Just a Gigolo


by Tuna

Just a Gigolo, a West German film about WW1, was one of the the first directorial efforts from the iconic 1960s actor David Hemmings.

It is the story of a young Prussian officer who reports to the front in the "Big War" in search of fame and glory, only to have the war end moments later. At this point, his commanding officer thinks it is an allied trick, and the two rush the enemy. They are bombed for their effort. Our young man wakes up in a French hospital where he is given a hero's reception, until they discover he is German, not French. He returns to Berlin, but finds things very different, and sets about finding something to do for a living. Nothing else works out, and he becomes a gigolo. Meanwhile, he maintains a relationship with his old commanding officer, who is shown to be an early Nazi. A local girl, a wannabe actress, has always lusted after him. He doesn't seem interested in that, but still longs for glory in the service of the fatherland.

IMDb feels the above is a drama, but I would have said comedy or farce. Whatever it is, it is unwatchable. Much of the original film was destroyed in a fire and Hemmings took three years to cobble together a film from the footage he had left over. His cut was 147 minutes long, but his producer shortened it to 91 minutes, and it is still too long ...

... by about 89 minutes.

Whether it is a drama or a comedy or both, the most noteworthy thing about the film is the cast, which includes David Bowie as the young officer, Sydne Rome as the actress, and such stalwarts as Kim Novak, Marlene Dietrich, Curt Jürgens and David Hemmings himself.

As a movie, this was a miss, but it is notable, if only for the performances of so many vintage superstars, the first film role for Bowie (although it was released after The Man Who Fell to Earth), and the final screen appearance of Ms. Dietrich, who came out of a two-decade retirement to make this movie. (It was finally released 18 years after Judgment at Nuremberg.)


Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


But one that some of you might want to consider for  considerations beyond the merit of the film itself.

Just a Gigolo DVD David Bowie Sydney Rome (1978)

It is letterboxed to the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.8:1, and is available Rare Licensed DVDs in an all-region DVD.

The transfer is grainy, no doubt because of the original master. 


There are no detailed reviews online.



5.1 IMDB summary (of 10)




  • Sydne Rome's breasts are visible beneath a fish-net top that covers nothing.