Night Porter, The - DVD review (3 stars)

The Night Porter

(18) 115min (Anchor Bay UK DVD retail)


This notorious 1974 film about a Holocaust survivor who, years later, becomes infatuated with one of the Nazis who terrorised her in the camps was just one of a number that attempted to deal with the after-effects of fascism at the time. Thematically The Night Porter can be bundled in with Visconti’s The Damned, Bertolucci’s The Conformist, Wertmuller’s Seven Beauties, Tinto Brass’s Salon Kitty and Pasolini’s Salo as perverse exorcisms of a post-war generation. In Liliana Cavani’s film, Dirk Bogarde’s titular porter is determined to stay in the shadows working in a Venice hotel. Destiny of course intervenes when in walks Charlotte Rampling’s still young and beautiful Lucia. In his autobiography Bogarde referred to the script as ‘a terrible mess’, but in places also ‘pretty marvellous’. This didactic and the dynamic between Bogarde and Rampling makes the film still worth seeking out. Extras include interviews with Cavani and Rampling.

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