11 June 2010 | lor_
Weak debut entry in the Dragon Art reissue series
Film historians owe a lot to pack rats, whose "never throw anything away" fetish permitted Something Weird Video to resurrect over 400 movies saved from the trash heap by the West Coast theater Dragon Art. Though films are normally just rented by the exhibitor, these prints were retained and by 1996 ripe for revival.
The first release in the series was Hitler's Harlot, a poorly made effort that is typical of the overall product line. It is generic porn, existing simply to arouse and divert a hard-up audience, circa 1973/1976 and, thanks to VHS/DVD, a 21st Century slumming crowd as well.
Well-traveled porn starlet Nancy Martin toplines as a Nazi officer referred to simply as the commandant. Film takes place in two nondescript rooms, one displaying a Swastika flag, and Nancy spends the hour's running time torturing people with sex. It is pointless enough to let one's mind wander -in my case, I couldn't decide whether the anonymous pornographers were depicting Nazi Germany, occupied France, or just some "dress-up" nuts in San Francisco.
The cast looks like out-of-work West Coast street people, and though the commandant's assistant Karl attempts a German accent, there is no attempt at characterization or even minimal credibility in costumes or "acting". Karl's main ability is to ejaculate repeatedly, an important attribute for a male performer in a one-day wonder.
This is porn at the level of a bad one-act play, executed in the manner of backyard film-making, badly lit and haphazardly staged & edited. Feature's theme can be summed up as "who cares?".
The sex is constant, repetitive and desultory (as the girls keep their eyes closed and behave as mechanically as possible), with an all-oiled-up lesbian scene between Nancy and chief prisoner Billi Best proving to be the most diverting footage. Premise is that the folks in the anteroom be tortured into pledging allegiance to the fuhrer, amidst half-hearted interrogation concerning the whereabouts of resistance leader "Jean-Paul" (unhelpful box notes on the SWV video call him John Paul, but I heard a more French Resistance sound to his moniker). He shows up at the end of the film, knocking heads with his rifle butt and shouting out some "get outta town" crap at the Nazis which was risible scripting rather than funny. It led me to revise my assumption about the story's locale.
A feeble attempt at humor is included when the only male prisoner, a bespectacled nerd, is forced to watch the girls having sex, and his member kept saluting with a will of its own, accompanied by "comical" sound effect.
Main point of interest during this farrago is the eclectic soundtrack of mainly Muzak instrumental versions of familiar songs, all unpaid for. I detected snatches of: Melanie's "Look What They've Done to My Song Ma," some John Barry musical cues from "Thunderball", some Miklos Rozsa noir themes, Bobby Vinton's "I Love How You Love Me", Nino Rota's theme from "The Godfather," Hal David & Burt Bacharach's "Trains and Boats and Planes," Gilbert O'Sullivan's "Alone Again Naturally," Larry Collins & Alex Harvey's Tanya Tucker hit "Delta Dawn", the Four Seasons' "Candy Girl," Max Steiner's "Gone With the Wind" love theme and even a vamp from the Doors' own version of "Light My Fire". Most of the "suspense" music is from Bernard Herrmann's "The Day the Earth Stood Still" score, where Gort is finally unfrozen and making his moves. As die-hard porn fans are well-aware, these pirate efforts are never complete without stealing from Bernard Herrmann. Only surprise here was Ennio Morricone getting left out.