Die nackte Gräfin (1971)

Countess Verena (Ursula Blauth) is a pawn of her sexually berated husband, Count Anatol Manesse-Manconi (W.G. Lukschy) and has been turned by him from the country girl briefly model into a hedonistic sophisticate who goes along with his unusual tastes, even in fact, relishing them.

The beautiful younger woman has been hypnotized by her husband’s strong personality and fascinated by the erotic experiences he puts her through. A complete voyeur, he does not actively partake of sex himself but only reacts by having his wife indulge in wild affairs with other men-all of which the Count photographs and exhibits on the walls of his bedroom…

THE NAKED COUNTESS is a rather unusual and surprisingly dark erotic film by German standards of the Seventies. At a time when the majority of German sexploitation consisted either of silly sex comedies or “report films” such as the infamous SCHOOLGIRL REPORT series (which broke all national box office records) this film had other things in mind.
In fact, it hardly resembles any of its German contemporaries – instead, it’s rather reminiscent of both Scandinavian genre efforts and, in fact, of genre mavericks such as Jess Franco, Radley Metzger and Max Pécas.

The De Sade-esque story of innocent country girl Verena (Ursula Blauth), who is seduced and corrupted by an obsessively voyeuristic elderly Count (played by Wolfgang Lukschy of THE DARK EYES OF LONDON and FOR A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS) is told in flashbacks within a time frame of one evening throughout which a police inspector (played by director Kurt Nachmann himself) investigates at the Count’s villa after the naked corpse of a young man is found in the Count’s car by a road in the countryside.

Lensed with obvious pleasure by Franz X. Lederle (cinematographer of VANESSA and BLOODY FRIDAY) and carried by a fantastic score by Gerhard Heinz (parts of which he later reused for the German version of Jess Franco’s EROTISMO), the film evokes a rather detached, almost surreal mood which is supported by comparatively sparse, stylised dialogue. Hieronymus Bosch’s “Garden of Delights” is frequently referenced and the title song is called “The sins of yesterday and today” – you know what you are in for!
Being a West German film, there is, of course, a somewhat moralistic undercurrent, but as is so often the case, it is impossible to take it seriously, because the air of anti-libertinage-ism is contradicted strongly by the aggressive and decadent (albeit bourgeois) eroticism that Nachmann – previously screenwriter of musicals and comedies such as THE BLONDE AND THE BLACK PUSSYCAT – indulges in with obvious fervour. If you like films such as SINNER, EUGENIE DE SADE, THE IMAGE or EXPOSEDC, then this is for you.