Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 29th, 2006
Theatrical Release Dates: Italy, 1977
Director: Fabio De Agostini
Cast: Ezio Miani, Fred Williams, Francesca Righini, Isabelle Marchall, Alessandra Palladino, Almina De Sanzio, Niki Penati
DVD released: September 12th, 2006
Approximate running time: 110 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Media Blasters/Exploited Digital
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
Synopsis: May 10th, 1941 Rudolph Hess secretary of the Nazi party and Hitler’s chosen successor the number two in command of the third Reich flies to England to negotiate a peace treaty. Hess and all those close to him are considered traitors. The German SS blackmail Hess’s right hand man Colonel Werner von Uhland (Ezio Miani). They want him to help them infiltrate and exterminate the secret organization known as the German intelligence. Colonel Werner von Uhland via each of the men’s weakness manages to get all the members of the German intelligence together for one last meeting. At 3:30 A.M. on June 22nd, 1941 in the wake of the Schloss Grunewald massacre Hitler would launch an attack on Russia with his final detractor’s silenced forever.
The Red Nights of the Gestapo was directed by Fabio De Agostini who worked more often as a screenwriter then a director. De Agostini co-wrote the screenplay for the classic Italian gothic horror film Nightmare Castle and the shocking giallo In the Folds of the Flesh. The screenplay uses very loosely actual events that happened during World War 2 and then they filled in the rest with decadent behavior. Two other key ingredients to the plot are how the SS uses the most depraved human beings to help them pervert enemies of the state. Another staple of this genre paranoia with in the Nazi party is effectively used like when SS has Colonel Werner von Uhland under surveillance. They even go as far as threaten his wife if she doesn’t help by insinuating that they will kill her son.
The production design exceeds most films in the Nazi exploitation genre and Fabio De Agostini direction is filled with many wonderfully composed shots that look like mini works of exploitive art. It is also interesting how the director a few times inter-cuts sex with violence. The films score is sparse with only a few motifs with the main theme a waltz like number being played repetitively thorough out the film. Decadent behavior is something that all Nazi exploitation films have in common with each other which is something the real Nazi’s would not stand for in fact they where know to kill those who showed even the slightest sign of being decadent. Great works of art like paintings also where destroyed for being to decadent. Who knows if the Nazi’s spent more time with their pants down like they do in these Nazi exploitation films then may be the war would have been shorter.
There are many great films within the Nazi exploitation genre like Luchino Visconti’s The Damned, Liliana Cavani’s The Night Porter and Tinto Brass’ Salon Kitty. On the other side there is even more bad films within this genre like The Experiment, Hell Train, SS Girls, S.S. Extermination Love Camp and so many more to list them all would take days. The Red Nights of the Gestapo has most of the clichés we have come to expect from this genre like torture, lesbians and various other forms of depravity. The story is one of the better to be used in this cycle of films’. Overall The Red Nights of the Gestapo leans more towards the art house fare like The Damned and The Night Porter and doesn’t get as down and dirty as a film like Last Orgy of the Third Reich and Salon Kitty.
Exploited Digital presents The Red Nights of the Gestapo in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. There are no problems with compression or artifacts and the image remains stable through out. Colors and flesh tones are faithfully reproduced. Black levels rare strong with sharp details throughout. The source material used looks exceptional as there is no since of print damage.
This release comes with one audio option an English dubbed audio track which is presented here in a Dolby Digital mono. Dialog is easy to follow and the track is in pretty good shape outside of some minor hiss which pops up from time to time. Overall this audio mix while more then adequate will not blow you away as the sound does feel limited at times.
Extras for this release include a trailer for The Red Nights of the Gestapo and trailers for SS Girls, SS hell Camp, SS Camp Women’s Hell and Convent of Sinners. Other extras include a still gallery that plays like a featurette. This gallery includes stills from the film, the films press book and cover art for its various releases. Rounding out the extras is three deleted scenes and two of the have audio drop outs since English dialog was not recorded for the full scene.
Exploited Digital gives The Red Nights of the Gestapo its North American debut on DVD. This release besides coming with a solid audio/video presentation also presents the film fully uncut, recommended.