|Directed by||Tinto Brass|
|Based on||Salon Kitty |
by Peter Norden
|Music by||Fiorenzo Carpi|
|Edited by||Tinto Brass|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Languages||Italian, English, German|
Salon Kitty is a 1976 erotic-war-drama film directed by Tinto Brass. The film was coproduced by Italy, France and West Germany. It is based on the novel of the same name by Peter Norden, covering the real life events of the Salon Kitty operation, under which the Sicherheitsdienst took over an expensive brothel in Berlin, had the place wire tapped, and replaced all the prostitutes with trained spies, in order to gather information on various members of the Nazi party and foreign dignitaries.
In the U.S., the film was edited to lighten the political overtones for an easier marketing as a sexploitation film and released under the title Madam Kitty with an X rating. Blue Underground Video, for the uncut version, has surrendered the X rating for an unrated DVD and Blu-ray release.
Wallenberg (Helmut Berger), an ambitious Nazi SS commandant, devises a plan to select a special group of female informants in order to plant them as prostitutes in a high class brothel on the eve of World War II in order to collect intel on various important members of the Nazi party and foreign dignitaries who frequent the establishment. The selected SS auxiliaries are then group tested with SS men to assess their suitability. The brothel is then purged of its regular girls and Kitty (Ingrid Thulin), the owner and Madam of the brothel, is forced to comply and allows her original girls to be deported as the building gets wiretapped with listening devices and other surveillance equipment, after which the new girls proceed to spy on their illustrious clients. However, when one of the informants named Margherita (Teresa Ann Savoy) discovers that the surveillance project resulted in the execution of her lover, Luftwaffe pilot, Hans Reiter (Bekim Fehmiu), she enlists Kitty to help her take down Wallenberg. Margherita entraps Wallenberg via a recording where he tells her that he has the dirt on all the top Nazi hierarchy and intends to bring them all down. As a consequence, Wallenberg is executed for treason.
- Helmut Berger as Helmut Wallenberg
- Ingrid Thulin as Kitty Kellermann
- Teresa Ann Savoy as Margherita
- John Steiner as Biondo
- Bekim Fehmiu as Captain Hans Reiter
- Stefano Satta Flores as Dino
- Sara Sperati as Helga, the dominatrix
- Maria Michi as Ilde
- Rosemarie Lindt as Susan
- John Ireland as Cliff
- Paola Senatore as Marika
- Tina Aumont as Herta Wallenberg
- Dan van Husen as Sergeant Rauss
- Luciano Rossi as Dr. Schwab
- Giancarlo Badessi as German Officer with Projector
- Malisa Longo as New Kitty Girl
- Patrizia Webley
- Aldo Valletti as Dart Throwing Client (uncredited)
- Salvatore Baccaro as Neanderthal Prison Inmate (uncredited)
The film also includes a large number of uncredited actors.
Salon Kitty was filmed mostly at Dear Studios in Rome, with some additional location filming in Germany. Production designer Ken Adam had recently suffered a nervous breakdown while working on Barry Lyndon, and he described his participation in this film as a creatively regenerative. He has stated that the production was enjoyable, and that he feels Salon Kitty is "underrated." Adam based his design of Wallenberg's apartment on his own memories of his family's apartment in World War II-era Berlin. Wallenberg's enormous office, though a set, allegedly features a real marble floor, as it was cheaper to use real marble than create a mock-up version.
Costumes and uniforms for the film were designed by Ugo Pericoli and Jost Jacob, and were constructed by Tirelli Costumi of Rome. Adam credited Jacob with the design of the 'kinky' uniforms that Wallenberg wears throughout the film.
Release and reception
Salon Kitty was released in Italy on March 2, 1976.
In a review at the time of the UK release, the Monthly Film Bulletin found the film to contain "a script that does nothing more than pile up the perversions as fast as possible (the characterisation hardly rises above the stock Nazi heavy while the motivation is consistently, and laughably, crude)" and hoped that "Italian directors will soon examine their recent track record of the atrocities of Nazi Germany (The Damned, The Night Porter, and now Salon Kitty) and abandon the subject for a long while to come."
- "Salon Kitty". Filmportal.de. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
- Zavattini, Cesare. L'ultimo schérmo: cinema di guerra, cinema di pace. EDIZIONI DEDALO, 1984.
- Stéphane François. Le nazisme revisité. Berg International, 2008.
- Cult Cinema. Cult Cinema. John Wiley and Sons, 2011.
- Dassanowsky, Robert. The Third Reich as Bordello and Pig Sty: Between Critical Neodecadence and Hyperbole of Degeneration in Tinto Brass' Salon Kitty. Nazisploitation! The Nazi Image in Low-Brow Cinema and Culture. Continuum, 2011. pgs. 115-134. ISBN 978-1441183590
- Frayling, Christopher (2005). Ken Adam: The Art of Production Design. London: Farber & Farber. p. 207. ISBN 0-571-23109-8.
- Frayling, p 205.
- Badder, David (1977). "Salon Kitty". Monthly Film Bulletin. Vol. 44 no. 516. British Film Institute. pp. 196–197. ISSN 0027-0407.
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