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  Red Nights of the Gestapo Nasty Nazis
Year: 1977
Director: Fabio De Agostini
Stars: Ezio Miani, Fred Williams, Francesca Righini, Rosita Torosh, Isabelle Marchal, Mike Morris, Luca Sportelli, Luciano Rossi, Alessandra Palladino, Almina De Sanzio, Niki Penati, Giorgio Cerioni, Carla Schiavanovic, Daniele Dublino, Corrado Gaipa
Genre: Drama, Thriller, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 2 votes)
Review: In 1941, Rudolf Hess flew from Nazi Germany to Great Britain seeking a peace treaty with that country, an act which had in no way been sanctioned by his party or government. Hess was imprisoned and his ideas came to nothing, but he did leave behind him a phalanx of conspirators who were plotting against Adolf Hitler and wished to seek peace rather than continue the war. There was one high up German officer, Werner von Uhland (Ezio Miani), who was brought up before a firing squad for his supposed lax leadership in allowing Hess to escape, but the execution was only for show, and he was not killed but ordered to bring down the intellectuals...

Back in the eighties, British comedy duo Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones defected to ITV from the BBC for a series of something called The World According to Smith & Jones, which was basically them seated behind desks making snarky comments about whatever themed clips they had found in the archives. Anyway, one gag from that which everyone who saw it recalls was when their thoughts turned to the Second World War and Mel brought up a clip that he purported showed Adolf Htler, when it actually showed a blonde woman not wearing very much with a toothbrush moustache stuck on her upper lip. Griff was sceptical, but Mel said he had proof.

They ran the rest of the clip and the woman popped a ping-pong ball out of her mouth to which Mel said, there you go, it's Hitler, he's only got one ball, cue audience hilarity and no small number of impressionable viewers wondering what the hell that footage was from. If you at all recollect that, then rest assured I can solve the mystery: it was from this film, Red Nights of the Gestapo, one of the Nazisploitation movies to emerge during the seventies when no subject was too taboo to make a sleazy thriller out of. But why spend half the review going on about Smith and Jones? Probably because their show was a hell of a lot more entertaining than this, which we can be thankful did not descend to featuring a concentration camp, but was pretty unpalatable all the same.

Imagine the Tom Cruise vehicle Valkyrie only made thirty years before with no stars, tiny budget, and lots of nudity and you sort of get the idea of what we were dealing with here. The whole point, other than titillating the audience, was to show up all the Germans in positions of power to be thoroughly corrupted, even the ones who had noble intentions of getting out of the war and stopping the killing. So for those hoping for wall to wall depravity, they will be let down by the fact that director Fabio De Agostini actually had a serious message he wanted to convey, which he did by putting acres of talk in between the sex scenes, which might have turned out to be a passion killer for those audience members thinking this sounded like a promising proposition for entertaiment.

In fact, it's hard to see who this was designed to appeal to, as was the case with much of the rest of its oft-derided genre. As you'll be looking for a long time to fathom any decency in the characters, never mind identifying anyone who might even bear passing resemblance to a good guy, the worry would be that the main target for this and films like it would be actual Nazis, as they look to have been dressing up the moral degradation of fascism with the lighthearted tone of thrills and spills. Or was that 'Allo 'Allo? There's no way anyone would take them seriously as social comment or even history, although Red Nights is considered a cut above the norm as it did attempt to tackle the more sincere worries of this dark period in history, but proves impossible to treat on that level when you're dealing with a film that has a lactating prostitute or a host of sadomasochistic women who are all meant to prove to the Nazis that their naysayers are perverted. In the end, who is the real sicko? they prompt you to wonder, although that shouldn't trouble you too long. Music by Francesco Valgrande.

Aka: Le lunghe notti della Gestapo
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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