Red Sun

Germany, 1970
Original title: Rote Sonne

Director: Rudolf Thorne
Starring: Uschi Obermaier, Marquard Bohm, Sylvia Kekule
IMDB: 6.2

Ordinarily I don't bother to review movies I don't particularly like - it takes me hours to write a review and I'm usually not inspired enough to spend the time unless I really like the film. However, in some cases the film is rare enough, or features a theme, director, or actor that makes a review worthwhile. In this case, the film is of interest due to the lead actress Uschi Obermaier, and because its a film that is pretty hard to find.

Casting the current 'IT girl' of the time, groupie extraordinaire and supermodel Uschi Obermaier was a great idea, and is probably the only reason this film is remembered today. Uschi's fame rose considerably when she started banging both Mick Jagger AND Keith Richards. Her free-lovin' story is told excellently in the biopic Eight Miles High (reviewed here), and it was that film that inspired me to check this out to see what she really looked like. (As it turns out, Natalia Avelon absolutely nailed her look).

The film actually has a very interesting concept - if it had been realised to its full exploitational potential it could have become something of a cult gem. I assume that the prevailing cultural atmosphere of West Germany at the time was just too restrictive to best follow through on the premise.

Four gorgeous young women living together, each sharing a common hatred of men due to the way they've been treated in the past, make a pact that they can only date for a maximum of 5 days. After that the men must be killed to ensure that no meaningful feelings develop.

Meanwhile Thomas, a fashionable young sponge decides to look up his former flame Peggy, who he has belatedly decided he is in love with. She is working the bar at Club Take Five and is the 'leader' of the aforementioned four women.

He soon moves in with her and begins to find out what they're up to. I'm not sure if its part of the character or just a sign of the times, but Thomas is a first-class tosser, treating Peggy like a slave, and flirting with the other women. However its not long before his 5 days are overdue, and the girls start pressuring Peggy to live up to the pact.

For exploitation fans, the presence of Uschi Obermaier and 3 other young vixens is a promising start. Uschi goes bra-less the entire movie and favours short mini-skirts as her daily attire. Even Sylvia (Sylvia Kekule) sports a schoolgirl outfit in a few scenes. But there is no nudity or sex, and the kills are either off-camera or remarkably bloodless affairs. Opportunity lost.

The film does have a few things going for it for those interested in early 70's fashion and music. The costumes and decor are pure 70s, and the soundtrack features some appropriately funky rock. Its also interesting to see that practically every car is a Volkswagen or Mercedes - even the taxis!

But aside from being an interesting period curio, the film has quite a few problems. A poor script, weak direction, and the acting uninspiring. I must note however that the version I saw had poorly translated subtitles, so the film may make more sense to native German speakers.

Interestingly, there is barely a scene in the movie where everyone is not smoking. Either they had cigarette company sponsorship, or the actors were so wired that they were chain-smoking for the entire duration (perhaps likely). I have nothing against smoking in movies, but the constant smoking actually became a prevalent theme.

Unfortunately, Uschi really is the only highlight of this muddled film. She has great fashion-sense and looks ridiculously hot throughout. But the rest of the film is quite poor.

Uschi made just five feature films in her heyday, and some of those are impossible to find. For fans or those just interested in her after seeing Eight Miles High, the movie is worth a look. For anyone else, I say pass.

Rating: 3/10

Some more caps of Uschi ...

Video excerpt

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