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Released: 1981
Director: Carlos Aured
Notes: Spain, softcore comedy, 76 mins. Official DVD edition by Video Mercury/Edider 88 (region 0, newsstand release, non-anamorphic, letterboxed)
Alternate Titles
  • El Fontanero, su mujer... y otras cosas de meter
  • The Plumber, His Wife, and Other Things to Put...

Males -

  • Ricardo Díaz plays Mario
  • Antonio Parrilla plays Fernando
  • Carlos Sánchez plays Paco

Plot Summary -

Mario’s uneventful domestic life is interrupted one day when he catches his seemingly faithful wife Rosa in bed with his best friend Fernando. After locking Rosa in their flat, Ricardo starts to undergo a mid-life crisis along with doubts about his continuing virility. These are soon overcome when, as he goes about his daily business as a plumber, he finds more and more one-off sexual partners among his female customers. Later, Fernando’s wife Julia will come up with a solution to all problems – one lying, in fact, beyond the scope of Mario’s old-fashioned world view.

Some remarks -

Made on a very low budget, this Spanish effort managed to sell a handsome 399,892 tickets in its own country, where the rhyming, raunchy title became familiar even among people outside the genre’s viewership. In common with other Spanish sexploitation films of the early 1980s, Aured’s film seems to wink at the hardcore genre, whose legalisation lay round the corner at the time. Such an approach here takes the form of an episodic narrative structure wherein the storyline (basically an old-fashioned comedy of errors) temporarily comes to a halt in the mid-section for the benefit of the protagonist’s successive (simulated) encounters – even if, it must be said, the different sex scenes are not as permutable as they might seem, the whole series progressively showing the protagonist’s increasing self-confidence. Structured like hardcore, but not containing any hardcore elements, El fontanero… curiously revolves around a premise corresponding to most people’s cliché notions of what porn films are about: the idea of a plumber, gas inspector, postman, travelling salesman, etc. finding immediate (if transitory) intimacy with the lonely woman he has come to visit.

The film’s cheap and hurried production shows in the rough colour processing and some ugly sets and décor. What saves the film is a friendly, humorous tone. The old-fashioned Hispanic macho plumber, whose crisis is precipitated by an act of infidelity on his wife’s part, is viewed critically but at the same time, this being a comedy, not allowed by the filmmakers to physically abuse his wife, meaning that he merely locks her in the flat; and it is left to a liberal family friend (Lina Romay) to set things aright. Aured, in any case, times his accumulative sex scenes sensibly, knowing when to stop, and there are spirited performances by both Romay and Montserrat Prous (as the wife), but the funniest, paradoxically, may be Ricardo Díaz, with his serious macho demeanour amidst the more overtly comedic acting of his co-stars. It is worth noting, finally, that the film contains the idea of a “quatrimonial alliance” that was also present that very same year in Jess Franco’s (seemingly earlier) El sexo está loco, which also had Romay in the cast. Whether this idea was filtered by Romay from one film to the other is not clear.

Nzoog Wahlrfhehen, 11/7/08


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