Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS (Don Edmonds / U.S., 1975):

Brooks roasts Mein Kampf as the dreadful libretto it is while Syberberg imagines Hitler as a smoking sphincter, and then there’s Dyanne Thorne in kommandant cap and unbuttoned swastikas as the grindhouse elucidation of Brecht's "bitch in heat." The pneumatic fräulein is a diesel-fueled wanton dilated perhaps out of Russell's nightmare sequence in Mahler, an abyss forever looking to be plugged; the prisoner camp is sterilization farm, gruesome laboratory and cardboard Playboy mansion, she runs it "for the cause of medical research." Gyno-abuse reigns, the bloodier and the more pubic the better: Women are whipped, boiled and mangled with such gusto that even the Mengele manqué (George "Buck" Flower) sheepishly asks for less, less. "The strong one" (Maria Marx) is the defiant Jewess picked to embody Ilsa's theory on how much torture the female body can withstand, the visiting Nazi General (Richard Kennedy) contemplates the gory results and arrives at Major Bergmann's conclusion of "superior race" in Roma, Città Aperta. (A golden shower from the grimacing Valkyrie follows.) On the masculine front, the Yankee fuck-machine (Gregory Knoph) and the vengeful castratto (Tony Mumolo) realize that the uprising must start in the warden's boudoir, and charge accordingly. How to speak of the unspeakable? A million miles away from the Kapo tracking shot that so disgusted Jacques Rivette and Serge Daney, Don Edmonds insists on monstrous images for monstrous history -- a moral position in spite of itself. A degraded pop document about degraded representation, an excoriating text scratched all too fittingly on crumbling Hogan's Heroes sets. Next stop, imperialism and Mesopotamia (Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks). With Nicolle Riddell, Jo Jo Deville, Sandy Richman, and Rodina Keeler.

--- Fernando F. Croce

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