The Devil in Maddalena (1971)

I got a package in the mail the other day from One 7 Movies and man, I’m glad I’m the one that opened it and not my wife, as it contained two bursts of scummy cinema that I’d be explaining for weeks. I didn’t ask for this but when someone sends me something, I feel compelled to review it.

Who are One 7? According to Mya DVD, the label’s press release states “It is our privilege to introduce a new label to the U.S. marketplace. One that builds upon the best traditions of Italian and European cinema, and is certain to gain cult status in the states quickly.

One 7 Movies was founded by one of the original partners of Mya Communications and No Shame Films. Expect the most classic, the most cutting edge, and the most sought after comedies, thrillers, science fiction epics, erotica, and much more…

All films have been beautifully transferred from original vault materials, and sleeve art design is eye-catching to say the least.”

They’re also making their disks with CAV, who handle some level of distribution for Mondo Macabro, New Concorde, Massacre Video, Grindhouse Releasing, Severin and others. I have no idea how they got my info, but they also sent me Redemptio, which solves that mystery of how that ended up in my mailbox.

Anyways…

The big selling point of this film — for me at least, beyond the fact that it’s The Thorn Birds six years before the book that inspired that mini-series was written — is that it has an Ennio Morricone soundtrack, with two of the songs, “Come Maddalena” and “Chi Mai,” being re-released as the song “Disco 78” in a different key and with louder and harder drums.

Polish director Jerzy Kawalerowicz (Mother Joan of the Angels) made this modern Mary Magdalene story in which the titular character (Lisa Gastoni, The Wild Wild Planet) is on the outs with her husband — who won’t divorce her — so she attends erotic parties. At one of them, a priest is blindfolded and led before her and she decides to try to seduce him, all the whole seeing him as perhaps her salvation. It’s complicated, just like this movie, which can’t decide what genre it is and honestly doesn’t care.

It’s an interesting movie that seems to want to spend as much time being titillating as it does wanting to explore religious mores and themes, which might make it a hard sell to some audiences. It also doesn’t have the cachet of a more well-known auteur for audiences to latch on to either. That said — I’m not upset with the time I spent with this film.

One 7 Movies also sent Os Violentadores De Meninas Virgens, a movie that I can’t justify, unlike The Devil in Maddalena. In that movie, a group of wealthy men hires a pimp to provide them with a continual supply of women to assault and deflower. While they get theirs in the end, getting there means endless scenes of simulated rough antics which aren’t my idea of entertainment. Your mileage may vary and I also hope that your mileage — if so — keeps you far away from me.

I wish I could tell you where to get more info on One 7, but they don’t have a website. I can send you to Diabolik DVD if you want to purchase Maddalena however.

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