Aug 31, 2012

Review: The Alcove - 1985




The Alcove
Director: Joe D’Amato
1985
Drama/Erotic

When Elio De Silveris – a colonel, returns from the war, he does so with a trophy. He’s been given the chiefs daughter as a gift and she is now his slave. It the house his wife isn’t too please about having the “savage” present and make racist comment all the time. She suppresses the black girl and tries to humiliate her at first. After a while she gives in to her beauty though and the slave girl plans her revenge on the couple and on the colonel’s secretary. Pretty soon it isn’t that clear who is the slave and who is the master anymore. Zerbal – the black woman, seduces everybody with her beauty and love making skills and the former masters become her slaves.

I’ve seen and reviewed a few flicks by Joe D’Amato (Aristide Massaccesi) before but this is the first time I do so in English. D’Amato is certainly an uneven director, he made tons of films and only a few of them are mentioned when it comes to discussions about him or his movies. There are of course Anthropophagous, which is more or less the same movie as both Porno Holocaust and Erotic Night of the Living Dead minus the hardcore sex. And speaking of hardcore, D’Amato more or less stopped doing regular movies and devoted himself to porn at the end of his career. This is done before that moment and doesn’t contain any porn at all, no hardcore material is present but there’s plenty of softcore to enjoy!

There are not many actors in this film, and most of them are notable in one way or another. Al Cliver plays the colonel and there’s also Lilli Carati and Annie Belle as the wife and secretary. But most importantly, there’s Laura Gemser. I’ve written a great deal about her stunning beauty in other reviews and this is no exception. She’s absolutely fabulous and the others fade in her presence.

I don’t usually think that she’s a great actor, and she doesn’t need to be in an erotic drama with her looks, but here she outdoes herself. She transforms her character brilliantly between the submissive slave girl to the strong master she’s becoming. At first I didn’t think much of it but at the end of the film it’s obvious. She’s changed herself as much as the other have, or even more so!

But the first half of the film is not much to remember. There are just some softcore scenes, which indeed are beautiful, but not remarkable. The last half is where the entire main plot takes place. Of course the first part is needed as a base to build the twists on but the base is kind of boring to watch. The second half is very entertaining and has some softcore in it also. The ending comes much as surprise but it’s a little too abrupt I think. However this is a very fine film and I would say that this is far better than most of the more recognized films by D’Amato, a real gem actually!