Thursday, May 21, 2009

Movie Review - Blitzkrieg: Escape From Stalag 69

Nazisploitation. In the realm of exploitation cinema, lovers of this subgenre surely occupy their own special place in hell. I'm not sure I'll be joining them, but they better save me a place, just in case.

Despite the exploitative elements here, Blitzkrieg - Escape from Stalag 69 succeeds on levels beyond the base foundation. If you're expecting things like naked women, cruelty, torture, domination and abuse, then you're going to find some of that. But there's more. This flick is long on dialog and character development, and there is a lot of story going on.

Ok, plot: WWII is winding down and the Kommandant of Stalag 69 is running amok, to the point that his chain of command is asking questions. The prisoners have figured out that before the camp is captured by the Allies, the Kommandant plans to kill all witnesses. They desperately look for the chance to activate their escape plans while the Kommandant, equally desperate, schemes and stalls for time before his superiors end his reign of terror.

Sometimes billed as "the only Nazisploitation film ever filmed entirely on Long Island", the entire budget for the movie was about $10,000. In a couple scenes some WWII reenactors are employed, so you're seeing authentic era uniforms on the Germans.

The Russian woman Natasha (played by Tatiana Kot) absolutely steals the show. Beyond that, the acting is uniformly enthusiastic, if somewhat uneven. Considering the subject matter, there are moments on screen where the scene is delivered with a giant wink.

Blitzkrieg runs over two hours, and besides the movie itself, the DVD is jam packed with extras. You can play the movie with commentary by Writer/Director Keith Crocker, the production designer and Ms. Kot. There's a 'making of' featurette, a long Q&A with the cast at the New York City premier, bloopers, deleted scenes, production stills and more.

Bottom line: not a great movie, and by most measures, not even a good one. Still, Blitzkrieg - Escape from Stalag 69 is an interesting effort that attempts to move beyond its legacy even while paying homage to its 70's predecessors. Unsophisticated fans of exploitation may be disappointed because of all the story interfering with the sleaze, but I enjoyed it.

Too bad the gorilla footage ended up on the cutting room floor, and the Japanese General could've used a little more screen time too.


dogette said...

I haven't watched any movies lately. I have a Netflix queue but it isn't moving.

This has nothing whatsoever to do with your review. I just wanted you to know someone was reading and not watching any movies.

Ted said...

My movie watching is way down too. Liz has been plowing through the miniseries, she watches them at night before bed. She's just finished up McLeod's Daughters, a series from Australia that she really likes.

Ted said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dogette said...

After my comment yesterday, The Hub spontaneously inquired, last night, if I wanted to go see the new Trek. So we did.

I liked it. A lot.