Review: 'House of the Sleeping Beauties'

German film about a lonely widower who sleeps beside drugged, naked women has a high yuck factor.

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    A still from the film "The House of Sleeping Beauties" by Vadim Glowna with Maximilian Schell.
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With the mounting number of first-rate, even masterly foreign-language films locked out of movie theaters due to wary distributors, it's worth pondering why such laughable dreck as German actor-writer-director Vadim Glowna's "House of the Sleeping Beauties" actually made it through. First Run Features, which has handled such exceptional foreign films as "Almost Brothers," "L'Iceberg" and "Buffalo Boy," is the distributor, and it's impossible to fathom what kind of audience it imagines would want to sit through endless scenes of Glowna, playing a lonely old businessman-widower, fondling and talking nonstop to naked young women. They are the title's "beauties," drugged by a sort of madame (played to hilariously bad excess by the fine German actor Angela Winkler) so they can sleep while male customers lie beside them in bed. Perhaps in the original Japanese (the film being adapted from Yasunari Kawabata's novel) this might work in some perverse fashion, but here, the yuck factor has been raised to a new level. Grade: D. (Unrated.)

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