Continuing Fassbinder’s early interest in teasing out the subtexts of American genre films, this stylized noir exercise—made under the signs of both Sam Fuller and Jean-Pierre Melville—focuses on the not-so-latent homoerotic tensions at the very heart of the gangster movie. Recently freed ex-con Franz (Harry Baer) is barely out of prison when he gets roped back into the Munich underworld that landed him behind bars in the first place. But this time, his romantic attentions are divided between femmes fatales Joanna (Hanna Schygulla) and Margarethe (Margarethe von Trotta) and, more unexpectedly, “Gorilla” (Günther Kaufmann, Fassbinder’s longtime lover, making his screen debut), the black Bavarian hit man who assassinated Franz’s informant brother.