Dirk Bogarde is a Nazi hiding out as a night porter in a swanky hotel. One night, Charlotte Rampling checks into the hotel, which immediately gets Bogarde all hot and bothered. You see, during his Nazi-ing days, he and Charlotte had a kinky affair in a concentration camp. They eventually pick up where they left off, but like most Nazi relationships, it’s pretty much doomed from the start.
The Night Porter has a brazenly kinky idea for a movie, but it lacks the conviction to see it all the way through. Although the movie has a few good moments (like the scene where Rampling parades around the camp belting out a song while topless or the part where Dirk chains her up in his apartment or the scene where they get all hot and bothered over a jar of jam), it gets unnecessarily bogged down by a useless subplot about Dirk’s Nazi friends being skittish about an upcoming trial. All of these scenes are pretty dull and get in the way of Dirk and Charlotte’s kinky romance.
Rampling is excellent in this. She’s pretty much the whole show as she easily outshines Bogarde’s performance. She’s given some pretty weird things to do and she admirably dives 110% into the role.
I don’t know. Usually when Criterion releases a smut movie, it’s a good one. Just take a look at Salo or In the Realm of the Senses. The Night Porter just can’t compete with those flicks. I do have to give it a tip of the hat for blazing the trail for Naziploitation cinema (it was released the year before Ilsa).