A former Nazi SS officer crosses paths again with a former concentration camp prisoner who he had an affair with. But a group of other former Nazis who are determined to eliminate any incriminating evidence or indeed people who might expose their past deeds know about this woman who they see as posing a real threat to them.
Obviously this was very controversial when it was released with many film critics calling it trash and exploitative. But it’s neither of these. It feels dignified, rich and not just made to be sensationalistic and play on 42nd Street’s Deuce.
The photography is breathtaking with the locations almost becoming another character of the film. Both Dirk Bogarde and Charlotte Rampling as amazing in the lead roles and their interactions crackle with electricity. The film pulls no punches in the nature of their relationship with elements of sadomasochism being played out. This is certainly a brave film but all the more brilliant because of it.
Critics and audiences alike eventually came round to discovering the film’s genius premise and vision. I’m so glad this has been released by The Criterion Collection- the final validation for a film that was clearly ahead of it’s time.
4.5 out of 5