Sight and Sound - 12/01/2006
"A young Charlotte Rampling brings intelligence and sensitivity to her role..."
Total Film - 09/01/2012 3 stars out of 5 -- "Cavani's of-its-time film recalls washed-out post-war thrillers like MARATHON MAN and Nic Roeg's icy flair."
Description by OLDIES.com:
In Liliana Cavani's scintillating drama, a concentration camp survivor (Charlotte Rampling) discovers her ex-torturer/lover (Dirk Bogarde) working as a night porter at a hotel in postwar Vienna. When the couple attempt to re-create their sadomasochistic relationship, his former SS comrades begin to stalk them. Operatic and disturbing, The Night Porter deftly examines the cruelty and decadence of Nazi culture.
Liliana Cavani's controversial film featured a breakout performance by the American actress Charlotte Rampling in this Italian tour de force. Thirteen years after World War II, while working as a night porter in a Vienna hotel occupied by ex-Nazis, a former SS concentration camp officer, played by Dirk Bogarde, is astonished when a past victim-lover (Rampling), checks into the hotel with her husband. Despite the horrific nature of their former "relationship"--glimpsed in flashbacks of rape, torture and humiliation--their sadomasochistic sexual bond is soon rekindled. Eventually, the SS wants to eliminate the woman, as she is a witness to war crimes. THE NIGHT PORTER is not only an operatic and disturbing cult film that deftly examines the cruelty and decadence of Nazi culture, but an unconventional love story. Based on writer-director Liliana Cavani's interviews with an actual concentration camp survivor, THE NIGHT PORTER is one of the more controversial films of the 1970s, examining aspects of human interaction few works dare to touch.
From director Liliana Cavani, the scintillating story of the abusive, sexually-charged relationship, rekindled unexpectedly thirteen years after World War II, between an ex-Nazi officer (Bogarde) who served in a concentration camp, and one of the women prisoners (Rampling) he controlled.