Der Sittlichkeitsverbrecher (1963)

Back in the art-house days, porn and classic foreign cinema coexisted, as a loyal fan base had been established for the risqué movies of Brigitte Bardot and later Ingmar Bergman-directed classics. This odd bird from Switzerland falls into the light porn category.

Only slightly spiced up by its NYC-lensed racy inserts (flesh but no nudity to speak of), film has modest English-dubbing, but relies heavily on a femme voicing serious narration. The Something Weird Video hack shills for it unmercifully on the back of the video box, promising a low-down and dirty movie, but it is tastefully done.

Documentary-style in nature, but with actors, THE MOLESTERS covers in detail the various type of perverts who represent a menace to society. The emphasis is on child molesters, with only brief vignettes regarding rape, fetishism (a guy stealing women’s underwear), masochism (we watch NY soft porn star Darlene Bennett wielding her whip) and exhibitionism (film opens with a guy flashing a woman who’s out walking her dog, in a timid bit of footage that is repeated twice later on).

The first lengthy segment of a young girl kidnapped at a pet store and molested (off-screen) provides an excellent demonstration of police procedural, as every step of the investigation and followup with the suspect is elaborated in minute detail. In both this sequence and later on, closeup photography of evidence, Rohrschach ink blot tests or microscopic visuals are presented in a pink tint, similar to the common tinting done during the Silent Era. This is identified in IMDb and on the video box as color footage, but I suspect it was simply black & white material tinted to set it apart -think of the night scenes in any silent film where tinting was de rigeur to simulate “day for night”.

Two later segments provide the most dramatic action, moving the film from documentary into familiar fiction genres. One has to do with a boy being molested, climaxing in an effective (if hokey) courtroom drama. The other has a step-father raping his 14-year old daughter, with some fine acting by both of them and mom.

Probably the only segment that strays over the line is an on-screen depiction of a castration operation, as the narrator explains how castration (as opposed to sterilization) lowers the sex drive and is a “recommended” cure to prevent sex offenders from recidivism. This graphic footage, brief as it is, squarely puts THE MOLESTERS into the traditional exploitation genre of birth-of-a-baby blood & guts.

Excellent print quality makes the SWV reissue worthwhile. Coincidentally, the same Swiss production company that made THE MOLESTERS also co-produced (with West Germany) what I’ve always thought was the best movie on the subject of child molesting, IT HAPPENED IN BROAD DAYLIGHT, starring Gert Frobe in one of his best performances. I watched that one on broadcast TV over 40 years ago via a syndication package, and it was very impressive.