Nights of the Gestapo
= Highest Rating
May 1941, with final preparations for the Nazi invasion of Soviet
Russia well underway, Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess — on his own
initiative — made a secret solo flight to Scotland. It was a
harebrained scheme to convince the British government to engage
in peace talks with Germany. Correctly, Hess saw a two-front
war against Britain and Russia as a potential disaster for the
Reich. His idea for preventing this wasn't as well-reasoned.
For his efforts Hess was imprisoned in the Tower of London,
while at home he was denounced by Hitler as a lunatic. The furious
Führer ordered a purge of anyone in Hess' orbit that might
be contaminated by such 'defeatism', even if they had no idea
what he'd been up to.
That's the historical
catalyst for Red
Nights of the Gestapo,
a not-quite-typical entry in the Italian Naziploitation sweepstakes.
Hess' SS liaison officer,
Standartenführer Werner Uhland (Ezio Miani), is swept up
in the anti-Hess purge. He knew nothing of the peace proposal
or secret flight yet has to pay regardless. Faithful to Party
and Fatherland, the young SS colonel —
every inch the blond, blue-eyed Aryan ideal —
is summarily arrested for treason and stood before a firing
squad. But he isn't shot. Gestapo captain Ritter (Daniele Dublino)
has a special assignment for him, an assignment he's in no position
to refuse. The order is given personally to Uhland by no less
than the Reichsführer himself, Heinrich Himmler, chief
of the dreaded SS. The plan is this. Uhland will appeal to a
childhood friend, Helmut von Danzig (The
Devil Came from Akasava's Fred Williams), to convene a meeting
of prominent members of Germany's anti-Nazi intelligentsia in
a castle outside Berlin. The aristocratic von Danzig has extensive
contacts with these men, civilians in the fields of academia,
law and business. During this secret conclave a conspiracy will
be hatched to depose Hitler before the dictator leads Germany
to destruction. Serving as host, Uhland is to represent a dissident
faction within the SS that opposes war with Russia. In reality
he's laying a velvet-lined trap, one baited with fine food,
wine, and women. Hidden microphones will record everything.
Whether by spoken treason or blackmail-ready sins of the flesh,
the leadership of the intelligentsia will be decapitated in
a single night...
De Agostini certainly doesn't display any originality with his
scenario, as the basic plot is pretty much in the same vein
as Salon Kitty
and SS Girls —
a Nazi officer assembles a stable of sexy sluts to entrap high-level
traitors to the Reich; kinky debauchery offering plenty of nudity
ensues, climaxed by a "Night of the Long Knives"-style
massacre. What makes Red Nights of the
Gestapo a bit different is the relatively highbrow level
of dialog. Taking periodic breaks from the sleaze, characters
discuss matters of social responsibility, class distinctions
and politics. That the film avoids the Holocaust —
this isn't a T &
A flick set in a death camp, thank goodness! —
keeps it from sinking to
the bottom of the Crass Barrel. Aside from one mild S&M
scene there is no torture, and gore for gore's sake is nonexistent.
Red Nights is much more about general
kinkiness and the fetishism of Nazi regalia than sadism.
As laudable as this
comparatively high-minded approach to the trashiest of genres
might be it is also a double-edged sword. Mainly, the film is
excessively talky. Sleaze fans will get restless during the
various political/philosophical discussions as they await the
next parade of degraded flesh. (A happy exception being the
out-of-the-blue kneeslapper provided by Naziploitation vet Georgio
Cerioni, who, during a drunken anti-Hitler rant, suddenly drops
trou and greasily farts into a hidden microphone he's discovered.
Take that, Adolf!) Further drawing out the proceedings is a
subplot about Uhland's wife, a dutiful Nazi until she realizes
just what hubby does for führer und fatherland,
that doesn't really go anywhere. A good 10-15 minutes could
easily be cut from the running time.
So it drags somewhat,
but otherwise Red Nights is a higher
quality example of the genre. Agostini uses his small budget
wisely, with nicely lensed, richly-appointed interiors compensating
for the fact that 95% of the production is studio-bound. Happily,
more attention than usual is paid to getting the uniforms and
period detail right. (There's at least one notable anachronism,
the 1970s VW minibus used
for a Wehrmacht ambulance.) The film features a couple of genuinely
hot actresses, chief among them sexy Isabelle Marchall as the
cooperative French prostitute. Rest assured that the entire
rank and file gets wicked and/or naked on a continual basis.
Lesbianism, masochism, nymphomania and even lactation (!) are
among the forbidden items on the menu, supplemented by the inevitable
kinky floor show or two. If it's a Naziploitation movie, you
ARE going to see a topless fraulein in an SS officer's
cap at some point, period.
Nights of the Gestapo
is presented fully uncut on Exploitation Digital's DVD, via an
exemplary anamorphic transfer. The source print is nearly pristine,
marred only by damage at the 1:00:58 mark and lasting for just
a minute or so. Otherwise it's practically flawless, boasting
vivid colors and deep, rich blacks. Complimenting the visuals
is a solid mono audio mix (dubbed English only) that's notably
crisper and cleaner than is usually the case for such flicks.
A reel of deleted footage (sans audio), an image gallery and trailers
for this and other Naziploitation/Nunsploitation titles from Exploitation
Digital comprise the extras.
Given such generally high marks the reader may be puzzled by my
overall DVD rating of '5'... At $27, I feel the disc is a bit
pricey. Were it eight or ten bucks cheaper I'd likely give it
a '6'. NOTE: Errors on the packaging incorrectly list the running
time as 103 minutes (actually 108) and the aspect ratio as 1.85:1
(in reality 2.35).
In 2008 this DVD was reissued as part of the bargain-priced SS
Hell Pack 2 collection... which unfortunately is now out
of print (as of 2012).