battle asleep, Bilbo style. They also foil an assassination attempt by none other than Claudius from Tinto Brass' Caligola (Giancarlo Badessi). However they are unable to stop Rome from burning down, which as usual makes for a great stock footage ending.

Along the way we get a good long look at Benussi's buns and those of several of her ladies in waiting and Vestal Virgins to boot (or should that be booty?). But in this version of history, Nero is more interested in playing the lyre than the violin.

7 out of 10
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