Italian director Tinto Brass is best known in North America for very poorly reviewed film, ‘Caligula,’ has actually had a very long career, which continues to this day.
His movies (or the the ones I’ve seen, anyways) can best be described as taking place in an alternate world where casual full nudity abounds in everyday life, and there is no stigma or shame attached to sex.
Some may describe his work as high budget porn mascaraing as mainstream film, but his work, while pushing the boundaries of typical movies, never comes to that level of explicitness.
In Salon Kitty, Brass applies his trademark aesthetic to Nazis. Kitty (Ingrid Thulin) is the madam of a successful bawdy house in Germany just prior to the war. An ambitious SS officer, Wallenberg (Helmut Berger), is tasked with finding the most beautiful and intelligent women amongst the National Socialist faithful, then training them to just the best darn prostitutes they can be.
Step two of the plan is to seize Kitty’s bordello and make her the madam of a new one; one staffed by the newly trained SS prostitutes. Why? Well, the SS set up recording devices in all the rooms so that they can learn the secrets of the customers, which include some of the highest ranking Nazis at the time.
There’s no question that this is an exploitation film. The Nazi theme is basically just a backdrop, they are portrayed as power mad, and racist, though there’s no mention of the holocaust, and no war scenes. This is not a dissertation on Nazism, or what leads people to follow it, this is an excuse to show naked women, and I guess it succeeds at that.
It’s hard to call a movie like this good or bad. The plot is fine, it makes sense, and there’s a character arc, but that’s not really the point. About all I can say is, if you want a serviceable WW2-era movie with lot of nudity, you will be happy with Salon Kitty.
The Blu Ray from Blue Underground is quite good. The video is sharp, while retaining it’s film-like quality. Audio is in Italian and English, both in DTS-HD Mono. The extras include an interview with Brass, on with the production designer, and trailers. The current price is a little high though.