Directed by Tinto Brass
Starring Stefania Sandrelli, Frank Finlay, Franco Branciaroli
"When did you ever give me this flesh that sets my prick on fire?"
Theresa ends up having in an affair with her son in law, Lazlo, and much to his bemused surprise, Nino finds that he actually gets off on the resultant jealousy he feels. Next thing you know, his formerly frigid wife is cavorting around in skimpy (for the era, anyway) lingerie, he's taking naughty pictures of her in her sleep, and she's goading him into cross-dressing. Their carefully planned infidelity causes a sexual awakening in both of them, but to what end? Has Nino been successful in his bizarre little plan, or has he ultimately- pun intended- fucked himself?
Luckily for us, a photo gallery is included in the DVD's bonus material, perfect for long, lingering gazes without trying to figure out why they didn't take the garter belt and stockings off of the suddenly ill-stricken Nino before the doctor showed up, or why Theresa starts her own diary, when her husband already knows exactly what she's up to. Tinto himself may actually explain exactly what's going on in the 17 minute interview included here, but his accent is so thick that it's not much help.
Even so, The Key is often regarded as an erotic masterpiece, and I'm inclined to agree. While it's not as refreshingly light-hearted as Brass's Miranda, and certainly not the circus of outrage that Caligula was, it's probably the sexiest film he's made, and that's saying a lot.
Erudite types will certainly enjoy The Key as a clever expose on sexual mores, and the rest of us will just watch it with our pants down. So, you know, everybody wins.
- Ken McIntyre