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John Paddy Carstairs
Amongst the oldest stories in the book is the rise and fall, rags to riches story of a hooker. Even lacking a heart of gold, Belinda Lee is terrific embodying this archetype in a German film that has nothing new to tell us.
Issued in an OK English-dubbed version by Something Weird Video (apart from little old completist me, I doubt if there were many takers) it tells the "true story" of Rosemarie Nitbritt, a post-War German prostitute whose murder was the stuff tabloids drool over. Movie starts with her body being found and then depicts the events leading to this violent end. They unfold in a straightforward, and not all that interesting (apart from the seedy subject matter) manner.
British actress Belinda Lee throws herself into the title role with gusto -she was to die tragically in a car crash two years after the movie's release. Facially she resembles the young Anita Ekberg, and while lacking latter's iconic statuesque body, she is extremely sexy here, often in semi-nude cheesecake shots which qualify the title for the Something Weird catalog.
Storyline is relatively prosaic, showing how a wealthy businessman became her patron and boyfriend, dumping her later on for infidelity reasons, her home life with not so loyal female housekeepers as major characters in the narrative; a leech of a would-be pimp who harasses her and keeps popping up in the movie at regular intervals almost as a dramatic device, and in particular her interesting m.o., driving a luxury Mercedes which she would use, often creating mini-fender bender accidents, to gain male customers.
Among the film's plusses is top-notch night photography of the city that is in the quality league of Henri Decae's great French camera-work of that time (see: SUNDAYS AND CYBELE). There is even a key scene where the camera imperceptibly becomes unglued and all the shots are titled at a 30 or 45 degree angle, an interesting, showy gimmick I first recall seeing in a dissimilar film made the same year, Stanley Kramer's famous ON THE BEACH. There also is a glamorous sequence filmed in Cannes with scenes set at familiar landmarks there like the Carlton Hotel and Hotel du Cap.
Given the material, the movie should have been more graphic or at least more dramatic. As it stands, it isn't all that different from a typical '50s actress vehicle of the type, in that bygone era, made by durable stars like Rosalind Russell, Joan Crawford and Katharine Hepburn so important, but now seems to have become archaic (one can't really find a parallel in current roles for popular but not movie- vehicular stars like Amy Adams or Jennifer Lawrence). The expected sleaze factor, especially bearing the SWV banner, is missing.
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