Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5
Original title: Il Portiere Di Notte
Italy, 1974. Lotar Film Productions. Story by Liliana Cavani, Barbara Alberti, Amedeo Amodio, Screenplay by Liliana Cavani, Italo Moscati, collaboration with Barbara Alberti, Amedeo Pagani. Cinematography by Alfio Contini. Produced by Joseph E. Levine. Music by Daniele Paris. Production Design by Nedo Azzini, Jean Marie Simon. Costume Design by Piero Tosi. Film Editing by Franco Arcalli.
Sleazy but oddly enjoyable film that is one of the most memorably controversial European films to be released in the United States. Dirk Bogarde plays a former Nazi officer now working as a night porter in an Italian hotel, who is surprised to find that one of the residents in his establishment is actually the young woman (the ever alluring Charlotte Rampling) he once tortured in a concentration camp. She falls completely apart when she realizes who he is, but then later finds herself strangely drawn to him because the pain he caused her made her feel more alive than the relative comfort she lives in now. Sounds horrendously offensive in description, but the actual playing out of it is curiously romantic and affectionate. Rampling is defiantly sexy, and director Liliana Caviani enjoys finding the human experience within the perversity of the story she is telling. Beautiful cinematography and a lush, haunting score are pluses.