Film snobs can have all the Fellinis and Antonionis they want. But for me, the greatness of Italian cinema is epitomized in the works of its horror luminaries and one Mr. Enzo Castellari. Today, we’ll be looking at a scene from his 1978 WWII epic Inglorious Bastards. A standout title in the macaroni combat subgenre, Inglorious Bastards tells the story of a group of outlaw American soldiers on their way to military prison when their convoy is attacked. Wanting nothing more than to make it to neutral Switzerland, their ever-present, if long-dormant, sense of duty compels them to take on a mission to steal a powerful weapon away from the Nazis.
Though I harbor a great deal of unhealthy affection for his post-apocalyptic films, Castellari’s best film in terms of production and technical merit has to be Inglorious Bastards. The film is shot with a disciplined photographer’s eye and the result is the most gorgeous cinematography of Enzo’s career; made all the more evident by Severin’s pristine Blu-ray release. It also features incredibly awesome performances by both Fred “The Hammer” Williamson and Bo Svenson who both deliver on the casual badass front.
Amid the standard action sequences inherent in any war epic, Inglorious Bastards features moments of outlandish comedy. My favorite has to be a little scene I like to call Die Boobenshüten. The bastards come across a refreshing watering hole as they make their way across Germany that is overflowing with hot naked fraus. Two of them dive into the water and begin playing a game of splashy-splashy. Everything’s going well until Fred Williamson’s character decides to join the party. Suddenly the maids leap from the water and try to bathe our heroes again, but this time in a barrage of gunfire.
This scene is six different kinds of absurd. Forget the fact that a cadre of completely naked women is brandishing firearms, but why is Fred Williamson the deal breaker for them? They start screaming, “Americans, Americans,” so the joke is that they are ardent defenders of the Third Reich. But why weren’t they phased by the two other Yankees swimming naked alongside them? If anything, this combination of nipples and gunpowder proves how The Hammer is inextricably linkedto the American identity as the very sight of him sends Nazi chicks into frenzy.