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The Night Porter (Criterion Collection) (1974)

Cast: Dirk Bogarde, Dirk Bogarde, Charlotte Rampling, more...
Director: Liliana Cavani, Liliana Cavani
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Studio: Criterion
Genre: Drama, Erotica, Criterion Collection
Running Time: 118 min.
Subtitles: English
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Max (Dirk Bogarde) is a discreet, unassuming night porter working in a posh hotel in Vienna in 1957, tending to the guests' needs, from cold water to a bed-warming gigolo. Then Lucia (Charlotte Rampling) arrives at the hotel, on the arm of her husband, an American composer, and Max's past comes flooding back to him. It turns out Max was an S.S. officer at a Nazi concentration camp where Lucia was a beautiful young prisoner. She became, in effect, Max's sexual slave. Now, years later, their reunion shatters both of their lives. Lucia stays in Vienna after her husband travels on, in order to see Max, and they find themselves caught up in a renewal of their former sadomasochistic relationship. Max has an upcoming show trial for his war crimes. His former S.S. comrades have been carefully destroying documents and "filing away" witnesses to clear all their names, and, while Max tries to keep Lucia's existence a secret from them, they eventually find out about her. They consider her a threat, and they urge Max to turn her over to them. He quits his job, and he and Lucia hide out in his apartment, while his former friends keep watch. Liliana Cavani (Ripley's Game) co-wrote and directed this controversial film, Il Portiere di Notte, which she reportedly based partly on her own interviews with a Holocaust survivor. ~ Josh Ralske, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

I'm not offended. I want my money back. by MrMiscreant June 10, 2005 - 12:08 PM PDT
7 out of 8 members found this review helpful
You've probably read the description so you know what the movie is about. My only real issue with it is that it was a lot less exploitive than I expected it to be, and once you get past the part where Rampling's character and Max meet up again, its slow moving and nothing especially interesting happens. You know they're heading for self-destruction and the filmakers pretty much take the most direct path there, which was a little disapointing.

The movie does do a few things right.

It doesn't try to explain Max and the girl's relationship. Which would have just lessened the impact of the whole situation.

The secondary characters are spectacular. I would watch a whole movie of these guys and their "trials", trying to justify/coverup what they did for the SS.

Nice dance sequences.
Interesting movie, but not nearly as scandalous/graphic as I was hoping.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.51)
151 Votes
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