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Mondo di notte oggi (1976) - Gianni Proia

Mondo caldo di notte (1962) Renzo Russo

Il sexy

Sexy al neon (1962) - Ettore Fecchi

A variation on the mondo film was the “sexy nocturne,” films which exploited female nudity by situating it within a cultish context. Approximately 100 of such films were produced from 1959 to 1970. The francophone countries were the most enthusiastic audiences for the “sexy nocturne.”

The genre was born in Italy with a formula that its creators referred to as the sexy documentary. Alessandro Blasetti got the ball rolling in 1959 with Europa di notte (European Nights) and Io Amo, tu ami (I Love, You Love), proposing to the spectators all that the market of the superfluous and voluptuous could offer. But on close analysis one realizes that the films proceed with a structure that is practically ancient. Like cinema at its birth, the structure attaches itself to the tradition of the fairground spectacle: cabaret and music hall scenes are filmed in their entirety. Like one would expect, nudity dominates and sexuality becomes an exhibition object. However, unlike the naturalist films (nudies) of the 1950s which were marked by the seal of spirituality and ecology, nudity is reclaimed here as an art and profession. The strip teasers being filmed are real dancers. The female sex organ becomes the focal point of the image, capturing the spectator’s eye who imagines a thousand and one fantasies because, despite the strip teasing, the unveiled body still retains an air of mystery.


The “sexy nocturne” becomes easily identifiable, with titles that contain such key words as: women, girls, world, night, and sexy. Out of this arises: Mondo di notte (The World by Night), Sexy al neon, Mondo sexy di notte, Mondo caldo di notte, I piaceri nel mondo, Canzoni di tutto il mondo, Mondo di notte 2, Veneri proibiti, Universo proibito, Sexy ad alta tensione, and many other documentary attractions. As an aside, the actor Franco Interlenghi ventured into the genre as a producer in 1962 with Universo di notte, which starred his Italo-Lebanese wife Antonella Lualdi.


Sometimes these night time reportages are full of falsehoods because they are often fabricated (are we really in Paris, London, Madrid or Hamburg?). The studios of Rome or Milan have often served as locations for the staging of nude scenes.

If at the beginning the “sexy nocturne” displayed, outside of the strip teasers, charming singers and music hall spectacles (ventriloquists, marionettes, acrobats, prestidigitators….), little by little, the striptease soon takes over and constitutes the principal attraction of the films.

During this era the striptease has its beauty queens and develops its own form of star system. Beautiful, sculptural, and with impeccable bodies, these dancers of desire and veritable enchanters, have names like Lady Chinchilla, Rita Hymalaya, Rafa Temporel, Dodo d’Hamburg, Poupée la Rose, Bonita Super, Véronique, Truda, Lova Moor, Bettina Uranium, Sofia Palladium, and Rosa Fumetto. When the mise en scene is not faked, they are filmed direct in the Crazy Horse and the Sexy Club in Paris, and other hot night spots around the world.


The genre no longer exists for reasons which would seem apparent to us today. A change in the direction of erotic cinema has seen its evolution transferred into a cinema of pornography [...] --Elie Castiel via http://www.offscreen.com/biblio/phile/essays/mondo_film/ [Jun 2005]

see also: mondo - documentary film - erotic cinema

Mondo films [...]

Mondo film is a type of quasidocumentary, usually depicting sensational topics and scenes.

The fad started with Mondo Cane (1962) and proved quite popular. Over the years the film makers wanted to top each other in shock value in order to draw in audiences. Cruelty to animals, accidents, tribal initiation rites and surgeries are a common feature of a typical mondo. Much of the action is also staged, even though the film makers may claim their goal to document only "the reality".

The Faces of Death series is probably the best known example.

Killing for Culture: An Illustrated History of Death Film from Mondo to Snuff, by David Kerekes and David Slater, ISBN 1871592208, paperback, 1996

--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondo_film [Mar 2005]

Mondo di notte oggi (1976) - Gianni Proia

Mondo di notte oggi (1976) - Gianni Proia

A rather dull shockumentary dealing with nightlife in different cultures around the world. Probably as a statement to show how liberal the world has become the film kicks off with a nice cosy scene of a family having dinner around a table with an erotic film showing on the TV in the background. No-one bats an eyelid. These days it appears that the average family are not shocked so easily. Out of boredom the young boy in the house switches over. To my surprise (and horror it has to be said), the program on the other side features the favourites of '70s British children's TV, Rod Hull and his hand puppet bird Emu. Who'd have ever thought they'd make an appearance in a mondo film?

After this rather surreal start the film gets bogged down into the usual excuses to show sexy Las Vegas night acts and Paris can can dancers. It all starts to wear thin very quickly. Perhaps at the time all this was considered scandalous but with stronger stuff shown on late night TV it seems so tedious nowadays. There is a bit of gay bondage, towards the end of the film that may shock some people.

The gay club scene is very funny, everyone looks like refugees from "The village people". In London, we are shown clips from a Paul Raymond sex comedy stage show and later in Japan there's some naked soapy massages. That's about it really, not much to recommend for thrill seekers I'm afraid. --http://www.so-sweet.cwc.net/Films/mondo_di_notte_oggi.htm [May 2005]

Il Mondo di notte (1959) - Luigi Vanzi

Il Mondo di notte (1959) - Luigi Vanzi

What if Ed Sullivan had taken his "Really, really big shew" show on the road to Amsterdam, Blackpool, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Hollywood, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Las Vegas, London, New York, Paris, Stockholm and Tokyo? The result might have been similar to this duller-than-dirt travelogue featuring dancing whales, stripping females and a non-performing performing dog. Not to mention the Kim Novak look-alike Ricky Renee, the Bluebell Girls of Paris, strippers such as Feline and Rapha Temporel (the houri of the hammock); juggler Marco of Stockholm, Wild Willie Harris and the Tiller Girls of London. Come to think of it, this looks more like the State Fair of Texas than The Ed Sullivan Show. Plus, the Fair also offers Fletcher's Corney Dogs and three-pound turkey legs... --http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057022 [May 2005]

Italia - anno: 1959 - Technirama in Technicolor - regia: Luigi Vanzi -Interpreti: attori ed attrici di varietŕ di music-hall, di night-club, di strip-tease e attrazioni - produzione: Julia Film - distribuzione: Warner Bros.

Seguendo la moda inaugurata da Alessandro Blasetti con Europa di notte, il film si articola come un documentario, girato nei locali di attrazione delle principali cittŕ del mondo, insistendo in particolare sul pubblico, sul colore locale, sull'atmosfera dei night club o degli altri ritrovi caratteristici (ad esempio quello delle balene danzanti di Hollywood, o la taverna newyorkese dove si esibiscono le vecchie glorie del music-hall americano). Fra gli interpreti: Alfredo Alaria e i balletti Macumba e Malambo del Lido di Parigi; Dodň d'Hambourg e Rapha Temporel del Crazy Horse, Feline, i Fraternity Brothers, il Gospel Show dell'Apolle Theatre di Halrem, i campioni di catch con Maschera Rossa, l'opera Cinese di Hong-Kong, le Rhythmettes di Las Vegas, le balene di Marineland a Hollywood, la casa delle geishe Kiyckawa, Wee Willie Harris e la Rockett's Orchestra, il Queen Bee Cabaret dl Tokyo, con Iuki Rosa, Mara Krup, le Tiller Girl, The Nitwits Band, Ricky Renče la donna mistero, la Spada di San Marco, il Luau di Honolulu, il balletto Tahiti, le Blue Bell Girls del Lido di Parigi, ecc. --http://www.crispinomoto.it/BRAND_VESPA/VESPA_ATTRICE/PAGINE/FOTO_25_IL_MONDO_DI_NOTTE.HTM [May 2005]

Svezia, Inferno E Paradiso (1968)

Svezia, Inferno E Paradiso (1968) - Luigi Scattini (director) Piero Umiliani (music)[Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Album Description
This soundtrack for the so-called „documentary" on the decay of morals in Sweden from 1968 is a long lost jewel of Easy Listening. Properly released for the first time ever it brings us 28 cute little songs called „Photo Models", „Topless Party" or „Beer , Vermouth & Gin" - plus the superhit „Mah Na’ Mah Na’" (as known from „Sesame Street" and many TV-ads). Oh yes - and the soundtrack also features Mr.Gato Barbieri on sax.

Edmund Purdom narrates a documentary about Sweden. It shows contraceptives for teen girls, lesbian nightclubs, wife swapping, porno movies, biker gangs, and Walpurgis Night celebrations. It also examines Swedens drug, drinking and high suicide problems. It featured the Swedish nonsense song "Mah-Na Mah-Na" later used on the "Sesame Street" Show. --http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063660 [May 2005]

see also: soundtrack - mondo

Europa di notte (1959) - Alessandro Blasetti

  • Europa di notte (1959) - Alessandro Blasetti


    Writing credits
    Ennio De Concini
    Gualtiero Jacopetti

    Europe by Night (1959)
    European Nights (1963) (USA)
    Nuits d'Europe (1959) (France)

    This is not a sequel to "Mondo di notte" but rather a film made in the same year. Gualtiero Jacopetti has the writing credits for "Mondo di notte" (1959) but did not direct that movie. Although Gualtiero Jacopetti did influence all this sorts of films, he did not direct all of them. This movie is a potpourri of contemporary nightclub acts, in Europe. --Artemis-9 via imdb.com

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