La caliente niña Julieta [onscreen spelling: La caliente niña Julietta ](1980).
Written directed and photographed by Ignacio F. Iquino.
Genre: Erotic farce
Music and editing by Enrique Escobar.
With Eva Lyberten [Herminia Benito] (Silvia), Andrea Albani [Eulalia Espinet Borrás) (Julieta), Toni Maroño (Pierre), Joaquín Gómez [Bujalance] (Mario), Vicki Palma (Rita), Rossy (Transvestite?).
Well, this is it: Iquino’s greatest hit in the softcore genre and one of the most commercially successful of all Spanish films made according to the form. It was made at a curious turning point in its filmmaker’s career. Having made his Raquel Evans trilogy (two dramas and a comedy), he decided to turn away from erotica and return to his roots in vaudeville-style comedy, announcing a sex-part series of comedies, of which only two were made, in 1980: Un millón por tu historia and Dos pillos y pico, both with Paco Morán, Fernando Guillén and Mary Francis (Paca Gabaldón). He was also considering remaking his own historical epic El tambor del Bruc (1948) but the project was eventually directed by Jorge Grau. Iquino also failed to make another project of his, a third comedy with Morán, Guillén and Francis called Jo tío, qué visón(Hey, what a great mink coat!), a comedy script apparently vaguely based on ¡Gua… gua...! , a comic forties novel by Iquino himself, and, as he claimed himself, with some inspiration from Duvivier’s TALES OF MANHATTAN. The exact reason why the project was cancelled has not been established but in any case the two Paco Morán comedies that he did make flopped, whereas the film marking his return to softcore, La caliente niña Julieta (hot girl Juliet), which took its basic plotline from Jo tío, qué visón, was a hit. Iquino was not a man to waste anything: it is significant that the titles of La caliente niña Julieta credit a specifically made mink coat, identifying its maker. It might have cost more money than the financially-careful Iquino was willing to spend for nothing. Having commissioned the coat for the frustrated project of Jo tío, qué visón, he obviously felt compelled to make some use of both it and the script. The result was the first of a second series of six Iquino softcores, with a considerable emphasis on screwball comedy and with recurring plot and theme elements.
Synopsis: The film opens with a gruff-voiced hippie girl called Rita (Vicki Palma), arriving in Tossa de Mar in search of her old friend (and former lover), a girl named Julieta, who is now married to Pierre Santigosa (Toni Maroño), the son of a local magnate. Pierre, for his part, has long been friends with the extroverted Mario (Joaquín Gómez), a building surveyor, despite which both men are having affair with each other’s wives, their marriages being unhappy and sexless. Pierre’s frivolous wife Julia (Eva Lyberten) prefers the company of wealthy Pierre to that of Mario, with his more modest income. At the same time, vivacious Julieta (Andrea Albani, seemingly dubbed here by somebody else), having married into money, has become tired of the starchy Pierre and is happier in the company of the madcap Mario. Two elements will act as catalysts for the ensuing complications: the arrival of Rita and the sudden appearance in a shop window of a mink coat fancied by both Silvia and Julieta.
Rita and Julieta meet happily after all those years and immediately become lovers. (As they are seen skinny-dipping, Iquino jokingly introduces subtitles, seemingly drawn from Sappho quotations). The two girls, enjoying a drink together at a bar terrace, catch sight of Silvia dancing to the music that plays from a radio; the two women look at each other: they intend to seduce her. In contrast with the harmony between the girls, the opposite-sex relationships become darker, with even some S/M between Julietta and Mario. The latter, in a self-contained scene, tries to pick up a girl who later turns out to be transvestite.
The parallel plot (which undoubtedly coincides with the original script for Jo tío, qué visón has Silvia asking Pierre to buy her the mink coat. This he does, at a shop where they are served by an effeminate store clerk, who insists that mink coats are also the latest fashion for men. Silvia, who suddenly realises that her coat will arouse suspicions from Mario, decides to check it in at a baggage office and pretend she has found the ticket in the street. Mario is sent to collect the mysterious parcel but takes the liberty to open it. Seeing that it contains the mink coat, he has it replaced with so that he can give it to Julieta. Things get complicated when the two couples have a get-together and Julieta shows up wearing the coat.
SPOILERS AHEAD. The story culminates with a mass reconciliation. Julieta and Rita succeed in seducing Silvia and organise a threesome. In parallel to this, Pierre and Mario get drunk together and, finding themselves alone in a room, something emerges between them after Mario starts rehearsing on Pierre the S/M steps he had learned from Julieta. The following day, the two men, now lovers, go to the beach, Mario wearing the mink coat, where they intend to approach the store clerk with the intention of a good threesome. The three girls watch them contentedly from the terrace as the film’s happy theme tune appears and the film finishes. SPOILERS END.
One is certainly left to speculate on the original story of Jo tío, qué visón. I presume the character of Rita was added on and that the roles played here by Toni Maroño and Quin Gómez corresponded to those originally intended for, respectively, Fernando Guillén and Paco Morán. I also presume the original ending was more of a common scenario with every character reunited with their original partner. In a way, the problem lies here: the story is well-structured and there are build-ups to the twists but there is also a tension between the sex film requirements and the rather pallid, stereotyped surrounding comedy surrounding them. The films has several brief sex scenes spattered throughout but Iquino places the main burden on two pretty intense scenes respectively occurring early and late in the film: the famous “box of chocolates” scene between Albani and Palma, and the long threesome at the climax, with the same women plus Lyberten. The sex-and-silliness formula was later taken up by Iquino in later films, but more coherently, in scripts in which the sexual element was more integral to the story and developing the curious notion of gender sexual segregation, with opposite-sex relations merely fuelled by greed, which is somewhat odd considering the film’s presumed viewership. In any case, I found the ending (seemingly inspired by the last chapter of TALES OF MANHATTAN, of all films, with the coat finally finding a definitive use) rather ingenious. The actual filmmaking is somewhat rough, with cheap sound recording and photography, although Iquino, as photographer, does know how to film Andrea Albani and Palma (an actress with interesting eyes), even if he is less successful, in my opinion, with Eva Lyberten. The film, as said above, was highly profitable, and firmly placed Andrea Albani (who somehow doesn't strike me as someone who'd be into fur coats) on the map. Iquino would more or less remake La caliente niña Julieta , less profitably but arguably more interestingly, in Inclinación sexual al desnudo and Esas chicas tan pu…, this time with stories that not only contained sex but were also about it.
I would like to add that the film got a sympathetic review in the now-defunct CONTRACAMPO, a specialised film magazine. I shall quote the review written by Santos Zunzunegui in the March 1981 issue:
“Having long forsaken his old pretences of making “quality” cinema, Ignacio F. Iquino has, over the last few years, been dedicating his efforts to the manufacturing of all manner of film products liable to receive the ambiguous “S” classification, sometimes with far from uninteresting results, as amply shown by the present film.
La caliente niña Julieta is a hybrid between a tacky travelogue and a funny skinflick, inhabiting the grey area between softcore and hard pornography, and duly adorned with complete quotations from Sappho.
It is precisely in certain sex scenes, those exclusively involving female characters, that Iquino, with a lucidity uncommon in this genre, gives us a practical reflection on the limits separating softcore from hardcore. Falling back on the particular ambiguity created in this area by the absence of those elements that define hard porn (erection, penetration, ejaculation), any determination of the “real” or “fabricated” nature of the heroines' indefatigable amorous activities is left unresolved, thus playing with the perceptions of both censors and viewers, the latter of whom, almost entirely males, will certainly be anything but contemptuous of so suggestive an invitation.
For the rest –assuming Iquino will make the logical transition to pornography promised here – the film’s extremely slender plotline leaves the door open for a sequel in which lesbianism will entirely take over the stage in its entirety – and all rounded off with the director’s usual moralising, which in this case serves to justify the film’s functioning central device: the progressive elimination of heterosexual in favour of homosexual relations. Textually: if women are lesbians (and therefore perverse), that’s because men are queers.”
Personally, I don’t know if this is the film’s morality. In any case, the same magazine later published an even more sympathetic review of Inclinación sexual al desnudo, written by Juan M. Company, who had earlier slated La basura está en el ático. These reviewers seemed convinced that Iquino would end up making hardcore, which turned out not to be true. This task, among the veterans, was left to Jess Franco, Ismael González, José María Cañete and Antonio Molino Rojo.
It is interesting to compare the CONTRACAMPO review with the comment at the time of the censor Eduardo Moya, when the film was submitted to him:
“A new record on Iquino’s part. He has made the worst film (?) in his life, which should therefore mean much the same as the worst film in the world. It will be a hard task indeed to surpass the badness of such an abomination, which is, moreover, crudely pornographic as well as shamelessly impudent in its unceasing sexual exhibitionism, allegedly simulated –the lesbian activity does not look it and surpasses all limits of what may be regarded as permissible for screening at an ordinary venue –, and with every formal excess imaginable. This rubbish would constitute a constant offence to any ordinary viewer and its screening should be limited to restricted venues”. (The film had to be slightly cut before being released as an "S" film)
Regarding the cast, I shall also add, in view of the film being a recycling of what was originally going to be a Paco Morán comedy, that Joaquín Gómez (who plays Mario) had a subsequent stage career, including a supporting role in a Paco Morán production. Gómez, an Andalusian who settled in Barcelona (he is not to be mistaken for another Joaquín Gómez, a Cantabrian stuntman who directed and starred in a Spanish Conan rip-off) now works as a dubber and an actor on bith stage and screen. Toni Maroño is also still active, and his name was recently seen among the undersigned supporting the uruguayan-born, Barcelona-based poet Cristina Peri Rossi in a recent radio controversy in which she was discriminated against because she could not speak Catalan (the enemies Maroño might have made as a result will hopefully not get wind of this film). As for Eva Lyberten, who retired from the cinema to raise a family, she has made occasional returns to the cinema. As for Albani, she seemed to be on the verge of a legit career when she was arrested and imprisoned for possession and later died of a drug overdose.
I have seen the film in its cinema version. A parallel edit, made for TV and the video market, toned down the sex scenes and added more comedy scenes not seen in the standard version. The music, by the way, is largely a rehash of themes from the director's own Emmanuelle y Carol and Un millón por tu historia.
(The info on the initial script of the film and the censor is from Angel Comas's book on Iquino)
I have recently come across an alternative version of Iquino’s softcore hit, a milder cut that turned up on VHS and TV. What emerges is still recognisably a sexploitation film, but without the hard-soft twilight zone quality that undoubtedly contributed to its success. Close shots of female genitalia are absent, the final threesome has been reduced to a bare minimum and liquor chocolates, while still visible, have been confined to their more orthodox use. Approximately the same running time is maintained, however, with the inclusion of supplementary footage. A hypothetical version including all material would presumably have a running time of more than 100 minutes. What’s more, I am personally inclined to believe that these two versions combined do not exhaust all the scenes actually photographed, on the basis of the comments made by the censor at the time, and it seems likely to me that the transvestite may have had more of a part.
The opening arrival of Vicky Palma, for example, is much longer, and several scenes have more introductory or concluding material while others even contain some added footage in the middle. In the scene of the cows, this takes the form of a cutaway shot not seen in the stronger version (where the same place is occupied by a strange jump cut as Andrea Albani is seen chasing Joaquín Gómez). The transvestite scene here does not end with Gómez fainting and continues with some enigmatic extra stuff. Then later, when Albani and Vicky Palma are on the yacht, after the wine-drinking, Albani gives some orders to the character of a boatman totally absent in the standard edit. Most noticeable, however, is the added length of the hotel scene towards the end, prior to the epilogue on the beach. Not only is there a brief scene of Gómez and Antonio Maroño getting drunk together in the bar, but the re-meeting of Albani, Palma and Eva Lyberten runs to an exchange in which they reveal to each other who has been cheating on whom. These are just some examples among several others.
The conversation between the three women should, in fact, have been included in the master version, for it gives greater clarity to the plot, but otherwise, the softer version adds little and subtracts a great deal. The first third, in which the plot has still to be established, seems very indulgent with the intense scenes cut out, but this is less harmful at later stages as the (rather good) plot mechanics take over. What I found strangest, on the whole, is that not only has internal editing been slightly rearranged here and there, but that the music cues are chosen differently. In both cases, pre-existing cues by Enrique Escobar were employed, but the choices made in the stronger version are far more judicious in terms of both mood and pacing.
In any case, obliterating the chocolates scene and eliding the final threesome is likely to make little sense to admirers of this film.
your review makes me want to see the film right now! :D
As for the different edits, I wonder if it is possible for you to make a 'fan-created' version, inserting the missing dialog scenes in the more explicit cut?
Technically, I don't know how I could do it, but still...not a bad idea. A hypothetical serious DVD release would, I think, include both versions. Given the changes, not only in terms of cuts but of alternate internal editing and in music cues chosen, it would not be wise to combine them into one. Maybe a combined DVD would be a matter of choosing the stronger version as a reference and retaining its music cues (which are more suitable IMO) and adding on all the missing stuff
For the curious, here's a link to some pics in a site containing a somewhat misleading plot synopsis. http://clublez.com/movies/lesbian_movie_sc...a_la/index.html
Now I'll post another text on Iquino's Jóvenes amiguitas buscan placer
, a semi-sequel/remake of his own La caliente niña Julieta
wow, those stills are excellent! any chance this film can be seen dubbed/subbed in English? is it on dvd yet, bootleg or otherwise? those stills look very good for VHS, if that's what they're from...
do you have copies of these films? and would you be interested in trading?