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  Loaded Gun Andress gets undressed for success
Year: 1974
Director: Fernando Di Leo
Stars: Ursula Andress, Woody Strode, Marc Porel, Isabella Biagini, Lino Banfi
Genre: Comedy, Sex, Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: First, an apology to any ladies reading who find the next sentence rather puerile. Bond fans, Honey Ryder gets naked in this movie! Ahem…

A plane lands in Naples, where hot-to-trot air stewardess Nora (Ursula Andress) delivers a letter to murderous mobster Silvera (Woody Strode). The letter comes from a mysterious assassin known only as “the American”, cheerfully announcing his intentions to kill Silvera, steal his money and wipe out his entire gang. Theorising the American works for rival gang lord Don Calò, Silvera decides to use Nora as bait to lure out the elusive assassin. His thugs rough her up and dump her by the roadside, but she is sheltered by good-hearted ex-boxer, Manuel (Marc Porel). Naughty Nora proves much more than she seems, bamboozling Don Calò, Silvera and the local police inspector (Lino Banfi) with ingenious tricks and steamy sexual encounters. Aided by a blind beggar, a lecherous priest and a randy taxi driver (Banfi again), Nora shoots, screws, and schemes her way to victory.

As the jaunty musical score suggests, Loaded Gun attempts to meld an Italian sex comedy with the gangster genre. Conceived by crime-thriller specialist Fernando Di Leo as a humorous remake of A Fistful of Dollars (1964), the film offers the engaging spectacle of Ursula Andress outsmarting and outgunning macho, misogynistic mobsters, while flashing her legs at every opportunity. Action scenes are slapstick in nature, with speeded-up sequences a la Benny Hill and the goofy, wayward plot occasionally grows tiresome, but Andress’ flirty, tough-talking heroine always brings things back on track. Di Leo, better known for grittier fare like Milano Calibre 9 (1972) and Manhunt (1972), held fond memories of her bikini-clad entrance in Dr. No (1962) and made his movie into sort of a love letter to the screen icon. The film wasn’t well-received by Italian film fans, but was successful throughout wider Europe, with Andress praised for her ability to fight, fall and shoot as well as any male action star.

Most of Di Leo’s collaborators interviewed in the documentary “A Parody of a Kind” (included in the Italian region 2 disc from Raro DVD) heap praise on the gurning Italian comics who populate the supporting cast, but seem embarrassed about Andress’ involvement. Assistant director Luca Damiano proves the worst offender, making unkind remarks about her physical appearance (“her tits were over familiar” - what on earth does that mean?) and concluding “she was a bit of a disaster.” His opinions aside, Andress is lovingly photographed. She looks very chic in a glittery, black dress slit to the thigh and a white feather boa, goes full-frontal nude for plentiful soft-core sex scenes, and in one memorable bit goes clubbing wearing nothing but a red scarf. No wonder all the men here look flustered. More crucially, Andress makes a fine, almost Hawksian, heroine, able to take a punch and dish them out (it’s still slightly disconcerting to see her punched in the stomach), always ready with a Mae West style quip and a knowing wink. The rest of the movie can't quite match her, but passes the time quite amiably.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


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