3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly depraved and utterly fascinating
"The Night Porter" must have been one of those films that shocked people when it first came out. Directed by Liliana Cavani and sporting a garish cover on the Criterion Collection DVD (yes, the cover image does come from a scene in the movie, but not in the way you would think), "The Night Porter" deals with extremely unpleasant psychological situations stemming from the...
Published on Jan. 25 2004 by Jeffrey Leach
3.0 out of 5 stars Charlotte
The movie , even though very good,is not for me.I was advised to purchased it, but I regret. I can not watch such movies.
Published 7 months ago by tosia
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3.0 out of 5 stars Charlotte,
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This review is from: The Night Porter (Widescreen) (DVD)The movie , even though very good,is not for me.I was advised to purchased it, but I regret. I can not watch such movies.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly depraved and utterly fascinating,
This review is from: The Night Porter (Widescreen) (DVD)"The Night Porter" must have been one of those films that shocked people when it first came out. Directed by Liliana Cavani and sporting a garish cover on the Criterion Collection DVD (yes, the cover image does come from a scene in the movie, but not in the way you would think), "The Night Porter" deals with extremely unpleasant psychological situations stemming from the holocaust. The film is definitely not for everyone, but those capable of keeping an open mind may find much to like about this generally repulsive piece of art house cinema. You have to hand it to Criterion for continuing to release pristine transfers of films considered anathema to mainstream audiences. My experiences with this DVD company have introduced me to such wondrous delights as "Blood for Dracula," "Man Bites Dog," "Peeping Tom," "Hearts and Minds," and several other challenging titles. My only gripe with Criterion concerns the cost of their DVDs, which often seem quite high even for such great movies.
"The Night Porter" is about a night porter working in a fancy hotel in Vienna, Austria twelve years after the end of World War II. If the movie merely touched on the surface aspects involving night portering, it would be a dull affair indeed. How to make a film delving into the multifaceted fascinations of checking in luggage, or taking phone calls from irate customers? No, "The Night Porter" has little to do with the hotel industry and much to do with a hideous relationship between two tortured souls. The night porter at this particular hotel, Max Aldorfer (Dirk Bogarde), was once an SS officer assigned to a concentration camp where he tortured and killed inmates. Post war investigations into war atrocities has Max and his fellow Nazi henchmen on edge; they meet often to discuss their efforts to suppress evidence and other ways to cover their tracks. Max is ambivalent about these meetings, and becomes even more so after a chance meeting with a woman he had a very special relationship with in the camp. This woman, Lucia Atherton (Charlotte Rampling), initially expresses horror at seeing her former lover/tormentor in the flesh after all these years, but then something grim and repellent happens. The sick spark that united victim and oppressor all those years ago blossoms anew. Lucia feigns a lame excuse to her husband about staying behind so she can indulge her desires for Max. And this is only the beginning of the trouble.
Max's friends express great alarm about this relationship. They see Lucia's presence as a significant danger to their yearning for anonymity, and they want Max to jettison the love affair and come over to their way of thinking. Max suspects spending time with Atherton presents a danger to him, but he cannot bear the idea of giving her up again. He secrets her away in his apartment in an effort to hide the relationship from his companions, who warn Max that keeping this woman in bondage will force them to take drastic measures to insure their secrecy. The former Nazi's go so far as to monitor Max's apartment twenty four hours a day, taking pot shots at him whenever he sticks his head outside for even a minute. When Max and Lucia run out of food and drink, they make a terrible decision about their future that will have permanent, unpleasant results for the pair.
It would be easy to write off "The Night Porter" as an exploitation film, a movie in the same vein as Tinto Brass's "Salon Kitty" or "Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS," two films which borrow themes from National Socialist Germany to make a cheap statement about the nightmare of the holocaust. "The Night Porter" does contain many disturbing images that could rate as exploitation fare: the flashbacks to the concentration camp where Max and Lucia first meet immediately comes to mind, as does the little dance number Lucia performs for her lover and a room full of SS officers. Having said that, I really don't feel this movie is exploitative. There is something more going on here than mere sensationalism, perhaps a statement about the nature of power and how it pertains to love during a horrific event. I would need to watch the film again to examine Lucia's desire for Max, but for the former SS officer I think the need to relive a time when he was a man with position and power is the main reason he rekindles this doomed relationship. Here's a guy who held the power of life and death over thousands of people, and now he works as a lowly hotel clerk. Why wouldn't he want to taste again the rush of power he gets when he dominates Lucia in his apartment? Sure, it is sick, but people do inexplicable things in relationships all the time that are just as disturbing.
A quick note on the performances: Charlotte Rampling and Dirk Bogarde both excel in their respective roles. Rampling especially is always easy on the eyes and has a wonderfully expressive face capable of transmitting complex emotions to the audience without uttering a word. If for no other reason, you should watch this film just to see these two actors turn in amazing performances. Married with a marvelous picture transfer, sumptuous set pieces, gloomy atmosphere, and a great script, "The Night Porter" is a one of a kind film that is sure to make an impression. Thanks again, Criterion, for releasing yet another brilliant cinematic oddity.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seriously underrated,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Night Porter (Widescreen) (DVD)Although it has brought uprobrium on all involved, and nearly ended the film careers of Bogarde and Rampling, this is a remarkable study of post-traumatic stress syndrome. There were many such stories in Vienna, twelve years after WW II, and this one is studied with nearly flawless timing. The ex-Nazi goons are repulsive, of course, but a necessary exteriorization of the persecuting demons within. The two main characters have everything to live for, but find their choices closing down, one after another, until the final but not incredible Liebestod.
3.0 out of 5 stars a distubing film,
This review is from: The Night Porter (Widescreen) (DVD)This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.
13 years after the end or WWII, a concentration camp survivor, meets her former captor/lover working as a porter at a hotel in Vienna. They then resume their odd, sadomasochistic relationship.
The film had much less [adult content] in it than I would expect from a film with relationships described that way. It also has several flashback scenes. The film still has nudity and [adult content] but less than many R rated films that are around today. There are several former SS officers living in Vienna who are hiding from the international community trying to jail them for their crimes.
The DVD has no special features which is not common for Criterion Collection releases, but as always had the liner noted and the film is presented in it's original theactrical aspect ratio.
3.0 out of 5 stars Ehhhhhh. It was Alright...Nothing great.,
This review is from: The Night Porter (Widescreen) (DVD)I keep reading all these reviews (the ones that made me buy the flick in the first place) talk about how great this movie is.....It's ok. I wouldn't tell anyone to go out and rent it, alone buy it. I love Criterion dvds and collect them, this one is definitely on my watch a couple times list. It's not that I'm offended or anything, it's just kind of average. I watched it twice and I don't hate it but I wouldn't buy it for over $15. Criterion has no extras and the transfer is grainy. There is a hair in the lens for awhile too.
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable - Life Changing,
This review is from: Night Porter, the (VHS Tape)This is amazing.
Dark, dangerous, and totally evocative.
Anyone who has had this sort of obsessive, intense and real love/hate relationship will understand and identify with this film. It makes 'real' love look lifeless and lacklustre - and lets face it - they say love is worth dying for - well this kind is.
The relationship between the Nazi Officer and his prisoner puts me in mind of the realationship between Amon Goeth and Helen Hirsh in Schindlers List - only The Night Porter sees it through to its logical conclusion - such intensity could only end in death.
If you think youve ever been in love - then you need to watch this - you may may find the cosy domesticity you mistake for love is preferable. There arent many people who will admit to real love - as it is so tied up with hate and it is - like this film - deep dark and disturbing and cannot be escaped from.
Watch this film. It will make you very uncomfortable.
I for one will need to watch it many many times.
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and powerful film that makes you think.,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Night Porter (Widescreen) (DVD)The Night Porter is a very dark and powerful film, the subject matter is disturbing and so are some of the images in the film. It is an interesting psychological examination on the relationship between Nazism, Sado-Masochism, sex, death, servant / master roles and the effects of ones past in relation to the present. It has two great performances by Dirk Bogarde and Charlotte Rampling. Just like Salo it does sometimes tread that thin line between art and exploitation. Still an excellent movie.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, a work of dark genius. Forget the other reviews!,
This review is from: The Night Porter (Widescreen) (DVD)Reading these other reviews only leads me to think that their viewing was only superficial. This is really a marvelous work of ART, folks -- dark art, and two brilliant, startling performances by Rampling and Bogard. And remember, it is indeed based on A TRUE STORY. But as stylization is not trendy these days thanks to wearisome reality type films from Hollywood, what you get here is a stylized, artful portrayal of an inner hell, obsession, and shackles of the past....Those of you who think this just doesn't ring true, only need look at many marriages of today and past, where the husband beats the crap out of the wife who continually comes back for more.....not an easy film to sit through, but afterwards you will be unable to return to Hollywood. Be warned. Not for everyone, but if you like dark art or music, you're gonna slap your head on this one....I LOVE THIS MOVIE. Cinematic film as art, and as a powerful moving drama that will leave you on the floor in front of your TV gasping for air. And the bottle of whiskey.
5.0 out of 5 stars take it easy film buffs!,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Night Porter (Widescreen) (DVD)hmm. pouring over these reviews i must say, some very snippy hardcore film critics! i somtimes think a certain movie is totally mindblowing like joseph losey's "boom!", which many (including my gilrfriend!) consider campy and unwatchable. i loved that movie. i love the sensationalness of the "night porter." it is challenging, multi-layered and very entertaining. to get caught up in whether or not it is exploitation, or whether or not a thing like this could ever have really happened, is a big mistake.
of course it could really happen. all of those nazis running camps were humans, with the full amount of complexities that humans can have. no person is 100% saint or sinner. i view the holocaust in this movie as a backdrop for a strange love story. let's not forget that love can be destructive and most dysfunctional! she abandons her nice hubby for a nazi who tortured her. you're crazy if you think that's not realistic. that little plot turn happens in real life everyday the world over.
i think that critics of this film don't enjoy a celebration of life which includes very sordid idealogies. this film is a cross between "secretary" (which i hated) and "the pianist" (which was ok.) "the night porter is completely more enjoyable than those films. what a unique idea visualized. what great atmoshere and a great performances.
exploitation? i don't know. who defines these words anyway?
just go see it if you haven't yet and see for yourself. you have to like a bit bit of craziness and audacity to get anything out of this. this movie, up there with bogarde's "the servant" leave me feeling dirty and the end, and i like it!
they don't make em like they used to. can you imagine someone pitching a story like this to a producer today? good heavens!
4.0 out of 5 stars My first R-rated movie without Mom,
This review is from: The Night Porter (Widescreen) (DVD)This movie was a really big deal for me because it ther first R-rated movie I was able to see without being accompained by a guardian. I proudly showed my ID to prove I was old enough to join the art house movie going crowd on a Saturday night and entered the theater all proud and mature. After watching the movie, I left the theater depressed because the movie was so dark and gloomy with an ugly message on the state of humanity; I was also excited because I could tell my friends all the nasty, shocking things I had seen. Dirk Bogarde plays the night porter in a high class hotel in Vienna. Charlotte Rampling shows up looking stunningly beautiful and elegant. They recognize each other; he was an official in the Nazi party and she was a teenager in his concentration camp. They begin a depraved S & M affair while in the camp. When they find each other in the hotel, their sick relationship is rekindled and the depravity continues. Seeing it again years later the whole thing seems silly, depraved, and pretenious but still alot of fun.
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The Night Porter (Widescreen) by Liliana Cavani (DVD - 2000)
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