Luca Damiano’s pornographic retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet strays slightly from the plot of the original but there is an effort to retain the wit and meter of Shakespeare’s writing as when Damiano’s Hamlet approaches two women and announces “My dick is already thick and wishes to show your cunts a little trick. I’m going to put it in each of you like two bitches you are.” This line is actually a relief after all the add libbed dubbing done over the actual sex scenes. Lines like “mmmmm, Ah boy! this is great! Ahhh!”
Hamlet: For Love of Ophelia, was made in 1995 in Italy. The sex scenes are little more erotic than classic 70’s fair but still leave a lot to be desired, so to speak. The actors replace genuine arousal with enthusiastic pantomimes. The men often seem to be barely hard enough to manage their roles.
Damiano did make some effort to convey the basics of the celebrated tragedy, but he wasn’t afraid to color a bit outside the lines either. We get to see Claudius poison Hamlet’s father but first Claudius has to screw Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, in her bed while Hamlet’s father lays there sleeping. Instead of pouring poison in the King’s ear Claudius pours it on Gertrude’s vagina. Then when Hamlet’s father tastes of Gertrude’s delights, copious bubbles begin to fly out from betwixt her thighs, and Hamlet’s father drops dead.
Apparently, Elizabethan lovemaking is not complete without anal perpetration. Every encounter includes it. I’m not sure how the translation was done but every sex scene also includes calling the female participant a bitch. It’s not said with much malice or gusto, it sounds a bit more like a nickname. The dubbed in voices, as a whole, seem almost bored or disinterested with what is happening on screen. I wonder how much they were paid to pant into a mic.
Christoph Clark who played Hamlet certainly worked hard for his paycheck. He is to be commended for his core strength. He has acrobatic sex with a total of 4 women in this production. I’m not sure how long it took to film the movie but his lower back muscles are to be admired. I suppose Sarah Young, the woman who plays Ophelia, must also have quite an impressive lower back, considering the amount of silicone she is hauling around on her chest. A toast to their combined Spinalis, and Quadratus Lumborum.
Damiano’s new end to the play is a bold move but in many ways might be an improvement. Nothing ventured nothing gained! Shakespeare’s original is just an all-out bloodbath. Too messy! Damiano stages the play within a play which leads directly into the climactic sword fight. In Damiano’s version Claudius first kills Gertrude, then Ophelia, then Hamlet and Claudius kill each other simultaneously. If you are following along with the original script in hand you might want to put the script away. Shakespeare kills 9 people in his Hamlet, Damiano mercifully brings the total down to 4.
At the last moment, Damiano pulls out all the stops and pulls the camera back breaking the fourth wall and revealing that the whole film was actually a play performed in front of an audience. We see the backs of the audience’s chairs and heads, which of course erects a second fourth wall but before things get too metaphysical, techno music starts to pump and we see the whole half-naked cast singing along to a song written for the film. Imagine a driving techno beat with a small female chorus chanting “fuck, fuck, fuck, forever” over and over again. Then a vigorous sounding mob of men come in with the chorus “To fuck or not fuck!” It may not be Andrew Lloyd Webber, but how many Shakespeare plays offer you a theme song?
Damiano is no stranger to porn versions of the classics. He has made XXX versions of Pinocchio, The Orient Express, Snow White, Salome, Zorro, and The Exorcist. He is still alive today and has a bit of a reputation as a porn maestro.
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