Blu-ray Review: Tinto Brass – Master of Erotic Cinema 2 (Collector’s Edition)

Blu-ray Reviews, Reviews, Top Story

During the early ’90s when the VHS era was going strong, I’d often find myself poking through the “Foreign Film” section at The Video Bar looking for movies that wouldn’t be taught in my international cinema class. I was eager to see the European movies that played on Cinemax After Dark (since nobody in my house wanted to pay for cable and the pay channel). I was easy to determine if the film had those special qualities by the erotic box covers, the Unrated notice and the casting of Skinamax superstars or noted directors. Tinto Brass was a known name simply because he was listed as the director of Caligula. We had no idea at the time that Penthouse’s Bob Guccione took over the film after initial production to shoot X-rated scenes and didn’t let Brass cut a single frame. Outside of Caligula and perhaps Salon Kitty, Brass didn’t have much of presence on the shelves. Since this was before the internet arrived in my life, there was zero clue that he was still making films in the ’90s. Otherwise I would have been asking the guy behind the counter (although not the old lady who would give me the grandma stare). Tinto Brass – Master of Erotic Cinema 2: Collector’s Edition brings together four of his biggest films from the 1990s.

Paprika (1991 – 116 minutes) is about life at a brothel in before the Italian laws would change to outlaw their legality. A sweet girl (Debora Caprioglio from Nicolas Roeg’s Samson and Delilah) from the countryside plans to only work 15 days in a brothel in order to get enough money for her boyfriend and her to get on their feet. Madame Collette (Eyeball‘s Martine Brochard) takes a liking to this fast learner and nicknames her Paprika because she’s a touch spicy. She adjusts to cathouse life which is a bit different than her simple hometown. The other women come from all over the country. It’s pointed out that men have perceptions about what the women enjoy in bed is based on their regions. It’s like pervy version of Stanley Tucci’s Searching for Italy. When her 15 days are up, Paprika realizes that she’s good at the job and learns the truth about the relationship with her boyfriend.

This movie brings me back to the two times the late Dennis Hof invited me out to the Bunny Ranch as a journalist. We once talked about one of the plot points of the film that involved a worker having a pimp on the outside. He talked about at his brothel, the other girls help the woman break her ties to the creep. Who needs a pimp when you’re protected inside the house? Paprika shows the ups and downs of working in a brothel although it keeps things rather light and sensual. This isn’t a bleak expose you’d see in an Italian Neo Realism production. Tinto Brass doesn’t want to turn off the viewers. Debora Caprioglio is an extreme turn on as she learns what is expected by the clientele. Paprika is as spicy as you’d crave after finding out this is about life at an Italian brothel.

All Ladies Do It (1992 – 97 minutes) is the is the uncut version of Tinto Brass’ non-musical adaptation of Mozart’s Così fan tutte opera. Diana (Miracolo italiano‘s Claudia Koll) frustrated by her marriage to Paolo (Fear of Loving‘s Paolo Lanza). He’s a great provider, but he gets rather boring in the bedroom. She wants a wildness to her life. She craves the debauchery happening around her. She tells Paolo stories that sound like her fantasies, but are a bit confessional about what she’s done to others when he wasn’t around or distracted. She hasn’t quite gone all the way and mainly teases the lecherous men. This includes her boss at the lingerie shop who uses the fitting rooms for hooking up with other ladies. Her aunt in Venice passes away and she inherits the apartment. Diana journeys up from Rome and discovers her Aunt was not a prude. Amongst the furniture and clothes is a pile of photographs and 8mm “home movies” from her Aunt’s wild days. This inspires her to meet up with a guy she’d previously flirted with at a poetry reading in Rome. His apartment is full of art dedicated to the female behind and Diana is more than willing to see how her review view compares to the masterpieces. Will her husband catch on that her fantasies are a bit confessional?

All Ladies Do It is a beautiful film. The camerawork, lighting and sets elevate Claudia Koll’s presence and performance. This is the perfect place to start if you’re curious about the work of Tinto Brass. You’re not having to deal with any atrocities from Ancient Rome or Germany to harsh the eroticism. It’s a couple in Italy who need to bring back their carnal joy. There is plenty of carnality on the screen. Brass takes us to ecstasy fueled parties and a road covered in wall-to-wall street walkers. You even get to see Tinto Brass in a small role as a guy bringing his “niece” to the lingerie store. All Ladies Do It is a perfect taste of Italian wildness with Claudia Koll shedding her inhibitions. 

P.O. Box Tinto Brass (1995 – 116 minutes) is the director’s version of The Red Shoes Diaries except instead of writing a mysterious stranger, women share their erotic adventures with Tinto. The female writers seem eager to prove their carnal encounters are worthy of being in one of his films. The first is from a woman who seems to be sharing the normal hooking up at the beach with her boyfriend. Turns out they aren’t alone in the dunes. The other people are also stripping down. Neither are a bit ashamed. The pair get competitive with the other couple getting freaky by the sea. Another woman confesses to her career as a hooker because her husband can’t quite afford the life she wants. Tinto gets comically involved with his assistant at the end in shoe salesman fantasy that goes out of control.

The film plays with Tinto Brass’ image. There’s even a recreation of his infamous casting trick of having a prospective actress disrobe and pick a coin off the floor. The film does wonders at giving us a sense of the director set loose in his own erotic universe. He plays it right by just making himself a touch buffoonish. This is the comic debauchery your grandmother swore you’d see on The Benny Hill Show which is why you weren’t getting to watch the show.

Frivolous Lola (1998 – 105 minutes) is a sensual visit to the countryside. Lola (Positano‘s Anna Ammirati) is a bit of a wild child. While a band is playing in the town square (conducted by director Tinto Brass), Lola rides around on her bike causing a major distraction. She’s wearing a red tank top with a short skirt that flies up as she peddles around. Everybody in the town know what her underwear looks like. When a cyclist catches up with her, he gets her a feel on the rump. After she teases two priests on a country road, the Holy men later sniff the bicycle seat. She’s a tease who is engaged to baker Masetto (Max Parodi). He’s doing his best to be a good Catholic boy and refusing to go all the way before they are married. She does her best to tempt him among the dough and loaves. She’s got needs. Lola’s mom works for the extremely rich Andre (The Devil Rides Out’s Patrick Mower). This guy is rather creepy as he shows off slides of women’s rear ends to a pal. When Lola drops by, she gets a view of the art. Later accidentally sees Andre in a ship’s captain’s outfit doing a private photography session with a woman and a few of his toys. This also turns on the virginal Lola. She’s getting sick of waiting and senses her boyfriend is doing this to control her. Will she rebel and not need a white dress for their wedding?

Tinto Brass and cinematographer Massimo Di Venanzo (who also shot Brass’s All Ladies Do It) make this a great slice of European erotic cinema. Anna Ammirati shines on the screen. The camera makes her a goddess of desires. You don’t judge the priests for sniffing that bicycle seat. The power of Lola compels them. Brass gets a lot of detail in the frame including the time she plays the plucking daisy petals to determine if she’ll marry her fiancé. Except it’s not daisy petals. This is one of the scenes that was snipped by various distributors around the world. The good news is that the Blu-ray has the uncut version that Tinto Brass made on. Tinto Brass astounds the eyes with a mix of bawdy and classy.

If the titles contained in Tinto Brass – Master of Erotic Cinema 2 were on the shelf at West End Video back in the ’90s, I would have checked them out monthly. There’s a lot of sensuality on the screen as his female character explore their inner desires. These four films prove that Brass is a Maestro of Erotic Cinema.

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The Video is 1.85:1 anamorphic for all, but Paprika which is 1.66:1 anamorphic. The transfers bring out the color schemes Tinto Brass uses to highlight his actresses and their erotic adventures. The Audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 on Paprika and P.O. Box Tinto Brass. All Ladies Do It is DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo in both Italian and the English dub. There’s also Mono mix in both Italian and English. Frivolous Lola has Italian DTS-HD MA 2.0 and 5.1. There is an English dub track in DTS-HD MA 2.0 and 5.1. Everything sounds great. All the movies are subtitled in English.


Welcome To The Whorehouse (19:41) has Tinto Brass talk about a how the film wasn’t well received in Naples by feminists. They protested the screening. He had acorns poured on him. He did write the film from him time of hanging out at brothels before they were outlawed in Italy. He used a fake ID to get inside.

Tinto Brass Trailers includes Paprika and five others.

Lobby Card Video Gallery (2:16) has the sizzle.

All Ladies Do It:

Audio Commentary with Eugenio Erolani & Troy Howarth has them get into Tinto Brass’ 18th feature film. They point out where Brass puts his director’s credit.

Interview with Tinto Brass (15:19) was recorded in 2001. He’s hanging out in his dining room, smoking a cigar and discussing what went into making All Ladies Do It. He explains how one actress not only got into this film, but became the lead in his next film. He does the interview in English.

Outtakes (9:57) is from a previous edition. A few of the scenes are now in the uncut movie on the 4K UHD disc. This includes the wild outdoor party.

Still Photo Gallery (2:05) are the publicity photos that would be sent to your favorite gentleman’s magazine.

Trailer Gallery includes All Ladies Do it, Frivolous Lola, Paprika, P.O. Box Tinto Brass and Intintobrass. The last film is a documentary that has Franco Nero, Helen Mirren and Ken Adam discuss their time with the director.

P.O. Box Tinto Brass

Interview Brass (16:01) gets him to talk about cinemas in Venice. He points out there were 30 cinemas and 30 brothels in the city.

Poster & Photo Gallery (1:25) features press photos that mostly wouldn’t be used in your local newspaper.

Trailer (1:06) uses still photos from the production in a jazzy montage.

Frivolous Lola:

Audio Commentary by Eugenio Ercolani & Nathaniel Thompson has them enjoying the film. They give background on Tinto Brass and Anna Ammirati. There’s a discussion about how the film didn’t do as well as expected at the box office. By 1998, the art houses were rather cautious about nudity in the films and mainly running titles from Miramax and other Dependie distributors.

Theatrical Trailers includes Tinto Brass’ films Frivolous Lola, All Ladies Do it, Paprika, P.O. Box Tinto Brass and Istintobrass.

Interview with director Tinto Brass (25:51) was taped in 2004. He speaks in English while talking about the feel. He talks about dealing with distributors over the world who will change titles and cut scenes. His wife was part of the screenwriting process.

Photo Gallery (1:40) is a montage of press photos.

Bonus DVD:

Trailers/Clips has everything from Who Works Is Lost to Instintobrass. There’s even a trailer for Caligula. You get a full sense of Tinto Brass’ cinematic career from the 32 samples. The piece from Hotel Courbet has a Laurie Anderson song.

Outtakes are from P.O. Box Tinto Brass (26:54), Paprika (25:01) and All Ladies Do It (9:20). The footage varies between silent takes and snipped towards the end of final editing.

Four Postcards featuring the posters for the movies. They are suitable for framing.

Cult Epics present Tinto Brass – Master of Erotic Cinema 2: Collector’s Edition. Directed by Tinto Brass. Screenplays by Tinto Brass and others. Starring Debora Caprioglio, Stéphane Ferrara, Martine Brochard, Stéphane Bonnet, Claudia Koll, Paolo Lanza, Cinzia Roccaforte, Anna Ammirati and Tinto Brass. Boxset Contents: 4 movies on 4 Blu-ray discs and 1 DVD. Rating: Unrated. Release Date: May 21, 2024.

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Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.