Send in the Sex Nazis!


Homoerotic torture porn from BERLIN CORRESPONDENT. Martin Kosleck, the guy playing the Goebbels lookalike (a sort of goebbelganger, if you will) is very good. Dana Andrews is the hero, looking oddly sleazy in unsuitable face-fuzz and brilliantine. Virginia Gilmore as the heroine is a dead ringer for a blonde Jane Greer.

An acceptable time-waster, the film loses out through having no real connection to Germany and the evils of Nazism except through comic-book imagery like the above. I’d probably have accepted that as par for the course in Hollywood filmmaking (frinstance the bad guys in THE GREAT DICTATOR seem like gangster-stooge cut-outs) if I hadn’t seen films like THIS LAND IS OURS MINE and THE MORTAL STORM, which show that Hollywood filmmakers were at times quite capable of depicting the human face of evil in a way that convinces, even if they didn’t yet have access to the information about just how appalling things in the Third Reich had become.

In the light of our recent burning question — “Is Tintin gay?” (see comments section, here) — it might be instructive to ponder the above image and ask, Just how homoerotic did the makers intend it to be, and to what end? Before you reach a firm conclusion, I direct you to the fact that, even in strict accordance with regulations, it is not actually necessary for both guard/torturers to keep their caps on.

46 Responses to “Send in the Sex Nazis!”

  1. david wingrove Says:

    The sleazy tradition of ‘homoerotic Nazi S&M porn’ can be traced all the way back to the dreadful Roberto Rossellini and his wildly overrated ROME – OPEN CITY. In this film, the director (himself a much-decorated propagandist for the Mussolini regime – A PILOT RETURNS, MAN OF THE CROSS, THE WHITE SHIP) indulges in gratuitous homophobia by having a covertly gay Nazi commandant and an overtly lesbian spy for the SS.

    In fact, so intense was Rossellini’s homophobia that he forbade his wife Ingrid Bergman to star in Luchino Visconti’s SENSO and also in the Paris stage production of TEA AND SYMPATHY. Ingrid caved in the first time, but stood her ground the second – and lo, her marriage to Rossellini was swiftly over!

    The ‘evil and perverted’ Nazi characters from ROME – OPEN CITY were copied almost exacly by Tinto Brass in his sleaze classic SALON KITTY (played memorably by Helmut Berger and Tina Aumont) and may also have inspired THE DAMNED, THE NIGHT PORTER, SALO and other less reputable movies.

    Of all these films, the only one I can seriously object to is Rossellini’s. It purports to be a profound humanist statement. In fact, it’s an attempt by Rossellini (a flagrant opportunist) to whitewash his own dodgy war record in time for the Allied victory.

  2. David Boxwell Says:

    Do you mean Renoir’s THIS LAND IS MINE (43). Otherwise, a great post!

  3. david wingrove Says:

    Never seen THIS LAND IS MINE – must do so at some point!

  4. Kind of “Which came first – the chicken or the Fabrege egg?”

    The director of this otherwise tepid item had markedly undistinguished career. As for Martin Kosleck the IMBD notes”Although German-born Kosleck specialized in playing Nazis (he was once admiringly described by a film critic as “the definitive Nazi swine”), in reality his vehement opposition to Hitler and Naziism landed him on a Gestapo list of “undesirables” and he fled Germany one step ahead of a Gestapo death squad.

    During the World War II era many German actors fled the Nazi regime and emigrated to Hollywood, where they often played evil SS officers or murderous Nazi spies. Some of them came to resent being typecast that way, but Martin Kosleck had no such compunctions. An outspoken anti-Nazi in the German film industry, his activities earned him the enmity of Josef Goebbels, who became the Nazi Propaganda Minister. When the Nazis finally took over Germany, an arrest warrant was issued for Kosleck. He learned that he had already been tried in absentia and sentenced to death, and he escaped Germany as an SS hit team was tracking him down. The experience only deepened his hatred of Hitler and Naziism, and he once told an interviewer that his playing Nazi killers and exposing people to the evils of Naziism was his small way of paying back what the Nazis had done to him and his country.

    Was the fourth husband of Eleonora von Mendelssohn. They both fled (not together) the Nazi regime.

    Later became an exhibited painter in Los Angeles and New York. Marlene Dietrich and Bette Davis both owned some of his portraits.

    Acted twice on stage with his wife Eleonora von Mendelssohn, once in Berlin when he was performing in “The Tribune” and again on Broadway in “The Madwoman of Chaillot”

    So there!

    Mr. Wingrove is correct re Rossellini’s homophobia. I suspect an enormous backstage power-struggle between Rossellini and Visconti for ownership of neo-realism (and the Italian cinema itself) played a role in this.

    Nazisim is always cinematicaly equated with sexual power and the dangers of polymorphous perversity, ie. Charlotte Rampling and Helmut Berger.

    In a marvelous documentary on Visconti, still available on You Tube, Rampling calls Berger “a ski instructor with a big bum.” So she wins the International Freelance Snark Competition by a country mile.

  5. LMFAO re Rampling’s comments.

    Yeah, for Kosleck, and maybe Veidt, playing all those Nazis was a form of revenge, and resistance. We’ll meet Kosleck again in a few weeks when I review Foreign Correspondent, which he appeared in two years before Berlin Correspondent. He was obviously the go-to guy for correspondent-based movies.

    I see that his last role was as “Horst Borscht” in The Man With Bogart’s Face. That’s really too bad.

    David B, thanks for the correction. I guess I was subconsciously trying to make Renoir’s title more inclusive.

  6. ————–
    “Send in the Sex Nazis!”
    I like that header. I can imagine it as a routine in my all-time favourite TV comedy series, “Scrubs”.

  7. I wonder if these are the ur-Sex-Nazis. The real Nazis were still a long way from being defeated.

    The internets claim that Martin Kosleck was also the “long-time companion” of another German actor/Hollywood Nazi, Hans von Twardovski (who’s in turn the answer to the question: What other actor was in both Caligari and Casablanca?)

  8. Arthur S. Says:

    Mr. David Wingrove needs to get his facts checked. Because much of what he says is gross slander of a very great and influential artist.

    Tag Gallagher’s biography has a lot to say about Rossellini’s behavior during the fascist period. Rossellini wasn’t ever a fascist and his films during the Mussolini period is vague as propaganda(provided you actually get to see these films, they are ultra-rare) as noted by a left-wing film critic named Michelangelo Antonioni who worked with Rossellni on one of his earlier films.

    And Rossellini didn’t forbid Ingrid Bergman from working on SENSO. Visconti wanted Bergman and Rossellini agreed but Bergman herself turned it down(because the role was very dark and uncompromising). Rossellini didn’t like Ingrid working on other films during their marriage because most of the offers were vapid historical stuff like films on HELEN OF TROY which Rossellini thought was a waste of her time(the first film after their marriage, ANASTASIA proves him right). However when Renoir wanted to work with her on ELENA…Rossellini kept pestering her to do it…”You must work with Jean!”

    As for TEA AND SYMPATHY, Rossellini didn’t do it because he thouht the play was bad not because of his homophobia and he wanted to do his own version which he worked with…Francois Truffaut and his film unlike the play would be about a woman’s relationship with an actual homosexual unlike the play which is about a man suspected of being gay.

    As for Rossellini and Visconti…they both hated each other’s guts for many reasons. And as for who owned neorealism…Rossellini loved LA TERRA TREMA because he felt that Visconti had learnt a lot from HIS films(he hated OSSESSIONE) and found his own voice and style. He liked to pretend that he taught Visconti everything.

  9. Arthur S. Says:

    And ROME OPEN CITY is a very great film. Unfortunately it can’t be appreciated since it exists on poor prints and even poorer transfers on Home Video, but if you see it on the big screen and two or three times, it is powerful.

    And how that film is supposed to inspire Nazi porn is beyond me. Nazi porn was invented by Leni Reifenstahl in such films as TRIUMPH OF THE WILL and OLYMPIA PARTS I AND II. Roberto Rossellini shows Nazis as they are, more or less. And showing Nazis as suppressed homosexuals who exploit their position sexually is accurate(cf, Ernst Rohm) historically. While it may be homophobic to present eyes, the characters in question aren’t presented as caricatures at all. And the film doesn’t reduce them to that level(at least if you watch it closely).

  10. Who’d have thought a post entitled “Send In The Sex Nazis” would inspire controversy?

    What’s needed is some serious sources to cite — Arthur has made a good start here. But David W is also a fantastically knowledgeable fellow so we need to compare material so as to arrive at an informed conclusion.

    At any rate, David certainly knows his Tinto Brass, and so I assume the influence of Rossellini on Salon Kitty is as he attests. Brass is a fairly political guy, in his own strange way, so I can easily see him borrowing from RR, with mischievous intent.

    Nobody’s denying the presence of closeted gay men in fascist states, a psychology explored somewhat in The Conformist — but perhaps Rossellini is guilty of overstating the fact by having TWO gay characters to represent the forces of oppression? If you’re not going to refer at all to the persecution of gays by the Axis powers, then that starts to look a bit slanted.

  11. Arthur, Rohm was the German equivalent of a “Log Cabin Republican” who Hitler very cannily allied himself with ( a very important portion of his speech in Triumph of the Will notes that alliance) only to turn on him once he came to power and had him and his followrs/boyfriends aummarily slaughtered in the famous “Night of the Long Knives” — so memorably recreated by Visconti in The Damned.

    Open City gave Rossellini left-wing cred, but he was quite right-wing as was made clear in his last theatrical feature Anno Uno — a paen the the “Christian Democrats” that rewrote the history of WWII.

    As far as I know only the Straubs took note of this.

  12. Arthur S. Says:

    I think it’s very hard to place Rossellini in the traditional left right categories we know today. And Italian politics is always quite murky on such divisions. I hardly see how making ANNO UNO(which I haven’t seen, full disclosure) marks Rossellini, in toto as right wing, in light of the many other films he made which are formally daring and subversive critiques.

    Rossellini was an opportunist in so far as he claimed that it didn’t matter where you got the money from and it had no bearing on what film you made. He dealt with Selznick, Hughes, Italsider and many international companies in search for finance for his openly uncommercial projects and in his final years he planned to make two films, a biography on Jesus Christ and Karl Marx, the former funded by the Communist Party of Italy, the latter by the Catholic Church, so I’d say he’s well practised playing both sides of the street. In his personal life, he was a womanizer but a faithful and devoted friend, randomly benevolent and a freeloader and a very driven aggressive personality.

    In any case, ANNO UNO according to Tag Gallagher was made for because Rossellini wanted to deal with recent history then the fact that he believed in Democrazia Christiania and the film was liked by some Communist critics. Rossellini considered his work on TV and in other arenas as more important.

    Incidentally, the last production completed by Rossellini was an industrial film on the George Pompidoe Centre and the DP on that was Nestor Almendros, who’s gay. And Almendros enjoyed working on that film. So Rossellini is definitively full of contradictions but then so is life.

  13. Arthur S. Says:

    Never having any interest in Brass, I wouldn’t know nor care about his political opinions. He recently did a remake of SENSO where he updated the setting to Post-War Italy…so I’d say he’d borrow from whoever he chooses, in this case Visconti. In one of his interviews he said that Visconti’s film was too romantic(which is THE POINT!) and he wanted to be more aggressive…whatever that means. Maybe it’d make a good double feature post for SHADOWPLAY – the two SENSOs.

    I didn’t mean anything personal towards Mr. Wingrove(though the use of the word ”slander” says otherwise) but the fact is that if he had limited himself towards the torture scenes of ROME OPEN CITY(which is only towards the end, and much of the actual torture occurs off-screen) and the ambivalence towards sexuality in that film then it’s okay but he went out of his way to launch a tirade against Rossellini(and that is odd because Rossellini’s been out of fashion for years until very recently) and that’s why I felt that I had to counter-attack.

  14. I would support Arthur in his assessment of Rossellini’s politics and outlook.
    ROME OPEN CITY is indeed a great film. I was fortunate in seeing it on a big screen some years ago. I’m also lucky in having a copy of the fascinating Beaubourg documentary. I’m also fond of his documentary about Sicily, Idea di un’isola

  15. Nazis and erotica… When I was a kid in the 70s, I recall there seemed to be a whole exploitation genre devoted to it! Even in the newstands, a good number,of italian nazi-themed porn-comics (titles like “Helga of the SS” and likewise stuff) were on display next to our favourite children’s comics.

    You can bet one sort of got an education out of it.

    The mention of This land is mine just got me a flash of what it could have been with sex-nazi bits… hum, there’s actually one scene in which Una O’Connor bitchslaps a German sergeant, no less … Naughty, Naughty Renoir (but he was, you know, French ;p)

    Now seriously, there are a couple of scenes in this film, one with Walter Slezack (as the Nazi commander) and George Sanders (as a collaborationist) and another one with Slezack and Laughton (as a closeted resistance man). In both scenes, Slezack’s stance is playful and seductive with the men he’s talking to, with many a lighting-cigarette bussiness and all. Of course, he’s seductive to sell his nazi ideas, but I think that this was a clever idea by Nicholls/renoir: to show that the real peril wasn’t the military invasion as much as the ideological seduction.

  16. Not much to offer on the ongoing Rossellini Ty-Phoo typhoon, other than that I don’t really care for the films I’ve seen: Stromboli, Europa ’51, Germania Anno Zero.

    However, don’t you think that the Sex Nazis would actually prefer a Goebbelsgangbanger instead of a plain ol’ vanilla Goebbelganger?

  17. Christopher Says:

    “Marty and his 10 terrific boys..”Don’t be stupid be a smarty,come and join the Nazi Party..”
    i asscociate Mrtin Kosleck more with Universal horror and Rondo Hatton..Last thing I remember seeing him in was a Night Gallery episode from the 70s..with Francis Lederer..playing yet another vampire..

  18. That’s Ilsa She Wolf of the S.S. starring the lovely Dyanne Thorne. sequels include Ilsa Harem-Keeper of the Oil Shieks, plus one about Siberia whose title escapes me at the moment.

    That Rossellini, in addition to being a filmmaker of considerable talent was a rank opportunist is quite plain. That he put whatever “scruples” he had aside to work with Nestor Almendros is fairly meaningless. Almendros was one of the greates DP’s the world has ever known. Rossellini wuld have been a fool NOT to work with him. Incidentally the only individual to have written anything of insight or accuracy on Eisenstein. He is sorely missed.

  19. I, myself, would tend to ascribe the presence of SM porn elements in ’40s depiction of Nazis to (a) homophobic filmmakers for whom the drift from notions of “evil” to “queer” is all-too-easy; and (b) exploitation instincts, in filmmakers, to “sex it up!” whenever in doubt.

    Isn’t there some fairly hotcha stuff in Garnett’s “Cross of Lorraine” involving Peter Lorre and Gene Kelly? I seem to remember a clip which disappeared from YouTube with distinct rapidity.

    My first knowledge of Kosleck was from stills of him in “The Flesh Eaters” in FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND. And … is my memory playing tricks on me, or was Kosleck reputed to’ve been the one who named Lillian Hellman to the The Committee?

  20. Tag Gallagher is a very nice fellow and a writer of some insight. But whn it comes to Rossellini he’s a sentimental old pushover. When it came to women Rossellini was a complete and utter cad.

    He write the film that became Stomboli for his girlfriend of the moment, Anna Magnani.

    Then he met Ingrid Bergman and the rest is history — including paranoid speeches on the floor of congress by U.S. senators with too much time on their hands and too little gray matter in their heads.

    Rossellini was othing if not cever. In his film of Cocteau’s La Voix Humaine (gasp another homo!) he’s on the other end of the line when Magnani is speaking to him on the phone. Little did she know this was REALLY the kiss-off.

    Not to be outdone, she set up a project of her own, Volcano. Directed by William Dieterle from a screenply by Erskine Caldwell(!) it starred Ana, Rosanno Brazzi and Geraldine Brooks and was shot at an adjoining island similtaneously with Stromboli ! At dusk at the end of each days shooting Anna would climb to the highest cliff of her island and rain curses down on Rossellini and company.

  21. And now the grand finale.

    The day of the press screening Anna was all set to answer questions — and hurl insults. But the moment the lights went up a buzz went round the room. Ingrid Bergman had just given birth to her “love child.” The reporters stampeded to the exits leaving Anna all to her furuious lonesome.

    Volcano is as different from Stromboli as Anna is from Ingrid. But it’s not at al bad. Try and find a copy of you can.

  22. I’d love to see Volcano. No sign of it at any of my usual sources, but I’ll keep my eyes peeled.

    Great stories!

    I wonder if the s&m stuff in Hollywood Nazi films is partly an attempt to come up with some psychological explanation of the cruelty of the SS. US filmmakers were steeped in Freudianism, after all. Of course, homophobia and Freud are no strangers.

    Isn’t The Flesh Eaters wonderful? Killer neg scratches — it’s a film Bill Morrison should see.

    Ilsa is indeed the most famous she-wolf, but I suspect Gloria’s right: the Italian comic books were doubtless swarming with them. I can’t quite see why Italian porn fixated on German fascism instead of their own: it can hardly be for reasons of taste or sensitivity, after all.

  23. ————–
    I’d love to see Volcano. No sign of it at any of my usual sources, but I’ll keep my eyes peeled
    David, I know someone in the US with a copy of Volcano. If you like I can ask for a copy for you?

  24. Thanks, yes, see if he’s interested in a swap. I can send him my list if he likes.

  25. david wingrove Says:

    Believe it or not, my disdain for Rossellini is not total. While I dislike the overall aesthetic of his films (or rather, the lack thereof) his ST FRANCIS has a number of stunningly beautiful scenes and even I have to admit that VOYAGE TO ITALY is a flat-out masterpiece.

    My story of Rossellini’s opposition to TEA AND SYMPATHY comes from Ingrid Bergman’s own autobiography – which may or may not be reliable. As Ingrid herself once remarked: “Happiness is nothing but good health and a poor memory.”

    As for Rossellini’s feelings towards Visconti, I’m not sure which biography of Visconti is my source for this. It’s true that Ingrid turned down another Visconti film long after her marriage to Rossellini was over. She was offered the role of the mother in THE DAMNED (played magnificently by Ingrid Thulin) but didn’t fancy doing the incestuous rape scene.

  26. Well I don’t blame her. It would have been to much of a workout for a woman her age.

  27. Chris B Says:

    Oh! Speaking of gays and Nazis (what a perfect tie in), I met Kenneth Anger last week, and this thread has reminded me that I have to see his short ICH WILL!, so the simple question is: does anyone here have a copy for trade?

  28. Arthur S. Says:

    Tag Gallagher does indeed have things to say about Bergman’s autobiography. I’d see it more as a case of miscommunication – she believed Rossellini didn’t like the gay stuff when that may not necessarily be so.

  29. I think David W may have a lead on the Anger film, but I can’t promise anything. The most recent Anger stuff seems to be without distribution, and objections from Disney have more or less suppressed the Mickey Mouse movie… which is a shame, as it’s charming and quite inoffensive.

  30. Anger’s “charming and quite inoffensive” MOUSE HEAVEN can be seen on YouTube.

    I have also seen ICH WILL – it consists entirely of footage taken by the Germans and Austrians themselves, scored to Anton Bruckner, with particular emphasis on the beaming Hitler Youth.

  31. No possibility of controversy there then!

  32. david wingrove Says:

    Some friends and I got a chance to see ICH WILL at a recent Anger event in Dundee. It’s a brilliant and chilling piece of work, and probably the best thing Anger has done in the past decade.

    As for Rossellini and his attempts to tackle a gay theme, I’ve seen the film in question. It’s called ANIMA NERA (Black Soul) and it’s based on a play by Giuseppe Patroni Griffi – who has been described as “the Italian Tennessee Williams.”

    Alas, it’s a horribly static piece of work – clumsily staged and drably photographed (like so much Rossellini, I would say). It’s a textbook example of a director working with material he simply does not relate to in any way.

    On the plus side, there’s an interesting central performance by Vittorio Gassman (as a sexually confused ex-gigolo) and an outstanding one by the great Eleonora Rossi-Drago (as a high-style lesbian).

    If you want to know how bad a film-maker Rossellini could be, compare ANIMA NERA with any of three near-masterworks that Patroni Griffi went on to direct himself – ‘TIS PITY SHE’S A WHORE (with Charlotte Rampling and Oliver Tobias), THE DRIVER’S SEAT (with Elizabeth Taylor) and THE DIVINE NYMPH (with Terence Stamp and Laura Antonelli).

    Three hauntingly gorgeous films that make Rossellini look like a dour and aesthetically-challenged old Philistine.

  33. david wingrove Says:

    Oh, and the great Harry Kumel (DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS, MALPERTUIS) once said in an interview that the two worst influences in cinema were Roberto Rossellini and Jean Renoir. I’m not saying I agree with him…but it does make you think.

  34. Arthur S. Says:

    Well Renoir and Rossellini have given us the French New Wave.

    What does Harry Kumel got?

  35. david wingrove Says:

    When I met him, Kumel was outspoken in his loathing of the French New Wave, which he could not refer to without putting the words “that dreadful…” in front of it.

    A typical snippet from our chat…”Francois Truffaut was an insignificant little man who made insignificant little films, all of which are boring and badly made.”

    He excepted only Alain Resnais, who (he insisted) could not possibly be seen as part of the New Wave because “he is a real film-maker with genuine talent.”

    Not the most balanced of viewpoints, perhaps…but Kumel did make two of the greatest horror/fantasy films of all time!

  36. Kumel occupies his own little Flemish niche. And like his idol Sternberg, he hasn’t produced a lot of offspring. But that’s not a fault with Kumel or Sternberg, but with the world!

  37. Arthur S. Says:

    Sternberg’s offspring – Ozu, Mizoguchi, Hawks, Welles, Ophuls, Sirk, Kubrick, Fassbinder among many, many others.

  38. Interesting lineage. The Ozu influence is well-attested to, but strikes me as a little marginal: when Ozu moved away from crime dramas the influence fades. Ophuls seems possible but I’m not certain, likewise Sirk. Hawks clearly stole quite a few things (as well as perhaps contributing a few).

    I’m curious about Kubrick and Welles — where do you see the Sternberg influence in their work?

    Whatever the influence he had (and we could add Bertolucci and Maddin to the list), I’m not sure any of the filmmakers above are carrying on the Sternberg tradition: perhaps because they’re too individual to draw much from him.

  39. david wingrove Says:

    Giuseppe Patroni Griffi can be quite Sternberg-ian, if you catch him on the right day (and/or get a chance to see one of his films!)

  40. Arthur S. Says:

    What exactly is the Sternberg tradition anyway?

    There isn’t a consistent Rossellini tradition either. Rossellini’s progeny includes Francois Truffaut(who called him the father of the French New Wave), Jean Rouch, Jean-Luc Godard, Eric Rohmer, Elia Kazan, Martin Scorsese, Glauber Rocha, film-makers of vastly different styles and totally different from Rossellini’s. And Renoir…he is legion.

    Sternberg’s influence on Welles’ baroque heated visual style in THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI, THE TRAGEDY OF OTHELLO, TOUCH OF EVIL, THE TRIAL is fairly clear for me. Kubrick once cited THE BLUE ANGEL as one of his favourite films and the very cynical view he adopts(though without Sternberg’s intensity) is in line with it.

    Oh and Eisenstein stole a LOT from THE SCARLET EMPRESS for IVAN THE TERRIBLE. And Hitchcock once listed THE LAST COMMAND among his top ten favourite films and I bet DISHONORED was somewhere in his mind when he worked on say, NOTORIOUS. MARNIE is his THE DEVIL IS A WOMAN.

    If you are looking for a Sternbergesque film then I think there’s a problem but Sternberg’s visual influence is very, very vast.

    Forgot about Bertolucci. IL CONFORMISTA does with colour what Sternberg was doing with Black and White.

  41. We can perhaps distinguish between filmmakers who express enthusiasm for Sternberg (I would be a minor example) and those who display his influence (I couldn’t claim to do that). So I don’t really see Kubrick as being seriously influenced by Sternberg. If he were, you might expect to see it in Lolita and Eyes Wide Shut. He cited a lot of films he loved, from Chaplin to Kazan, but the influence isn’t that apparent.

    Lady from Shanghai does seem Sternbergian in places. The others just seem Wellesian.

    Ken Russell has expressed great admiration for The Blue Angel, and I’m sure some bits of Sternberg have poked through the pop art rubble of his oeuvre.

    Eisenstein, clearly yes.

    So with Sergei and Kinji and a few others, I probably have to grant you the point: Sternberg has had a wide influence on a large range of people.

  42. david wingrove Says:

    Arthur S – your list of Rossellini-inspired film-makers is both fascinating and enlightening. With the exception of Glauber Rocha, they are all people whose work I dislike intensely. Not because I think it’s bad (I don’t)but because it simply doesn’t speak to me on any meaningful level.

    There are exceptions, of course – TWO OR THREE THINGS I KNOW ABOUT HER for Godard, DAY FOR NIGHT for Truffaut, SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS for Kazan. Wonderful movies made by people that, ordinarily, I just don’t relate to. Must confess I’ve never managed to sit though a film by Eric Rohmer. I do have a copy of MARQUISE OF O, which I suspect may be the exception there.

    As for Renoir, I love his silent films (NANA) and his Technicolor work from the 50s (THE RIVER, THE GOLDEN COACH) but his socially engaged Popular Front films of the 30s (THE CRIME OF M. LANGE) just leave me totally cold.

    But as soon as you mention films inspired by Sternberg, I immediately sit up and take notice. I’d love to know what connection you see between DEVIL IS A WOMAN and MARNIE – beyond the fact that both have been grossly undervalued by mainstream critics. It’s a truly fascinating idea and I’d love to hear more.

  43. As an addendum …

    Do take a look at this video prepared for the Mel Brooks-ized TO BE OR NOT TO BE:

  44. I remember it well! It was quite popular in the playgrounds of Scotland.

  45. Dana Andrews called “Berlin Correspondent” a stinker, and much of it is improbable, Virginia Gilmour is especially unconvincing as Martin Kosleck’s Nazi girlfriend. Dana is okay playing the brash reporter, a role he reprises in the Cold War film, “Assignment Paris.” But you’re right, the mustache in this film doesn’t suit him.

  46. From Fallen Angel to The Best Years of Their Lives, Andrews excels at flawed heroes – but not in a moustache!

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