Town Without Pity (1961)

Description[from Freebase]

Town Without Pity is a 1961 American, Austrian and West German international co-production drama film directed by Gottfried Reinhardt. Produced by The Mirisch Corporation, the film stars Kirk Douglas, Christine Kaufmann, and E. G. Marshall. The film was based on the 1960 novel Das Urteil (The Verdict) by German writer Gregor Dorfmeister, who wrote under the pen name Manfred Gregor. The film was rewritten at Kirk Douglas' suggestion by Dalton Trumbo without credit. Four somewhat drunk American soldiers leave a bar (where "Town Without Pity" is playing on the jukebox) in occupied Germany after World War II. Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old Karin Steinhof (Christine Kaufmann) has a quarrel with her 19-year-old boyfriend, Frank Borgmann, in the countryside. She leaves to change out of her wet bikini, and is taken by Sergeant Chuck Snyder (Frank Sutton) and gang raped by him, Corporal Birdwell Scott (Richard Jaeckel), Private Joey Haines (Mal Sondock) and Corporal Jim Larkin (Robert Blake). When Frank hears her screams for help, he runs to her, but is knocked out.


No idea where this pity-free town is supposed to be. The action in Town Without Pity takes place in the German countryside, near a little village. They do play the crooning classic ‘Town Without Pity’ on every jukebox in the village at every opportunity (not to mention during the credits).

Kirk Douglas recalls the work he did four years earlier in Paths of Glory, this time as a lawyer representing four American military boys in Deutschland accused of gang raping a local fraulein. (Imagine how tepidly that plays out in a film 40 years old.) He tries to get them off (or one of them, at least) during a trial that plays out in a highschool gymnasium.

Curious but awfully tame, the female voice-over narration is one of the most intrusive in film history.

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