I racconti di Viterbury – Le più allegre storie del ‘300 (1973)

Director:Mario Caiano
Writer:Mario Caiano (writer)

Cast: Clara Colosimo, Orchidea De Santis, Fausto Di Bella, Rosalba Neri, Toni Ucci, Peter Landers, Mario Frera, Raika Juri, Christa Lindwer, Giacomo Rizzo, Linda Sini.

After the success of Pasolini’s Decameron and Bruno Corbucci’s Boccaccio in 1971, the Italian film industry went wild in 1972-73, producing nearly four dozen imitations in two years! One of these was Tales of Viterbury, directed by Mario Caiano under the pseudonym “Edoardo Re.” Since my Italian vocabulary is largely restricted to food-related words, I cannot vouch for the complete accuracy of the following, but I did my best. Like the bulk of the Decameron imitations, Tales of Viterbury is a period film and consists of a series of episodes.

The framing story: a group of women are doing their laundry and begin to tell lusty tales. Story #1 involves a young man who marries a young woman without ever having seen her face (she always wears a veil, which should have been a warning sign right there, but her mother makes some excuse about a vow, etc., and he falls for it). On his wedding night, the husband is shocked to see that his bride has an attractive body but a really ugly (I mean, witch-ugly) face. Add to this the young man’s inexperience with sex, and the bride is left unsatisfied. Her mother volunteers to give the groom some “lessons,” but as the episode ends, the frustrated bride is stuck outside the bedroom as her mother and husband enjoy themselves. Story #2 concerns the various attempts of a young man to make love to his girlfriend, despite her hostile father’s presence. After numerous failures (he disguises himself as a scarecrow and has himself smuggled into the castle in a barrel, among other schemes), the man gives up. The third story is the longest. A woman and her older husband (who resembles Akim Tamiroff or Víctor Alcocer) move into a “haunted” house. The “ghost” is the woman’s lover, who tries to scare the husband away. However, the man returns with a wacky exorcist. The exorcist turns out to have a thing for the attractive wife himself, and after getting the husband and lover out of the way, starts to get busy, only to be attacked and driven off by a demonic turkey. The turkey apparently has some ideas of its own…