A forty year old woman, who has been in an asylum, goes to live with her brother's family. She proves incapable of adapting herself to family life, takes refuge in the country alone with her memories, and is later returned to the asylum.
Peter Gonzales Falcon
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Thirteen years after World War II, concentration camp survivor Lucia (Charlotte Rampling) and her tormentor Max (Sir Dirk Bogarde), currently the night porter at a Vienna hotel, meet again and fall back into their sado-masochistic relationship.Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
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 »
In the flashbacks, Max is wearing the War Merit Cross First Class with Swords upside down on his SS uniform. See more »
He doesn't answer. It's off the hook.
[lights a cigarette]
Tell me, Bert. How long have you known Max?
Let's not talk about it.
You don't, er... dance for him anymore?
I've lost him.
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The Magic Flute
is a Stereo Recording
by Deutsche Gramaphon number 138981/83
Edizioni Musicali C A M Spa - Roma
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (uncredited)
Conducted by Karl Böhm (as Karl Bohm) See more »
Offbeat And Controversial
Max (Dirk Bogarde) is a middle-aged man who works as a night porter for a chic hotel in Vienna. One day a woman and her husband register at the hotel. Immediately, the woman, Lucia (Charlotte Rampling), and Max recognize each other from years earlier, when she was a victim in a Nazi concentration camp, and Max was a Nazi guard. Their relationship at that time was one of master/slave. Now reunited by fate, Max and Lucia resume their strange, erotic relationship.
This is a difficult film to sit through, not because of the erotic subject matter, but because of a script that is too timid. It's almost as if the writer and/or the director were afraid to confront the controversial topic head-on. So they set out to downplay it. And did they ever! The plot is circuitous, the dialogue is taciturn, and characters are listless. Frequent flashbacks to the Nazi concentration camp muddle the story rather than clarify it. The only part I found engaging was the sequence at the Nazi sex club.
The film has been described as a psychological study of masochism. But I don't know that we really learn much about the topic, as it is approached in such a standoffish way. I didn't like either Max or Lucia. Indeed, none of the script's characters are particularly sympathetic.
Color cinematography is adequate, if unremarkable. Background music is low-key and a tad mournful. The film's overall tone is somber and gloomy. Dirk Bogarde gives a dull, mannered performance. Charlotte Rampling's performance is almost indistinguishable from that of a department store mannequin.
I admire the attempt to make a film whose story was, at the time, offbeat and controversial. So "The Night Porter" gets points from me for the courage of its story concept. But the resulting film left me bored and uninterested, as it is terribly drawn-out, aloof, thematically generic, and very, very tedious.
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