The film centers around the brutal love affair between a middle-aged American (Brando), mourning the recent death of his wife, and a young Parisian woman he meets while apartment hunting. Their first meeting is intense -- he rapes her -- and their subsequent bouts get increasingly violent (including an infamous anal sex scene involving butter). Throughout their liaisons there are only two constants -- sex and no names.
'Last Tango's' explicit sex shocked audiences around the world -- it was banned by some cities in the U.S. and in some countries (Italy -- Bertolucci's home -- banned it for 15 years), and it caused a media frenzy around the world. Don't forget that when 'Last Tango' was released in 1972, filmmakers were just breaking out from decades of censorship and production code strictures against nudity, profanity and sex in the cinema. (The groundbreaking 'Midnight Cowboy,' for example, was released with an X-rating in 1969). 'Last Tango' pushed the boundaries of what people could see on the big screen.
Maria Schneider died of cancer just one week ago (February 3) at age 58. Next Tuesday MGM Home Entertainment will release a Blu-ray version of the film. To honor Schneider's memory and prepare you for the hi-def DVD -- and to see what caused all that tumult 38 years ago -- we herewith present the complete film for your enjoyment -- free in the darkness of your computer -- courtesy of Hulu.