6.8/10
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88 user 85 critic

The Night Porter (1974)

Il portiere di notte (original title)
R | | Drama | 1 October 1974 (USA)
After a chance meeting at a hotel in 1957, a Holocaust survivor and the Nazi officer who tortured her resume their sadomasochistic relationship.

Director:

Liliana Cavani

Writers:

Liliana Cavani (screenplay), Italo Moscati (screenplay) | 5 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
4,826 ( 627)

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ON DISC
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dirk Bogarde ... Max
Charlotte Rampling ... Lucia
Philippe Leroy ... Klaus
Gabriele Ferzetti ... Hans
Giuseppe Addobbati ... Stumm
Isa Miranda ... Countess Stein
Nino Bignamini Nino Bignamini ... Adolph
Marino Masé ... Atherton (as Marino Mase')
Amedeo Amodio Amedeo Amodio ... Bert
Piero Vida Piero Vida ... Day Porter
Geoffrey Copleston Geoffrey Copleston ... Kurt
Manfred Freyberger Manfred Freyberger ... Dobson (as Manfred Freiberger)
Ugo Cardea Ugo Cardea ... Mario
Hilda Gunther Hilda Gunther ... Greta
Nora Ricci ... The Neighbor
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Storyline

Thirteen years after WWII a concentration camp survivor (Rampling) and her tormentor, currently the night porter at a Vienna hotel, meet again and fall back into their sado-masochistic relationship. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Most Controversial Picture of Our Time!

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 October 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Night Porter See more »

Filming Locations:

Lazio, Italy See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Lotar Film Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor) (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to an interview given by Charlotte Rampling on the National Public Radio program "Fresh Air", the scene where she dances and sings topless in a Nazi outfit was the first scene filmed. See more »

Goofs

In the flashback with the ballet dancer, dancing in a kind of gym, there is a shot with a poster of Himmler against a pillar. There are also 2 guards standing on the right. A bit later the same angle and the poster is gone and the guards have disappeared. See more »

Quotes

[Max and Lucia are laughing while caressing each other]
Max: Ah, no, no. Too fast, too fast. Too long. Too long.
[kisses her]
Lucia: Oh, Max, Max...
Max: [stressful] Tell me, why'd you come? Tell me. Tell me!
Lucia: [screams] I WANT YOU!
Max: Tell me what to do. Tell me where to go. Tell me what to do.
Lucia: No...
Max: Tell me what to do!
Lucia: [laughing] No!
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in Italo Moscati on 'The Night Porter' (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Portiere di notte
(uncredited)
Composed by Daniele Paris
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Very flawed but interesting and often beautiful film
23 December 2001 | by zetesSee all my reviews

It's easy to dismiss a film like this or Salo or In the Realm of the Senses as garbage. It's too easy, in fact, and not very fair. These films are all very interesting, if you can take them. And, if you can't stand the heat, hey, stay out of the kitchen.

Among the ranks of what I'll call the Artsploitation flick, The Night Porter is rather tame. There are only a couple of hardcore sex scenes, and there are really only two scenes with nudity.

What I like about this film is, first and foremost, the performance by Dirk Bogarde. The subtle guilt and shame he projects is simply amazing. He really builds a three dimensional character, and mostly without dialogue. Other performers are weaker. Charlotte Rampling, his captive, gives a very uneven performance. Sometimes it seems on the money, other times it seems forced, or blank. None of the others are really worth mentioning, except for that one actor's ballet dancing, which is quite remarkable.

Cavani's direction is sensuous. I saw this film for the second time today,

and I had failed to notice before that it was directed by a woman. Unfortunately, that doesn't affect my reading of the film any, but it is interesting. This definitely seemed like a male project. Cavani's direction has a certain grace, a certain elegance. The film contains several scenes that could be called masterpieces in the midst of a lesser work. My favorite in the entire film is the one where Lucia locks herself in the bathroom, breaks a bottle in front of the door, and then allows Max to run in after her. This scene is so marvelously directed, it would work particularly well when seen as a separate entity. The famous nude cabaret song, the one depicted on the Criterion cover, is also exquisite.

Technically, it is perfect. The cinematography is beautiful, as I've mentioned. The musical score is also gorgeous. It's possibly one of the greatest. The biggest failure of the film is definitely its script. The story is very difficult to follow. It's never clear exactly what has happened since the war, and what these former Nazis are doing in Vienna. It's also unclear what exactly the trials are that are always being brought up. And I'm not sure what they are afraid of, what they originally plan to do with Lucia, or anything like that. Or why they can't break into Max's apartment again. A lot of this stuff seems silly. I would have also liked Lucia's character better developed. We get the sense that she accepted Max's advances so quickly so that she could get his protection, which she receives in that biblical dance scene. I want more yet. With Max so well developed, Lucia feels somewhat like an object for the plot.

I rate this a high 7/10.


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