Red Nights of the Gestapo (1977)
By: Julian on July 15, 2010  | 
Exploitation Digital | Region 1, NTSC | 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 2.0 | 108 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Fabio de Agostini
Starring: Ezio Miani, Fred Williams, Francesca Righini, Rosita Torosh, Isabelle Marchall
Screenplay: Fabio de Agostini, Oscar Righini
Country: Italy
External Links
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I've never sought out any Naziploitation films, not because they were caught by some sort of self-imposed morality filter, but because they've been grossly under-represented in Region 4 (probably because of their dubious classification status) and I haven't felt the need to acquire overseas copies. Red Nights of the Gestapo is one of the few I've actually seen, and I'm a little bit unsure what to think after watching Fabio de Agostini's 1977 film for a second time. I'm lead to believe that Red Nights of the Gestapo is one of the least sleazy entries into the genre, certainly pale in comparison to Gestapo's Last Orgy, SS Experiment Camp and the like, whose titles threaten to be more sensational than their content. Indeed, that is one of the problems present here, but while Red Nights of the Gestapo might not be very explicit, it is pervaded by an unrelentingly seedy mood throughout, aided and abetted by some remarkable production values. Unhappily, I don't think that atmosphere, successfully evoked by de Agostini, quite redeems what is essentially a revisionist history sleaze film in which nothing much happens, but for a few nude shots and some brief scenes of violence.

Red Nights of the Gestapo's plot is interesting as it unfolds, but the premise becomes rapidly tiresome when it falls into a quagmire of superfluous dialogue and ineffective characterisations. The basic idea is that there is a group of 'good Germans', all wealthy industrialists, who are plotting to depose Hitler by drawing up a peace treaty with the British. The Gestapo get wind of the plan and seek to expose the plotters using the only device that can undermine the positions of intelligent, disciplined men: the sexual advances of fascist sluts. Under the tutelage of the disgraced Colonel Werner von Uhland (Ezio Miani in his second of just three films), the women begin working on their seduction skills in a desperate attempt to thwart the dissidents' plan and secure their Fuhrer's safety.

Even though this is reportedly one of the tamer entries to the Naziploitation genre, the above paragraph might give you an idea that this is no walk in the park. But Red Nights of the Gestapo isn't a particularly good film – not because I take any offence towards the content (as long as the filmmakers aren't committing any crimes, notwithstanding draconian obscenity laws, then it's fine by me: however crass it is, the power of a confronting film shouldn't be rubbished) but because this is a sexploitation film that purports to be something more. Sluggish pacing deprives it of any power, and it frequently comes off as lazy and plodding. This could well have been an attempt by de Agostini to legitimise his film, but his characters' philosophical and political musings are dull and out of place. I think what really could have benefited Red Nights of the Gestapo is if about half an hour was excised from the middle: at 108 minutes, it's a relatively long exploitation film, and this reviewer might be a bit more forgiving of it had de Agostini and Miani's script been less self-indulgent.

Red Nights of the Gestapo is bookended by some engaging scenes but while the central concept is one of the movie's premier strengths, I've made some mention above about how quickly the novelty wears off. Red Nights' most professional aspect, though, is its look: Antonio Maccoppi's (Killer Nun) work as DP is absolutely impressive, lending the film a slicker, more polished aesthetic than the vast majority of its contemporaries. The costume and set design are also very good but I'm not a World War II aficionado, so I can't confirm whether or not the Nazi uniforms and associated paraphernalia have been authentically replicated.

All things considered, Red Nights of the Gestapo is a below-average film. The sub-genre carries no appeal to this reviewer, and this film's attempts to vindicate itself from a series of bottom-of-the-barrel counterparts is poorly executed; de Agostini only succeeds in putting his name to a dull Nazi film, with some scenes of fetishism thrown in to appeal to the exploitation audience. De Agostini's grand plans with Red Nights have turned it to an arthouse film at its core, with the exploitation element secondary. This isn't how it has been marketed though: a heavily cut Australian VHS release sports a woman wearing leather on the cover, and this DVD boasts that the film is "completely uncut". Completists might find something of worth here, but those interested in sensationalism (or, indeed, an interesting movie) would do well to look elsewhere.
Red Nights of the Gestapo is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, with anamorphic enhancement. It's a really impressive transfer, and brilliantly captures the visual talent on display in Red Nights. Technically speaking.
One English audio track in Dolby Digital mono. It's better than one would expect for a film of this description.
Extra Features
Deleted scenes, an image gallery and theatrical trailers.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
I was left a bit cold by Red Nights of the Gestapo, and its merits are certainly in its visual execution. The best I can do is recommend it as a curio for those who aren't averse to Naziploitation. Exploitation Digital has done a remarkable job with the transfer and, coupled with the film's look, it's almost worth seeking out.

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