Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fuego (1969)

Directed by Armando Bo
Starring Isabel Sarli, Armando Bo
Rated X

"I need men! I need men!"

Laura (Isabel Sarli) is a woman on fire! She’s a nymphomaniac, a sex fiend, whose depraved lust drives her to ever-lower humiliations. No one man can satisfy her, not even Carlos, her adoring and long-suffering husband. She struggles to stay faithful, but her insatiable snatch forces her to cuckold Carlos again, and again, and again.

Fuego chronicles the torment and frustration of their seemingly doomed love affair, while delivering eye-popping nudity and nonstop lewd behavior.

Directed by Armando Bo (the “Russ Meyer of Argentina”), Fuego starts as every movie should, with our buxom black-haired bombshell skinny-dipping in a lake, then getting toweled off by her horny lesbian housekeeper. Meanwhile, Carlos (Armando Bo, again) ogles Laura from a distance. His heart is gone.

When Carlos runs into Laura at a party, he proposes marriage almost immediately. She consents, and the two immediately get freaky behind a neighbor’s chicken coop.  While her reputation as a floozy is well-known around town, Laura still decides to make a go at monogamy. (This triggers a vicious and tearful beating from Andrea, her aforementioned lesbian housekeeper.)

The monogamy gig doesn’t go so well. As soon as Carlos leaves for work, Laura (decked out in a fur coat and silver gogo boots) takes to the streets, flashing her tits at male passersby, then grabbing a mustachioed horndog for a quick screw. When the deed is done, the dude scrams, and a frantic Carlos finds Laura in a post-coital stupor of shame and depression. Ever the loving husband, he forgives her and vows to help her overcome her “affliction.”

Still, Carlos’ jealous streak is getting hard to control. When he catches Laura humping the electrician, he delivers a flurry of laughable fake punches and draws a pistol, while a sobbing Laura’s pleads “Don’t kill him! Don’t kill him!”

Clearly it’s time to seek professional help. A psychologist/gynecologist (who looks like Van Helsing from the 1931 Dracula) diagnoses nymphomania, but not before a gynecological exam launches Laura into a leg-trembling orgasm.

As Carlos’ jealousy grows, Laura’s genital indiscretions set the scene for Fuego’s awesomely tragic finale. It may be a colossal downer, but how else could such a sordid dime-novel romance end?

 Isabel Sarli is a pulse-pounding pile of pillowy pulchritude. Her gravity-defying jugs explode from her dress in near-comic Jessica Rabbit fashion, while she devours both men and scenery alike. Barely a scene goes by where she doesn’t groan and squirm and fondle herself for no apparent reason. She can’t keep her hands off of herself, and who can blame her? The cameraman smothers the screen with Isabel’s eye-popping cleavage and swooning close-ups her pouty, dolled-up face. (As a slightly unsettling tangent, with all that make-up, Sarli occasionally resembles an extremely sexy version of Divine, the famous drag queen).

Sarli may be the star, but Armando Bo is still good as Carlos, the long-suffering husband. His anguished hamming is the perfect side dish to Sarli’s erotic hysterics. The two were real-life lovers and that chemistry translates to screen, in their face-smooshing tonsil-hockey (you can practically taste the saliva), their naked canoodling in a snow bank, and Bo’s gun-brandishing fits of jealousy.

The music is awesome, too. The tango-infused theme song is crammed with strings, bongos, and electric organs, all set to a painfully romantic melody. It’s a catchy as it is campy.

So you have a jaw-dropping South American sex symbol, ample nudity, torrid romance, groovy tunes, un-PC lesbianism, exhibitionism, and occasional acts of titty-tickling. What’s not to like?

Well, the pace. Fuego is a tight 90 minutes long, but it feels longer. The plot isn’t so much a story as a doomed behavior pattern: temptation, adultery, self-loathing, repeat. After three or so of these cycles, my mind started wandering, until Laura’s horny antics snapped my attention back to the screen. Even with Bo’s anguished over-acting and occasionally gorgeous camerawork, there’s not much to recommend Fuego when Sarli isn’t on screen. Still, when she is, hot damn is it worth the wait!

Availability: The Sizzling Latin Double Feature DVD from Something Weird Video.

-Paulo Phibes


  1. Something Weird really dropped the ball in not releasing the rest of her films that they had.

  2. Hopefully we'll get some more Sarli/Bo DVDs soon. Of course, the two did over 20 films together, so I'm assuming most of them weren't as awesome as Fuego.


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