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    The Muti Phenomenon

    Posted by Mike Finnegan on

    Ornella Muti has a handful of noteworthy American movies on her 46-year cinematic resumé, such as her alluring Princess Aura in director Mike Hodges’ outlandish Flash Gordon (1980), an untrustworthy tycoon’s wife in James Toback’s Love and Money (1982), the wife to Sylvester Stallone’s put-upon mobster in the screwball comedy Oscar (1991) from director John Landis, the harried spouse of shifty gambler John Candy in the Eugene Levy-directed Once upon a Crime (1992), and as – perfectly typecast – a glamorous Italian actress in Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love (2012). But this burnished beauty is unmistakably an icon of Italian cinema, from her early career as a teenage model and her constant stream of 1970s and 1980s work in European-based comedies, thrillers and romances for filmmakers as wide-ranging as Sergio Corbucci, Volker Schlondorff, Marco Ferrari, Mario Monicelli and Mike Figgis. Twilight Time is introducing one of her more daring and sensual early performances to hi-def Blu-ray with the arrival of Appassionata (1974), a tale of forbidden love and daring relationships directed and co-written by Gianluigi Calderone. As the attractive daughter of a possessive and sexually adventurous dentist (Gabrielle Ferzetti) and his mentally-ill wife (the legendary Valentina Cortese), she schemes with a friend (Eleonora Giorgi) to turn the tables on her stifling situation in a plan of seduction that pushes boundaries of convention and propriety. Brazenly adult and erotically provocative, it is powered by the sirenlike fascination of the formidable Muti (a mere 18 years old at the time of filming) into becoming an intriguing take on twisted family dynamics. Discover the pleasures and passions of Appassionata on May 10. Preorders open April 27. Plus, there's another prime example of early Muti coming from TT later this year for fans of international cinema to rediscover.