Watched a pretty appalling sexy comedy the other day called Supersexymarket directed by Mario Landi and starring Giorgio Ardisson and Femi Benussi. Its title pretty much sums up its, achem, highly sophisticated nature. However, this post isn’t about Supersexymarket – which I’ll cover in my Giorgio Ardisson special – it’s about Sergio Simonetti, the producer.
Simonetti is an interesting figure. I don’t know anything about his background, and the first credit I can find for him was as a production manager on Mino Guerrini’s Decameron No. 2 – Le altre novelle di Boccaccio (72). This was produced by Gabriele Crisanti, another adventurer in the world of low budget Italian cinema, whose name will crop up again in Simonetti’s story. As an aside, one of the confusing things about his films is that Simonetti was credited as Production Manager on almost all of his films, but in some of them no other producer is credited and he would seem to have had more than just an organisational role.
Anyway, after Decameron No. 2 he was involved with 2 Andrea Bianchi films, Quelli che contanto (aka Cry of a Prostitute) and the Jacques Dufilho comedy Basta con la guerra… facciamo l’amore (74), both of which he co-wrote as well being credited as production manager.
The really fascinating period of his career came next. A lot of people have heard of Nude per l’assassino (Strip Nude for Your Killer), again directed by Bianchi in 1975. It’s a sleazy, sordid giallo that didn’t do too badly in the Italian cinemas. There are three production managers credited, Simonetti, Carlo Papa and one Guglielmo Simonetti (a relation, perhaps?). However, it’s notable for being shot in Milan rather than Rome, and this was also the case for Simonetti’s next films, I viziaccio and Supersexymarket, both directed by Mario Landi. The filming location wasn’t the only thing these films had in common, they all also share several castmembers (Femi Benussi, Amanda, Franco Diogene) as well and they all took a long time to make it to the big screen, not being released until 1979 or 1980. And this also links them up to another Milan shot film, Guido Zurli’s Il terno a letto, also featuring Amanda and Franco Diogene (as well as Michelle Megale and Vincenzo De Toma, who were also in both the Landi films), which was shot at around the same time and also eventually released in 1980. Most filmographies for Simonetti don’t include Il terno a letto, but information is so scanty about the film I wouldn’t bet against it being made as part of the same production package.
After these three films shot in 1976(ish), though, Simonetti disappeared. Mario Landi went on to shoot another Milan shot comedy starring Benussi, Le impiegate stradali – Batton Story, produced by Crisanti again and… Giuliano Simonetti! Giuliano Simonetti was a very busy producer who made peplums, spaghetti westerns and a lot of sexy comedies (many of which starred Femi Benussi, was she involved with him). Was he a relative of Sergio and Guglielmo? Or even the same person as one or both of them?
Whatever the case, it’s a fascinating and extremely confused little history…