Salon Kitty (1976) is based on a true World War II-story, in which the German Sicherheitsdienst (SD) took over a brothel to spy on Nazi-officials who might doubt the regime. The film is an Italian/French/West-German coproduction and is directed by Tinto Brass, who is notorious for his erotic (almost pornographic) and provocative films.
The film is loosely based on a book by Peter Norden and tells the story of Helmut Wallenerg (Helmut Berger), who wants to reach the top of the Nazi-regime. Therefore, he searches for a brothel that fits his plan. He finds it in Salon Kitty, owned by Kitty Kellermann (Ingrid Thulin), who had been transferring money to Britain for the end of the war. The SD gave her the choice to either cooperate with the SD or be sent to a concentration camp. She decided to cooperate and let some of her prostitutes be replaced by other prostitutes, who received a rigorous training in interview techniques. The SD installed microphones in the brothel and a sound studio in the basement, which was manned at all times. The secret behind the brothel is eventually discovered by prostitute Margherita (Teresa Ann Savoy) after something terrible happens to her lover Hans Reiter (Bekim Fehmiu), a disillusioned Luftwaffe pilot.
The film is made in a period in which intellectuals tried to warn new generations for the dangers of fascism. Director Tinto Brass argued he did the same by pointing out the sexual excesses of that time. However, we will never know if Brass really wanted to make a political statement, or just looked for an excuse to make an erotic film.
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