Sog.: dal romanzo Histoire de 130 femmes di Léon Gozlan. Scen.: Raffaello Matarazzo, Aldo De Benedetti, Ennio De Concini. F.: (Gevacolor) Aldo Tonti. Mo.: Leo Catozzo. Scgf.: Piero Filippone. Co.: Dario Cecchi. Mu.: Nino Rota. Int.: Kerima (Rosario), Ettore Manni (Pedro Da Silva), May Britt (Consuelo), Tania Weber (Isabella), Elvy Lissiak (Carmen), Luigi Tosi (capitano Fernandez), Marcella Rovena (Rosa), Giorgio Capecchi (Mac Donald), Olga Solbelli (Anita), Giovanna Ralli (deportata). Prod.: Excelsa Film DCP. D.: 101’.
Unlike the classic melodrama with more intellectual pretensions, there is no logical order in this film – just a series of often predictable scenes that are not always seamlessly tied together, but are redeemed by their symbolic Pavlovian meaning. Without superfluous explanations and built around the conditioned reflexes of viewers experienced in the genre, the movie uses canonical images to awaken hatred, desperation, or pity; tears may be shed. The result could be compared to surrealist collages. By cutting out and re-assembling common elements, the usual becomes unusual. But clearly, in cinema, every moment of poetry is involuntary […]. A memorable, erotic sequence is that of the revolt – when every woman attacked by a sailor kisses him on the lips, rendering him docile and compliant. The captain, before being killed himself, murders Isabelle by whipping her (while she says: “I paid for your complicity with my body”), and then everything concludes with an orgy of black dancers, wine that splashes over the bare breasts of the young women in an indescribable jumble of bodies. Disgusted by this spectacle, the two lovers escape by boat, while the ship, abandoned by its crew, sinks. At the last moment, the cook and ex-curate recites the Lord’s Prayer, the women cover their breasts, everyone kneels down, and death captures them in a state of grace. In this film – which I find amusing like many awful melodramas, almost Dadaist for their lack of narrative construction and directing precision – elements like religion, eroticism, women’s magazines, and big sentiments are all piled on without any harmony. And love, radically different from eroticism, often gets its revenge: the unfortunate onlooker, albeit accustomed to telling the difference between the two, has to fill in the gaps himself. After seeing La nave delle donne maledette in a small neighborhood movie theater, I conducted an informal survey among the audience members. During the whole film, the young leading couple exchanged only one very chaste kiss, but every single audience member, without exception, had seen Da Silva and Consuelo going to bed together.
Ado Kyrou, Amour – Erotisme & cinéma, Losfeld, Paris 1967