THE NEW EROTIC ADVENTURES OF CASANOVA
(1977, dir: Carlos Tobalina)
John Holmes (Eruption) stars as John, a man who has recently inherited and sold off the estate of his late great grandfather. Looking for something of a keepsake, he visits the antique dealer (Tory Jeffery, The Autobiography of a Flea) and is given a bottle of cologne found in a desk. The cologne belongs to great Casanova and was used to scent his love letters. He applies some to his clothes and this leads to the first of many sexual encounters, this time being with the cleaner of the motel he is staying at. Once getting dirty with cleaner, he visits his family while he’s in town. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your preference) the effect of the cologne rubs off on them, leading John to literally rub off on them. Yes, even his underage cousins fall foul to magic of this scent. John is telling his story to his therapist, Dr. Sharpe (Susan Silver, Casanova 2). Initially skeptical of John’s story, she gives the cologne a whiff and well, we all know how this story – and in this case, the actual film – ends.
Starting off very promising with a good sense of scope and seeming to have an actual budget thanks to costume design – I’ve always had a thing for women’s costumes from this period, classical music and location photography which admittedly, is mainly thanks to footage lifted from Bud Yorkin’s Start the Revolution Without Me. Yeah, Donald Sutherland (Don’t Look Now) is clearly seen within the film’s opening sequence. Even with that, the films has a sense of “legitimacy”. Unfortunately, the film loses its charm when we cut to present day. Don’t get me wrong, John Holmes is fantastic throughout. He plays the role of Casanova so well and is genuinely smooth and charismatic, even when he’s partaking in Monty Python-cum-Benny Hill sword fights! It just becomes your typical Tobalina fodder. Don’t worry, there’s group scenes and once again, themes like underage sex and incest are dealt in an almost tongue in cheek fashion. Thankfully seeing the likes of Jane Goodman (unfortunately her only role) and Sandy Pinney (The Pony Girls) soften the blow. All in all, this is a much more classy affair from Tobalina. The king of missed opportunities strikes again.
(1982, dir: Carlos Tobalina)
After a recap of Casanova’s exploits, we find our smooth talker talking on three aggressors with his sword (ha!). After they are defeated, he discovers one is a woman (Cathy Linger, in her only role). Seeing that she is still alive, he takes her to the nearest house and demands a doctor. With the outlook for the fallen swordswoman bleak, there seems to be a silver lining; the woman who fetched the doctor is named Myra (Bridgette Felina also in her only role unfortunately), who at 16 was deflowered by none other than Casanova. The pair reminisce and the swordswoman in her potentially final hours wants to be impaled once again. After this weird little threesome we are told that the swordswoman birthed Casanova’s son, Don Juan (Bjorn Beck, another one hit wonder). Fast forward to Don Juan on his own journey showing off his sword skills – in both senses, just like daddy! He finds himself sorting out some family problems for Count de Léon (Rick Ardon, Sadie) and his wife Isabella (Jessie St. James, Vista Valley PTA). After that we fast forward to where the first film finished. John is now in a relationship with Dr. Sharpe and they decide to commercialise the cologne, which has some rather surprising effects changing John’s life forever!
Although mainly comprised of recycled and unused footage from the first film, the sequel is actually an improvement. It’s nothing amazing and still has that purely for the money Tobalina feel, but the film just works better. The film takes an interesting turn and even though there is A LOT of what you could assume is previously existing and unrelated sex in the latter third, it makes sense. If Tobalina is one thing, he is shrewd. One cannot fault him that regard. Once again, John Holmes steals the show, but it’s nice to see the likes of Kay Parker (Taboo) and Bill Margold (Dracula Sucks) make a brief appearance. Once again, there’s a sense of scale and shows the creative potential of Tobalina. It was also surprising to see just how many cast members had only this as their credit. There is some real talent on show throughout and a lot potential big names in the making. Maybe just like Tobalina, they were looking for a quick pay-check. Overall, not a bad effort at all and one of Tobalina’s better productions which surprises me because knowing of Tobalina’s work and the fact that this is a sequel five years after the original, it could have been a complete mess.
Overall, this isn’t a bad pairing of films. Sure, they reek of the aspects of Tobalina that most can’t stand, but this is when cutting corners and uses cheap tactics works for me. It’s done well and reminds me of one of my favourite directors; Bruno Mattei. The biggest thing for me is the way the films are structured. If you were to take all the period elements of both films and edit them in to a cohesive story, you’d have a genuinely good period adult feature. You could then take all the present day story and have that edited together into a cohesive sequel. I think the films would work much better in that regard. That being said, I could happily watch this double feature again. Vinegar Syndrome have once again done a nice job on restoration and presentation. Sure, it isn’t perfect, but it’s much better than what some would say Tobalina deserves. In terms of extra features, you get trailers for both films. If you have become disheartened with Tobalina or have yet to experience his work, I would highly recommend this release.
The New Erotic Adventures of Casanova and Casanova 2 are available on DVD from Vinegar Syndrome or online to stream at Exploitation.tv