In a bid to add a more exotic flavour to their standard thriller fare in the 60s and 70s, Italian cinema turned to the USA for black actors, and managed to successfully launch European careers for a number of performers who were struggling to escape the confines of blaxploitation or modelling/body-building contests. Lola Falana (LOLA COLT, 1967), Serge Nubret (SETTE BASCHI ROSSI, 1970) Laura Gemser, (EMANUELLE NERA, 1975), and, Fred Williamson (QUEL MALEDETTO TRENO BLINDATO, 1977) were four of the more established stars to make it in Europe, but perhaps the most intriguing American import was Ajita Wilson.
Born George Wilson in 1951, the former NYC transvestite entertainer underwent Gender Reassignment Surgery in the early 70s, before landing the role in Cesare Canevari’s LA PRINCIPESSA NUDA (1976). Despite a promising debut Wilson failed to land any notable parts in future films, though Jess Franco wisely employed her talents for SADOMANIA (1980) and MACUMBA SEXUAL (1981).
LA PRINCIPESSA NUDA introduces us to Taslamian, diplomat, Miriam Zamoto, (Wilson) described by alcoholic journalist, Marco (Luigi Pistilli) as “a sort of Madam Pompadour of the computer age”. She’s in Milan as a trade delegate to find suitable building contracts for the right-wing regime in Africa. Accompanied by finance arranger, Gladys Foggett (Tina Aumont), The pair are introduced to five sleazy Italian businessman competing for the deal “What a knockout” and “What a piece of arse”, they mumble. The men decide that they can all benefit from the African business if they work together and supply false documentation of accounts. Meanwhile the Princess also has to contend with whisky swilling, left-winger, Marco who wants to expose her past that is rumoured to have involved pornography.
Miriam’s maintains her distance despite several amorous advances from Marco and Miss Foggett, unable to connect sexually due to her President, Kaboto, having her hypnotized. But several flashbacks, including the castration of her former lover, make her realise that she is a pawn in the middle of a political war. Desperate to rekindle her persona, Miriam is involved in a series of sexual liaisons that include lesbianism, gang rape, a drug-addled voodoo ceremony, sex in a toilet, and a psychedelic orgy in which a dwarf jumps round smacking bottoms.
Further entertainment for sleaze fans is supplied by some delicious dialogue between Gladys and her aging lover, Henry: “We could be lying on a golden beach, under the full moon. Swimming naked…. Then we swim out to a distant reef where we make love to the sound of a naked choir”. To which Gladys replies “Very Tempting… But I have to work tomorrow”. And when towering Miriam is introduced to a diplomat, she enquires, “You know my country?” he gazes at the spot between her legs “Your cunt…. country? No not at all!”
It’s interesting to note how lines in the script seems to mirror that of Ajita’s Wilson’s past. Before she recalls her past and faces up to her sexuality and observes that “I’ve forgotten how to cry” How to enjoy myself. To laugh” and following a failed attempt to revive her vaginal muscles via acupuncture, the Princess declares, “I’m a female eunuch.” And later announces, “Maybe I am a special woman”, as the camera slowly lingers on the visible surgical scars on her breasts.
With the transfer boasting vibrant colours throughout with grain at a minimum, and with clear subtitles, this DVD provides English-speaking viewers with the first official release of LA PRINCIPESSA NUDA, the film never having received a US or UK release, despite success in Italy and Turkey. An accompanying interview with sultry beauty Tina Aumont throws light on the filmmaking process, and several in-depth biographies and historical film-notes that throw further light on Italian black cinema and its politics, are also included, making this yet another treasure for exploitation film fans.
Carl T. Ford
Directed by Cesare Canevari
Italian Language with optional English subtitles
SPECIAL DVD FEATURES
A Mondo Macabro DVD release
All region PAL Stereo
LA PRINCIPESSA NUDA (aka The Nude Princess)