THE KEY (1983)
Directed and co-written by Tinto Brass
Based on a story by Jun’ichirô Tanizaki’
THE KEY is Tinto Brass’ first major film since the notorious Caligula, a film which I adored. THE KEY is nowhere near as explicit as Caligula, but there’s a great deal to be said about the nudity and physical contact on show here. Whilst the film is soft core, Tinto Brass is gifted into crafting such films as this into erotic art. Scenes in THE KEY never feel dirty or pornographic, instead they are filled with emotion and art – a means to tell the story of a couple who try whatever they can to save their marriage.
British actor Frank Finlay stars as Nino, the husband who wishes to ignite passion into his marriage and gives the go-ahead for his wife to stray. Such a love burns bright in this film but you can’t help wondering in parts whether Teresa, played brilliantly by Stefania Sandrelli, is actually in love with Laszlo or using him purely as a means to solve her marriage. Laszlo, played by Franco Branciaroli, is a charming young man and both Teresa and he instantly connect. Could he bring the excitement to her life that could help spice up her sex life with Nino? The only possible victim in all of this is Teresa and Nino’s daughter, Lisa, played subtly by Barbara Cupisti, who’s love has been snatched under her nose by her own mother! How many daughters would put up with that?
Tinto Brass has managed to encapsulate the beauty of Venice and the sensuality of Jun’ichirô Tanizaki’s story, known in Japanese as Kagi, in this classically shot film. Most sex scenes are done tastefully, with no penetration on show, however shots of bare breast, genitals and masturbation, both mutual and self, are evident.
Arrow Video have brought this title uncut and uncensored to dual format DVD and Blu-Ray and the transfer is impressively crisp. The audio is very reminiscent of the era in which it was made, with a slight muffled noise to it and looks to have been dubbed. I personally love this type of audio and it fits perfectly with the film.
THE KEY is a typical soulful Tinto Brass erotica and with such a touching story, it will keep your interest throughout.