My Sister Needs a Spanking

Why are they chasing the scantily-clad Niki Linardou? The title of the film tells you: He Adelphe Mou Thelei Xulo!

Or, if you prefer it in English: My Sister Needs a Spanking.

The film, made in 1966, is a comedy about the generation-gap tensions of its era, with the twist that they are happening within the same generation.

Niki Linardou plays Marianna Dokos, a flighty modern miss who dresses in contemporary fashion and is convinced that she is on her way to stardom after winning a beauty pageant.

Her older (much older) brother Spyros (GIannis Gionakis), a humble and diligent clerk, has other ideas.

He wants to get her married to a decent electrician, and to that end, he decides to give her a dowry, in the form of a luxury apartment, so that they don’t have to start their married life living with him and their widowed mother. The only snag is that, because he is only a clerk, he can’t afford to buy it. So he asks for a loan from his philandering boss, Fragopoulos, who is at first too preoccupied with a succession of pretty girls to give him a hearing, and when he does, refuses. He changes his mind when he sees Marianna’s picture in the paper,

and sees in her a prospective future conquest.

Horrified to learn that his sister has been displaying herself in her bra and panties, Spyros expresses his disapproval in physical terms…

like this:

 

Because obviously he wants to discourage any and all attention to her callipygean charms.

It’s time to face the movie’s major disappointment. In a series of heated arguments with Spyros, Marianna often turns her back on him, colluding with the title to tease us into the expectation that she might be about to get her bottom smacked; but when he does lay a hand on her, it’s to slap her face. The spanking of the title is nothing but a figure of speech, implying ‘needs to be taught a lesson’ rather than any more literal interpretation.

But if you can do that with words, you can do it with visual imagery too. The posters didn’t only show Marianna being pursued by men wielding spanking implements. On one of them, Spyros had caught her:

The scene was also used in newspaper publicity,

and on the DVD cover, showing the actual moment of contact:

It’s an obvious and welcome elaboration of the title, but it is not a scene from the film. Another iteration of the DVD cover, with less clutter in the way, enables us to identify not only that it was staged on location during filming, but also exactly which scene was being shot at the time:

The ivy on the wall tells us that they are outside the Dokos family home, and the scene is about a quarter of the way into the film: the two cars in the picture, the lighter in front and the darker behind, are the ones that pull up at the house, full of Marianna’s friends, to take her off to a party against Spyros’ wishes. Brother and sister have their confrontation inside, and he is still in there, looking powerlessly out of the window, as the cars drive away with Marianna on board. Off she goes to the party to have some groovy fun.

No doubt some more conservative Greeks would have thought she deserved a spanking for disobeying the head of the family, or even just for going to the party,

 

and maybe some would find other inducements to spank her in her style of dancing,

but the fact is that she gets taught her lesson much later in the film and in a completely different way. After enjoying some good times on Fragopoulos’ yacht, she arrives at his office one day to be refused admission.

It turns out that he’s busy with his next girlfriend, her successor, and the rebound takes her to a more stable relationship with her brother’s choice, the electrician. So they live happily ever after, while we can look on the bright side by appreciating some nice spanking publicity pictures.

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