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Old 06-21-2017, 12:54 PM
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Crimes of Passion (1984), directed by Ken Russell.

Ken Russell, Sex Doctor! Erratic as he was at film directing, it's probably best he stuck to that. I remember liking this a lot but now... well, times have changed, as has the viewer.

Our cast:

  • Kathleen Turner is a cold and tightly wound fashion designer by day, but after hours moonlights as "China Blue", a specialty prostitute who will do any sort of role-playing nastiness.
  • Anthony Perkins provides his reliably bizarre talents to enact a crazed self-loathing street preacher who wants to do something to China. Save her, kill her, something.
  • John Laughlin is an ordinary working guy and family man, sexually frustrated to the breaking point, who becomes enamored of China in both of her characters.
  • Annie Potts has the thankless role of his frigid, hectoring wife who doesn't want to hear about this sex stuff.

The good:

  • It is bold filmmaking, like experimental theater where the audience is meant to be uncomfortable.
  • Films seldom have such raw and honest conversations on sex as the midnight pillow talk of the husband and wife.
  • Dramatic visual design, lurid neon in the red light district, natural tones in suburbia.

The bad:

  • Russell has repellent notions of sex. The fantasies, costumes, smutty patter: they all drain the images of what appeal they might have. Maybe he intends that. I can't tell.
  • Back then the dialogue seemed like properly stylized stage-speak. Now it is just plain bad, like the writer's outline of the characters' messages or a rough first draft of what he wants them to say.
  • Even as overblown psychotic plot development the ending makes no sense. And what did they do with the body?
  • Rick Wakeman's brief score tends toward the irritating and we have to have a music video.

This is brave work by Kathleen Turner, still early in her career and already enthusiastically trying new and risky roles. By contrast, she did the soft adventure/romance Romancing the Stone (1984) the same year.

Available on Blu-ray from Arrow Video, containing both the theatrical and director's cut, which is I think just the original version before it was trimmed to earn an R rating. More porn-like explicitness, and a savage scene where China cuffs a big policeman and rides hard, including brutal work with his nightstick up his backside.

The director and writer provide a commentary track. Russell is always funny but I'm never sure how accurate. He had to leave the session and I bailed after that.

He says: the reason Anthony Perkins looks like he has slept in his clothes is that he would take them home every night and sleep in them.



-Bill

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Old Today, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BOBAH1 View Post
have one good old film - Kidnapping, Caucasian Style.
This one? http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060584/.

That's from 1967. You want this thread: Review older films here: 1979 and earlier

Tell us more.

-Bill

Review older films here: 1979 and earlier | 1980s | 1990s | Combined reviews: Strange Picture Scroll
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Old Today, 05:18 PM
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