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Film Review: The Gestapos Last Orgy (1977)

SYNOPSIS:

A small town strip club owner must defend her bar, her strippers and her life when violent infected patrons show up on the final closing night and all hell breaks loose.

REVIEW:

The filmography of Italian director Cesare Canevari is quite an interesting one in that he managed to cover all the important milestones of the exploitation cinema of his time. He explored the world of the spaghetti Western (Per un dollar a Tucson si muore and Matalo!), giallo (Hyena in the Safe and Killing of the Flesh), and straight-up sleaze (he’s got The Nude Princess which sometimes may or may not have included inserted hardcore scenes, as well as an installment in the popular series with A Man for Emmanuelle). But the film he’ll forever be known for is his entry into the world of Nazisploitation, The Gestapo’s Last Orgy. Written and directed by Canevari (and co-written by Antonio Lucarella), this film goes all-out sleaze from beginning to end and manages to add in plenty of controversy along the way.

The overarching plot, set in the movie’s present-day storyline, follows Lise (Daniela Poggi), a Jewish WWII camp survivor, and Conrad von Starker (Adriano Micantoni), a former commandant in the Nazi army, as they revisit the site where they first met: an abandoned concentration camp. Who ever said romance is dead? While we do revisit the couple on their stroll down memory lane from time to time, the majority of the film is comprised of flashbacks, presenting some of the more mean-spirited sex and torture scenes found in the Nazisploitation subgenre. If you are familiar with these films, you know what to expect – all-female prison camp, sex (and rape), and plenty of torture.

Right from the start, the tone of The Gestapo’s Last Orgy is obvious, beginning with a line of Nazi soldiers being congratulated for being assigned to the camp and shown a procession of sexy photos of nude women. On the other side of the room stand the new female prisoners, nude and scared. The soldiers are unleashed, and it progresses into an involuntary orgy of rough, demeaning rape. Shortly after, we watch as the older, pregnant, or less attractive prisoners are sent down a tunnel and burned alive. At some point along the way, von Starker takes a strong disliking to Lise and makes it his personal mission to break her down, demean her, and destroy her, and much of the focus stays with them.

Lise is subjected to verbal humiliation, she is whipped, and she is brutalized. She is forced to watch von Starker and Alma (Maristella Greco, who falls more into the “Baroness” category than the “Ilsa” category of sexy Nazi) have sex, she is hung upside-down over a tank of rats, she is made to fellate the barrel of a loaded gun, and she is suspended over quick lime in attempts to break her – most all of this while nude. Believe it or not, this is a better fate than most of the women get; they are bludgeoned to death, thrown to a pack of wild dogs to be torn apart and eaten, and actually dropped into the quick lime. There is an abundance of sadism on display throughout the film, and it seems not a single character is safe.

The Gestapo’s Last Orgy has a somewhat misleading name, as the only “orgy” in the film is near the beginning and hardly seems worthy of such a lofty title. But, as always, there are multiple titles for this film. Last Orgy of the Third Reich may be equally misleading, but not as much as Caligula Reincarnated as Hitler, which also easily wins for best alternative title ever. But a strange choice of titles is nothing new to exploitation cinema – any one of these three grabs attention, which grabs viewers, which grabs money. Besides, titles are hardly the focus when we’re discussing a film that has the audacity to create a love story between a Jewish prisoner and a high-ranking Nazi official who we see do nothing but abuse her. Then again, at one point Lise confides in a doctor that she hopes to die soon, but after he proceeds to have sex with her (I feel like that might violate the patient-doctor relationship), she decides she wants to live! In other words, this film is not for the easily offended.

The Gestapo’s Last Orgy is quite an experience. It is brutal, and sleazy, and disturbing, as one might expect of any film linking Nazis and orgies. And then there is the ending, which will catch a lot of viewers off-guard, as we get an incomparable act of betrayal followed up by a shocking surprise. This is a film for lovers of sleaze, for exploitation fans who can be satisfied with a shaky plot as long as there is plenty to see on screen. As far as Nazisploitation films go, this one falls somewhere in the middle – not the best, but certainly not even close to the worst – and is definitely worth checking out.

 

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