The most controversial role of Dirk Bogarde’s career came as he starred as Maximillian Theo Aldorfer, a former SS officer, in this controversial tale of a Nazi-in-hiding who is reunited in sadomasochistic love with concentration camp survivor Lucia Atherton (Charlotte Rampling).
Set in 1957, Lucia recognises the night porter at a Vienna hotel as her Nazi seducer and torturer from her wartime imprisonment.
During the war, Max served as a fake doctor in a concentration camp, amusing himself with bizarre ‘experiments’ and photographic studies of the helpless prisoners
Their lives are endangered by other surviving Nazi officers Klaus (Philippe Leroy) and Hans (Gabriele Ferzetti), who are intent on wiping out witnesses to their past atrocities to prevent possible prosecution for war crimes.
During WWII as a young lieutenant in reconnaissance, Dirk Bogarde had entered the newly liberated camps of Soltau and Bergen-Belsen. Somewhere in the countryside outside Hanover in 1945, his tent peg had slipped into a mass grave.
His visual recall was so powerful that he could barely speak of what he had seen without weeping. Many believe that the reason he eventually agreed to do The Night Porter was to somehow release himself of the guilt and of the terrors he had been through in the war.
The Italian production was originally titled Il Portiere di Notte.
Professor Hans Vogler
Countess Erika Stein
Kai S. Seefeld