Isabel Sarli’s films are definitely the most melodramatic sexploitation movies around, with exaggerated plots and huge indulgences of sexuality. I have reviewed a couple of them in this forum, so I knew what to expect, but suddenly I was surprised. Here is a movie that actually tries to be more than just a typical sexploitation movie, featuring a bigger budget and a better script, and not such an emphasis on sex. It still features the tragic love elements Sarli’s films contain, but not in the excess I’m used to. The first part of the film is the best, featuring Sarli as a beautiful young stooge who gets framed by her boyfriend (Armando Bo, the director and her husband) with stealing diamonds. So, she decides to go into hiding with a crazy drug-addicted painter to Mexico. Smart choice.
Here, the movie takes a more romantic step, with Sarli falling in love with the painter’s brother, who is an archeologist or a tour guide, I’m not sure which. While the two fall in love, the painter is trying to create the perfect image of Sarli. These scenes are by far the most demented, with the guy taking pills and mushrooms to become crazier, and imagining Sarli nude. These are the only scenes that feature Sarli in the nude, by the way, and it’s actually pretty artistic and nowhere near as exploitative as in the more famous work like Fuego, Carne and Insaciable. She’s got a better figure, too, a beautiful hourglass figure. I wonder why Russ Meyer never used her.
Eventually the mobsters show up but Sarli and her husband are able to get married and get some pity out of the criminals (only in the movies, folks). But she can’t help but be tragic, and after making love, what follows is the most epic suicide scene in the history of the cinema. Our heroine walks off into the beach and walks into the water to drown herself, all to the tune of the famous last song from the Tannhauser opera by Richard Wagner, more famous for being used in the Looney Tunes cartoon What’s Opera, Doc (“Retuuuurn, my loooove”). So yes, it features some of the typical melodramatic elements featured in the Sarli/Bo films, but the film is also better scripted and better produced, with every intention of making Sarli a powerful superstar, and she did. Only love can do that, folks, only love.