An Italian import from 1969, The Sins of Madame Bovary stands as one of the more famous offerings of star Edwige Fenech, whose flowing brunette locks, personable demeanor and large, expressive eyes made her a fairly natural screen presence in a string of romantic dramas, sex comedies and other erotic flicks from the 1960s and ’70s.
Gustave Flaubert’s often adapted 19th century novel provides the underpinning, and Fenech stars here as Emma Bovary, an aristocratic woman bored by her bourgeois life, and drifting out of love with her older physician husband, Charles (Gerhard Riedmann). As she daydreams of freedom and a grander life divorced from the formality of society life, a series of other lovers come into play.
Directed by Hans Schott-Schobinger, The Sins of Madame Bovary seems to take as inspiration for its production design template and visual scheme Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard, so full of ornamentation is it. The scale isn’t the same, obviously, but it’s a signifier of Schott-Schobinger and cinematographer Klaus von Rautenfeld’s joint intent and efforts to play up the costume drama and play down the potential for sizzle, no matter the fame of their leading lady. For the most part this works… at least in the theoretical sense. The problem is, for all its surface lushness and attendant focus on feelings and manners, The Sins of Madame Bovary is still burdened by stolid performances and fairly leaden chemistry between the major players.
Housed in a regular plastic Amaray case, The Sins of Madame Bovary comes to DVD divided into 12 chapters and presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, with an Italian language Dolby digital 2.0 audio track and English subtitles. The transfer is fairly solid, free of any edge enhancement but marked by a bit of grain here and there. The DVD cover slaps an airbrushed brassiere on this relatively famous photo of Fenech, and its supplemental features consist solely of a self-scrolling two-minute-plus photo gallery of film stills and international poster images. To purchase the DVD via Amazon, click here, or check Half.com or your other online retailer of choice. C (Movie) C- (Disc)