"The Jet-Set Breaks Loose In An Orgy Of Violence And Terror !"
After several delays and much anticipation Camera Obscura released their long awaited DVD of Ottavio Alessi's 1969 sex thriller Top Sensation this week. With a past release history of murky bootlegs and collector torrent trading a lot of work has been put into this release of a super rare title with the end result being eye-opening video quality & some very nice extras.
Although probably best known today for starring two of Italy's best known exploitation actress in the very desirable form(s) of Rosalba Neri & Edwige Fenech, the movie itself features a wonderfully sleazy sex filled plot (everybody doing it with everyone) along with some lesbianism, voyeurism, incest & even a bit of bestiality all thrown into the mix (plus some other interesting plot stuff lurking below the surface). Along with 1972's Lady Frankenstein this is Rosalba's best role as after knocking around in spaghetti westerns & peplums (along with some work for Jess Franco), she really seems to relish getting a part she can sink her teeth into.
A morality fable wrapped in sexploitation package, the plot concerns decadent rich woman Mudy (Maude Belleroche) who sets sail on her yacht with gold digging couple Aldo and Paola (Maurizio Belleroche & Rosalba), prostitute Ulla (Edwige) and Mudy's somewhat mentally challenged son Tony (Ruggero Miti). Tony who spends most the time in his cabin playing with a slot car track (and matches) was brought along in the hope of his mother that Rosalba & Edwige running around in bikinis and/or naked would spark his interest in the opposite sex (hey, if that doesn't work what would !). Everybody here has less then moral values as Aldo & Paola are salivating for an oil lease from Mudy and a greedy Ulla is hoping for a big payoff for de-flowering Tony.
The boat runs aground and this yacht full of rich (or greedy wanna-be rich) degenerates is set loose in an unspoiled paradise as represented by a serene island populated by pretty young goat herder Beba (Eva Thulin) and her somewhat oafish (and stupid) husband Andro. Seeing Tony's interest in Beba (and to satisfy their own depraved desires) the morally corrupt "yachters" suck the working class couple downward in a spiralling orgy of sex and degradation.
This is one of Edwige's first major roles and both her & Rosalba (check out that black bikini !) look absolutely gorgeous here with the cinematography making full use of them in various states of dress (and undress) and as mentioned earlier Rosalba is excellent as a cold blooded bitch with an evil glint in her eyes. Speaking for myself, this is the DVD release of the year.
Released in various run times & edits around the world, Jerry Gross picked it up in the U.S. where it was released as The Seducers. The U.S version (as released on VHS by Something Weird) actually is a bit more more unclothed while the version released in Germany had a completely unique subplot edited in. Camera Obscura's 2 DVD set has an excellent looking version of the Italian cut along with the racier scenes from the U.S. version and the full length German version as extras (both sourced from VHS, but welcome none the less). Also included is an alternate Italian ending, a photo gallery and a documentary on the making of the film (complete with an interview with the still lovely Rosalba).
For an excellent write-up of this movie please check out Venoms5's recent blog post over at Cool Ass Cinema on this classic slice of Italian exploitation (he does a wonderful job of explaining the various subtexts lurking around here).