Seven Beauties (1976): Wertmuller’s Controversial, Oscar Nominate Prison Drama starring a Terrific Giancarlo Giannini

Italian filmmaker Lina Wertmuller became the first woman ever nominated for a directing Oscar for “Seven Beauties” (“Pasqualino Settebellezze”).The title refers to the protagonist’s nickname (“Settebellezze”) for having seven ugly sisters.
Written and directed by Wertmuller, the film stars Giancarlo Giannini in an Oscar nominated role as Pasqualino, a soldier who deserts the Italian Army. Captured, he is sent to a concentration camp where Pasqualino tries to seduce the obese female commandant (Shirley Stoler) in order to save his life. Pasqualino is then put in charge of the barracks and has to select six men to be killed; under pressure, he shoots his best friend.
Earlier, Pasqualino kills the pimp who turned his sister into a prostitute in order to save the family honor. Pasqualino later prostitutes himself and upon his return to Naples finds that his seven sisters have survived and become prostitutes.
Shirley Stoler’s character was inspired by Ilse Koch, known as the “the Bitch of Buchenwald,” wife of the camp’s commandant Karl Otto Koch, who took sadistic pleasure in torturing inmates.
Giancarlo Giannini plays a complex role,  a Casanova imprisoned in concentration camp, a formerly strutting Neopolitan macho who is forced to crawl for his sheer survival, going through humiliation and degradation
He starred in three other Wertmuller films: “Love and Anarchy,” “The Seduction of Mimi,” and “Swept Away.” He also made several English-speaking pictures.
The film was controversial at the time for its graphic, grotesque depiction of concentration camp scenes, as well as some surreal imagery that invited comparisons to Fellini. 
“Seven Beauties” was also nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film and Best Original Screenplay.
Oscar Alert
The Best Actor Oscar went to Peter Finch for “Network,” which also won Original Screenplay for Paddy Chayefsky. 
John G. Avildsen won the Directing Oscar for “Rocky,” which won Best Picture. The Foreign-Language Film winner was “Black and White in Color.”