"Ubalda, All Naked and Warm" is certainly a lot warmer and features a great deal more nakedness than No Shame's sister release of Sergio Martino's "Giovannona Long-Thigh". There is plenty of skin on display here, although none below the waist. This essential piece of information out of the way, we can say that Mariano Laurenti's racy '70's sex comedy gives us a picaresque portrayal of a fantasy-land medieval Italian village of an undisclosed period, with a female population composed entirely of either puddin' faced, scowling matrons or slinky '70s starlets clad in little more than the pennyweight cake of mascara plastered round their eyeballs. The males, meanwhile, are all hapless cuckolds or would-be rogues (and usually both) whose success rate with these glamorous, preening temptresses leaves something to be desired. It's tempting to take these films as snapshots of the sexual psyche of the period in which they were made; for instance the nudge-nudge, wink-wink humour of Benny Hill and the "Confessions of a ..." series attempted a cheeky, school-boy-behind-the-bike-shed ladishness, but revealed the neurotic undercurrent of British attitudes to sex which lurked, unrecognised beneath the "free love" carapace of the 1970s.
If one attempts such an analysis with "Ubalda ...", one is forced to the conclusion that the '70s Italian male (these films are all produced and written by men, after all) was a paranoid possessive with crippling insecurities kept reined-in behind a veil of swaggering bravado -- which, to be honest, sounds about right!
King of the Italian sex comedy, Pipo Franco is a bumbling Knight, fresh back from some un-discussed medieval war. Stumbling through the dry rugged landscape of the Italian countryside, with the remains of his battered armour trailing around him, he meets up with a lowly monk whom he attempts to mug for his exhausted-looking mule! However, so constitutionally hapless and bumbling is our Pipo, that he is "out-mugged" by the simple traveler, and when Pipo sights a comely maiden, readying to bed down for the night in a crumbling outhouse, even his feeble attempts at rape (although, in true sex comedy style, she's begging for it really: it's only Pipo who can't see that!) are bested by the conniving monk, who gets to ravage the maiden under the guise of "purification" for her impure thoughts!
This sets the tone for the rest of the film -- it's a typical Italian trait to have a representative of the Church being the only character to get any serious action! This monk figure continues to pop up throughout, effortlessly seducing every single female that our lead protagonist's convoluted schemes to get his end away, singularly fail to deliver.
Pipo is married to buxom blonde German starlet Karin Schubert. Cleverly, he thinks, he has had her safely locked up in a chastity belt the whole time he has been away at war. He returns to his house ready for action, but fails to realise that his sly wife has had a replica key made, and has been keeping herself busy with half-a-dozen lovers in his absence — all of whom she seems to have secreted around his house — under the bed, in barrels, in trunks, in cupboards, etc. — without Pipo's knowledge!
Meanwhile, Pipo's portly neighbour (Umberto D' Orsi) seems to be having similar problems with his gorgeous wife, Ubalda (an utterly heavenly-looking Edwige Fenech, featuring here with red hair). And when Pipo spies her himself, he becomes just one more aspiring lover. He contrives a cunning plan to have his way with the ravishing beauty by dressing up as a famous court painter, sent to paint Umberto's lovely wife, but averting suspicion as to his true motives by acting in a comedy effeminate manner and professing 'admiration' for Ubalda's comically flattered husband!
Despite managing to get an eyeful of Ubalda's ample charms (a scene where Edwige Fenech, looking even more scintillating than usual, is pictured running naked in slow motion through a garden, ought to be counted among one of the finer wonders of the world!), Pipo's clever scheme is soon found out thanks to the unreliability of fake beards and spirit gum; but, in truth, both Pipo and Ubalda's husband are in the same situation since both their wives are rutting away behind their husband's backs with every hunk they can lay their hands on!
After they are both left for dead in the same stinking sewer, thanks to their respective wives both hatching similar plots to away with them, they form an uneasy alliance based around the idea of swapping wives. However, both try to double-cross the other by failing to provide the correct key to each of their wives' chastity belts. Their double-crossing schemes end with each receiving a nasty, eye-watering surprise that leaves both free from the endless stress of sexual pursuit for all time -- singing as castrati in a Church choir!
This is not the best transfer No Shame have ever offered, but it's fairly decent all the same, if a little too soft. English subtitles are well translated, but there is no English dub since these films were never released outside Italy. The humour is coarse and the scatological jokes designed to appeal to the Italian working class; they don't always translate particularly well but the translators have made some effort to convert them into a form that makes sense for English-speaking viewers, although the results often seem rather clumsy. The only extra that really counts is a short (the sleeve says eight minutes, but about three minutes are taken up with title credits!) interview with Edwige Fenech who talks about her friendship with Fellini and her admiration for Quentin Tarantino.