25 October, 2014

UN PITO PARA TRES (Jess Franco 1984)


Directed by Jess Franco [as Candy Coster]
Photography by Juan Soler
Music by Fernando Garcia Morcillo
Produced by Fervi Films/Madrid
Eastmancolor, Techniscope
Cast: Lina Romay [as Lulu Laverne] (Lulu Laverne / Principe Ahmet = Juanita García), Daniel Katz [as Pito Lungo] (Ramiro), Mari Carmen Nieto [as Marina Lamete] (Marina), Carmen Carrion [as Fanny Clito] (Adela), Antonio Mayans [as Tomé Proculi] (Pedrito Carpini), Joan Parrus (Paula)

 “To this story full of morals and messages, we have given the title… UN PITO PARA TRES. Something rude in Eastmancolor and Techniscope, so that one may see it really big."
Between 1984 and 1986 Jess Franco directed a group of hardcore films, mainly with the aim of making easy money with few days of shooting, with ensured profit on the hardcore circuits. Un Pito Para Tres was the first of the series and, since it was never released on VHS or DVD, an almost unknown title. Franco always detested the hardcore genre, not for its immorality but for cinematographic reasons, and also this time he succeeds all too well in passing on to us his boredom while shooting close-ups of the copulation and fellatio performed by Lina Romay and a pair of doubles. Nevertheless, in its whole the film is a pleasant surprise: an entertaining, amusing and unpretentious comedy of the erotic absurdity which Lina Romay, alias Lulu Laverne, introduces lied on her bed; just as she did about 10 years earlier in Midnight Party (1975), but this time while having sex with a female friend. Lina/Lulu assures us that the story which we are going to view will take place in real beds (In El Sexo Esta Loco-1980- the opening credits mentioned the “real copulations”) and talks about the film as a kind of sociological essay, as a cross section of the change in both sexual and power relations between men and women.

In Un pito para tres, the reversal of gender roles is systematic and programmatic. The “pito” (penis) of the title, played by Daniel Katz (alias Pito Lungo), is the victim of the sexual enthusiasm of his three partners, all of them assuming the cowgirl position. At the beginning of the story, he tries to play the role of the seducer, but very soon he finds himself in trouble, being unable to follow the rhythm of his women. The mistress and the wife get to the point of allying themselves to correct his sexual performance – something that throughout the whole film seems to be pretty difficult – and they don’t leave him in peace until they haven’t reach their aim. We could define Un pito para tres a men-in-sexual-peril film.

The gender perspective travels at a vector from top to bottom, in a totally crazy key. The most original character is Ahmet, the prince of Bagdad, played once again by Lina Romay. Four elements should witness his masculinity: a tenor voice, his tough ways, a male tunic and the head gear that hides the hair. But when the prince takes off the tunic and appears naked, the anatomic details are revealed as definitely female. In short, everybody can easily see that the prince is actually a woman. Everybody, except for his lovers – gay men and straight girls – who realize that they have been cheated only when Juanita García (this is her real name) reveals her female mane.

 The Italian stylist Pedrito Cardini (obviously, a reference to Italian-French stylist Pierre Cardin) finds solace, and pleasure, in the gorgeous Arabian prince’s arms; at least until a piercing scream of despair tells us that he has discovered the dreadful truth. Franco assigns the role of the stylist to Antonio Mayans, the most important actor in his 1980’s films (here under the pseudonym of Tomé Proculi, a pun with the expression “tomar pro culo” which can be translated with “to take it up the ass”), who had already worn gay cloak in Una rajita para dos (1982). Mayans recently completed, both as director and actor, the unfinished last Jess Franco film, Revenge of the Alligator Ladies, and has recalled the repeated joke of his director-friend by playing a romantic scene of gay seduction.

According to the opening credits, the film was directed by Candy Coster, one of Lina Romay’s aka names. But every frame shows the hand of Jess Franco and one of the leit-motifs and trade-marks of his filmography, the image of one or more boats in the middle of the expanse of the sea, appears twice. This image frequently recurs in such films as VAMPYROS LESBOS, LA COMTESSE NOIRE, WOMEN BEHIND BARS, GEMIDOS DE PLACER, and many other Jess Franco films as a kind of signature or code..

*OBSESSION: THE FILMS OF JESS FRANCO -1993, quotes Franco as claiming Emilio Linder is in the cast of this film. He does not appear in the version screened for this review. 

[Thanks to Nzoog for help with the translation of this article. RM] (C) Francesco Cesari 2014

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