Since I have a perfectly reasonable predilection for 1970’s exploitation, I sometimes find myself in a WTF moment after watching a film. Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS had that effect on me (and again, after I got the box-set as a birthday present), as did The Night Porter. Call it a job hazard. I’ve seen a lot of sleazy things from the era, but none more odious than Tinto Brass’s controversial epic, Salon Kitty, about the Third Reich’s plan to spy on their own soldiers by replacing bordello whores with German double-agents (yes, you read that correctly). Now, Tinto Brass. Say that name again. Does it sound familiar? Of course it does. He’s the ballsy genius who made Caligula, one of the last great and offensive opuses to hit the big screen before the 80’s–and the MPAA–came along and ruined everything.
Caligula was bad, yes, but Salon Kitty is something special, a movie so abhorrent–so heedless in its effort to offend–it transcends tastelessness and almost (but not quite) makes Salò look like an episode of Sesame Street. In fact, I’m so lacking a manner in which to express myself right now, I thought I’d simply write a review in keywords; Google any one of them, and you should get a hit for Salon Kitty:
exploitation; grindhouse; Nazi brothel; naked hunchback dwarf; amputee sex; choreographed orgy-dance; cabaret musical; vaguely homosexual commandant; possibly transexual madame; humiliation; pretentious arthouse; Ingrid Thulin; leather; BDSM; German super-spies; Teresa Ann Savoy; hubris; crude; tasteless; offensive; unintentionally hilarious; WTF; awesome.
Next week on America’s Next Top Model…
1976; starring Ingrid Thulin, Helmut Berger; directed by Tinto Brass; 133 min; not rated (absolutely unsuitable for children or anyone with even a modicum of shame); English dubbed.