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Monday, July 06, 2009

DVD Review: The Hostess also likes to Blow the Horn

DVD Released:
May 19th, 2009
Approximate Running Time: 90mins
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Italian
Subtitles: English
DVD Release: Sinful Mermaid
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95

The Hostess Also Likes to Blow the Horn

The Film

Everybody has at least one pet theory.

Mine is that humour doesn’t travel well and is instead very much linked to a certain place and time. The comedy we enjoy is usually very much current and based on our own cultural background and experience.

After all when was the last time you choked laughing at one of the Shakespearian comedies or chuckled at a Punch cartoon? And, hey, those Minstrel shows sure aren’t going to have a come back anytime soon.

Likewise, we may all enjoy a good Asian action extravaganza, but who can really stomach the comical interludes in a Hong Kong movie? And what would you rather choose to watch: A giallo or one of those Italian military comedies of the same period? And few people know that some of the most popular German movies at the moment are all local comedies. Surely no laughing matter.

So here we have a nearly 40-year old German/Italian sex comedy. How has The Hostess Also Likes to Blow the Horn stood the test of time?

The plot is short and sweet: With their last money budding actors Susanne (Justine in this print, played by Terri Todai) and Ferdinand (Harald Leipnitz) buy an Inn without knowing that the local Baron has raised taxes on just about everything such as drinking, smoking and – hoo haa – fornicating so that he can make enough money to finally be able to marry an otherwise unwilling but pauperised noble lady (Rosalba Neri) and become a Count.

In order to circumvent this strict tax regime the new Inn keepers revert to camouflage and party behind the doors of an apparent new convent school. Meanwhile the true heir to the Count’s title (Glenn Saxson) also attempts to regain his family’s rightful position.

Is it funny? Not really. At least my lips didn’t show any signs of an upward movement during the entire run.

Any other upward movements?

Well, there is ample nekkidness on display, so that usually cuts the deal with me anytime. It is, however, utterly bizarre to see scenes of attempted rape to be displayed in a comedic manner like at the start of this film when we see Napoleonic troupes ravaging the country. Most of the local maidens seem to end up giving in to those violations all too easily and if they don’t, well, then it is all still good for a larf. Say what you want about political correctness, but the 70s sure had a strange way of dealing with rape as a subject of entertainment.

Truth be told the film is not as annoying as some other similar comedies of the time and it is a great opportunity to see the likes of Rosalba Neri, Spaghetti Western hero Glenn Saxson or Andrea Rau, one of the Daughters of Darkness, in an otherwise rare outing.

Anyone familiar with German cinema at the time will also recognise a lot of familiar faces. In actual fact what always intrigues me is how regularly very well respected actors such as Harald Leipnitz (who also appeared in some of the Edgar Wallace krimis), German comedy star Willy Millowitsch or Rudolf Prack volunteered to appear in soft sex comedies. It’s kind of the equivalent of having wholesome household names like Dick Van Dyke show up in a Robin Askwith Confession flick.

The Hostess Also Likes to Blow the Horn is part of a loose series of “Wirtin” (landlady, hostess) films all directed by German sex comedy specialist Franz Antel and starring Hungarian stunner Teri Tordai as the eponymous land lady in charge of various inns and houses of ill repute.

Transfer, Audio and Extras

This DVD is not just a vanilla, but actually a PLAIN vanilla release. Apart from a small picture gallery we are not even offered the chance to listen to the original German language track. Instead we only have the Italian dub with English subtitles. Though this was a German/Italian co-production in terms of production value the emphasis was very much on the German part. With Franz Antel, a German director, on board as well as a number of very prominent German actors in the line-up the original shooting language would have been in German. In actual fact at least one of the actors, Willy Millowitsch, was famous for his prominent Kölsch (Cologne) accent and having his and other voices replaced by a neutral Italian dub is like having to listen to an indifferent German dub of an actor known for his Cockney.


Overall The Hostess Also Likes to Blow the Horn is far from being a great or even a good film. It can be found at the lower end of the just about acceptable spectrum and really is only good on those famous rainy days when you have nothing else to watch.

Review by Holger Haase

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