THE KEY (1983) – Uncut and Uncensored on Dual Edition DVD and Blu-Ray from 20th May 2013

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THE KEY (1983)
Directed and co-written by Tinto Brass
Based on a story by Jun’ichirô Tanizaki’

Set in Venice, Italy during 1939 leading into 1940 under the rule of Mussolini, married hoteliers Teresa (Sandrelli) and Nino (Finlay) are struggling with their marriage after 20 years of being together. Despite their love for one another, Teresa comes across frigid in the bedroom and Nino struggles to satify her during their lovemaking. Questioning the age gap between himself and his wife and noticing Teresa’s fondness for Laszlo (Branciaroli), their daughter Lisa’s (Cupisti) boyfriend, Nino secretly sets his wife up to have an affair with the young man. Covertly suggesting she should persue Laszlo by writing in a diary and asking Laszlo to develop some erotic photos he’d taken of her, Nino sets up the perfect solution for his ailing marriage. By having Teresa see another man, a much younger one at that, fills Nino with such jealousy that actually ignites his own sexual desires towards his wife. Nino keeps abreast of his wife’s newfound relationship by reading her diary, in the full knowledge that she in turn is reading his…

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.

Rating: ★★★★☆

About Bat 6986 Articles
I love prosthetic effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: Kingdom Come: Deliverance


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