|Vintage Pulp||Feb 15 2010|
Liliana Cavani’s controversial drama Il portiere di notte, aka The Night Porter, is a landmark of Italian cinema, and another of those seventies films that could never be made today. It involves the sado-masochistic relationship between a concentration camp survivor, played by Charlotte Rampling, and a former camp officer, played by Dirk Bogarde. The camp is eventually liberated, but the Nazi manages to escape the Allies. Postwar he builds a normal-seeming life but must carefully hide his former identity. Meanwhile, the woman builds a normal-seeming marriage, but conceals her psychological scars. In Vienna years later, the woman is shocked to encounter the Nazi again, and soon their destructive codependency is rekindled. The amazing promo poster above uses a frame from the movie’s pivotal scene, a flashback in which Rampling performs a striptease wearing an SS uniform, after which her captor rewards her á la Salomé with the head of a prisoner who has been tormenting her. Il portiere di notte is dark, slow, and deadly serious, but for the true film buff it’s probably a must-see. It was generally well-reviewed upon release, but there were also slams from a few major critics. In the end, you’ll have to make your own decision. Il portiere di notte premiered in West Germany yesterday, 1974.
|Vintage Pulp||Feb 6 2009|
Sean Connery has serious king-size Scottish stones. After greasing himself up and donning skintight swim briefs for the 1953 Mr. Universe contest, he squeezed into this red get-up for his 1974 sci-fi adventure Zardoz. In 2004 Total Film dubbed the costume the worst decision in movie history, but we disagree. Sure, he looks like he should be leading a gimp on a leash, and the easy-access tie-front diaper screams serial teabagger, but we suspect most women and not a few men enjoyed him in this outfit. He’s 44 at this stage, and holding together nicely. A little bearish perhaps, but manscaping hadn’t been invented yet. The point is, few actors could have pulled off the look. Besides, Zardoz was a good movie. Director John Boorman went all-in with the capital he had earned from the success of Deliverance, and Connery—along with co-star Charlotte Rampling—helped out with a committed performance. The result was first unveiled thirty-five years ago today. It was not well-received, but if you dare say so out loud Connery will jam a ball gag in your mouth.