[Lina Wertmüller has written and directed a tragic farce] in which the horrors are hung on a ludicrous plot. An Italian deserter, in a German prison that reeks with murder, uses his Neapolitan amatory wiles on the prison commandant—a woman built like a brewery horse—in order to save his life.
Can that be funny? Can it make us laugh when the Italian leers lecherously at the commandant as she stands in front of a hanging corpse, when he pulls that infamous prison cap down over one eye to make himself look dashing? The terrible answer is yes: because by this point in the picture farce has been interwoven with tragedy—we know we are in the hands of someone who uses farce to underscore the tragic,...
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