5.5/10
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9 user 22 critic

The Key (1983)

La chiave (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, History, Romance | 19 October 1983 (Italy)
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

Writers:

Jun'ichirô Tanizaki (novel), Tinto Brass
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank Finlay ... Nino Rolfe
Stefania Sandrelli ... Teresa Rolfe
Franco Branciaroli Franco Branciaroli ... Laszlo Apony
Barbara Cupisti ... Lisa Rolfe
Armando Marra Armando Marra
Maria Grazia Bon Maria Grazia Bon ... Giulietta
Gino Cavalieri Gino Cavalieri ... Don Rusetto
Piero Bortoluzzi Piero Bortoluzzi ... Memo Longobardi
Irma Veithen Irma Veithen ... The Nurse
Eolo Capritti Eolo Capritti
Maria Pia Colonnello Maria Pia Colonnello
Milly Corinaldi ... Giustina
Edgardo Fugagnoli Edgardo Fugagnoli
Luciano Gasper Luciano Gasper
Giovanni Michelagnoli Giovanni Michelagnoli ... Dr. Fano
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Storyline

As the rise of the Italian Fascism makes its visible presence in noble 1940s Venice, Professor Nino Rolfe and his much younger wife, the sumptuous Italian beauty, Teresa, sadly, after twenty years of marriage, witness their enthusiasm wither and the passion wane. Inevitably, all that remains now, is to let his imagination run wild and confess his boldly intimate and rousing thoughts to his elaborate diary, in the hope that Teresa will soon find it and read it. There, in his frank and unrestricted confessions, against all risk of being judged as a vile and corrupt man, Nino would admit all the things that he would never be able to say in person, urging his Goddess Teresa to finally get rid of her painful and revolting modesty. The faithful diary may be locked away in safety but the precious key is hidden in plain sight. Will innocent Teresa ever discover it, and with it, the way to unlock what quickens the faint, yet willing heart? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Together they explored and fulfilled each other's deepest and most erotic desires! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

Italy

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

19 October 1983 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

The Key See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Telecolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Stefania Sandrelli once said of this movie: "I like to play all parts. If I have to be nude, I have to be nude. But I never have the impression of being naked on the set. Yes, I was a little afraid of this film at first. The script shocked me - and amused me because the subject is nothing but sex. Nothing else is discussed in the film." See more »

Goofs

In the scene Laszlo shows Nino how to use an instant camera. That was not possible in the period the story takes place (Mussolini's fascist Italy). They are using a Polaroid Land Camera model 95 and its production was from 1948 to 1953. See more »

Quotes

Teresa Rolfe: Careful, Laszlo. I wouldn't follow my husband. You never know where you're going to end up!
Nino Rolfe: If only you knew! If only you knew the half of it...
See more »

Alternate Versions

The UK cinema and 1987 video version was cut by 38 secs by the BBFC to remove a shot of a man's erection seen through his open shorts and a female masturbation scene, and additional edits were made to optically darken visible shots of female genitals. The 2001 Arrow DVD features the uncut print. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rewind This! (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Ma le gambe
by Bracchi, D'Anzi
Published by Curci
See more »

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User Reviews

What do you expect from the guy who brought us "Caligula" and "Salon Kitty?"
11 February 2002 | by Guy GrandSee all my reviews

A main female character sums up this pile of narrative nonsense at the conclusion of the film saying something like, "I was faithful by being unfaithful." Meaning she was compliant in her husband's wishes for her to link up with their son-in-law so her horny husband could become sexually excited by watching her, thus sparking their marriage alive again. Set against Mussolini's rise to power in 1940s Italy, I suppose auteur Tinto Brass is trying to make some haughty comment on how the Italian populace of the time, repressed by Catholic guilt, succumbed to Il Duce's desire for them to fall faithfully in line with Italian pride and become unfaithful from the moral direction of the Church. Who knows really, because Brass is more concerned with Stefania Sandrelli's derriere than he is about political/spiritual ambivalence.

Alas, Mr. Brass' focus on lead actress Sandrelli's bottom is the only theme you're bound to come away with after viewing an hour and 50 minutes of this soft-core cornfest. British thesp Frank Finlay takes a leap at a starring role by heading south to Italy and being forced to look every bit the dirty old man under the meticulous kink direction by Brass. As the premature, if you will, hubby in this standard menage a trois, he can only last a matter of seconds in the sack with his much younger wife, played by the suitably stunning Sandrelli. It is only when he becomes jealous over his wife's attentions to his son-in-law, played with robot-amateur woodenness by Franco Branciaroli, that Finlay becomes excited enough to maintain another kind of woodenness. By drugging his wife into a fitful slumber and picture-posing her in various open positions for photo-ops, Frank cements our disgusted feeling that we are somehow watching the actual sad home life of the Italian Pinto, Tinto.

While nowhere near as decadent as "Caligula," "La Chiave" has that movie's ability to make you want to take a cleansing shower afterwards to wash its depressing, sleazy drivel off your conscience. Once we learn the designs of Finlay's ho-hum plan, in the first 20 minutes, all we're left with is countless meandering soft-focus shots of Sandrelli and Branciaroli strolling around Venice, fornicating in their hideaway lair, and Finlay foppishly sniffing after her like a pheremone-obsessed hounddog.

The fast-forward button won't help you on this one. You'll be woefully buzzing through a flick that has no worthwhile stopping point. My rating: 0 out of ****.


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