We will probably never know the exact number of Nazi war criminals who escaped from Germany in the aftermath of WW2 and made their way to South America but some of the more infamous ones are Adolf Eichmann, who was later captured in Buenos Aires, brought to trial in Israel and executed in 1962, and Josef Schwammberger, who was arrested in Argentina and returned to West Germany for a trial in 1992 (he was sentenced to life in prison and died there). At the same time, there have been reports that as many as 9,000 Nazi officers and collaborators found a safe haven in countries like Brazil and Paraguay under new identities and were never arrested for their war crimes. This unsettling realization inspires the narrative of Philippe Condroyer’s A Man to Kill (French title: Un Homme a abattre, 1967), a fictional espionage thriller that focuses on a suspected concentration camp officer who resurfaces in Barcelona years later as a low profile German architect.Continue reading
If U.S. moviegoers are familiar with the name Tinto Brass at all, it is probably due to the infamous 1979 epic Caligula which featured world renowned actors (Peter O’Toole, Helen Mirren, John Gielgud, Malcolm McDowell, etc.) and hardcore sex scenes (which were later added by producer/Penthouse tycoon Bob Guccione against the wishes of Brass who disowned the film). Brass had already established himself as a master of art house erotica/perversity with 1976’s Salon Kitty about a brothel in WWII Berlin where the prostitutes were undercover spies. But after Caligula, Brass seemed much happier directing more modestly budgeted, softcore adaptations of literary works like The Key (1983, based on the novel by Jun’ichiro Tanizaki) and Paprika (1991, inspired by the novel Fanny Hill), which showcased his increasing obsession with shapely female bottoms.
In retrospect, his early career is a contemplation of the paths not taken: documentary (Ca ira, il fiume della rivolta aka Thermidor, 1964), avant-garde cinema (L’urlo aka The Howl, 1970) and eccentric genre offerings such as Col cuore in gola aka Deadly Sweet, 1967). Of the latter, Yankee (1966), the only spaghetti western ever directed by Brass, is definitely worth a look. Continue reading