Written by: George Pacheco on June 26th, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, November 23rd, 1976
Director: Rino Di Silvestro
Writer: Rino Di Silvestro
Cast: John Steiner, Solvi Stubing, Rik Battaglia, Lina Polito
DVD released: June 3rd, 2014
Approximate running time: 98 minutes
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Intervision / Severin Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.98
The films of Rino Di Silvestro have always seemed to possess somewhat higher aspirations than so many of the director’s exploitative brethren, often possessing a more poetic, artistic bent while still (naturally) containing their fair share of sellable, sleazy material.
Deported Women of the SS Special Section is no different, presenting a dark ‘n dreary tale of Nazi torture, enslavement and extermination in a very realistic and memorably dour style. Di Silvestro and Cannibal Holocaust cinematographer Sergio D’Offizi drape this Nazi sex camp in dreary shadow and deep blues, realizing a grand, gothic style with a limited budget, much to the film’s benefit. This visual presence lifts an otherwise dry story of sexual obsession and degradation to the grindhouse/arthouse level, aided by the classical source music and Stelvio Cipriani’s orchestral score.
Of course, there’s also tons of fetishized violence and nudity to be had here, as well, but the real star of the show is British actor John Steiner and his over the top portrayal of Herr Erner, a Nazi Commandant who obsesses after the prisoner prostitute Tania Nobel, played by Lina Polito. Steiner’s ridiculous dialog (“I want to drink your saliva!”) and wink/nudge delivery of this crazed, psychotic character is wondrously fun to behold, and easily draws all eyes to him and he chews the scenery for all he’s worth.
So is Deported Women of the SS essential viewing? Well, no, but fans of Nazi exploitation cinema could do a lot worse (SS Experiment Camp, anyone?) but there are also better (Gestapo’s Last Orgy, for the win) examples of the genre.
Intervision Picture Corp. presents Deported Women of the SS Special Section in an anamorphic widescreen presentation which preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. There are mild instances of debris and damage to the print,. but Intervision Picture Corp.’s disc is by far the best this rare Nazi trash flick has looked, compared to the double feature release with Escape From Women’s Prison issued by BCI in 2006. Where this disc truly shines, however, is the extra features, the highlight of which is an all too brief interview with Steiner at his California real estate business, where he regales with stories of his crazy acting days in Italy.
Two other lengthy featurettes include a Nazi exploitation overview with specialist and author Dr. Marcus Stiglegger as well as an interview with Silvestro, where the director once again comes across as a bit delusional, yet endearing when it comes to his cinematic standing, securing his place in the Italian genre cinema pantheon as a highbrow auteur working within lowbrow means. Overall, Intervision Picture Corp. does a bang up job here with Deported Women of the SS Special Section.