Crimes of Passion1984

Director: Ken Russell
Stars: Kathleen Turner, Anthony Perkins, Bruce Davison, Gordon Hunt, Dan Gerrity
Genre: Drama, Romance, Thriller
Rating: Unrated
Runtime: 112 minutes

The crazy man of British film, Ken Russell (Women in Love, Whore), hit the apex of guilty-pleasure absurdity with Crimes of Passion, a dark if pointed (and ultimately poignant) walk on the wild side. Although this schizophrenic, neon-blurred traipse through the red-light district of Los Angeles, courtesy of hooker and guide China Blue (Kathleen Turner), never made much money at the box office, it still managed to eke out a cult following. Barry Sandler's script felt a lot like a play with its rather stilted (but furiously funny) dialogue between Turner and Anthony Perkins, who plays an obsessed and crazed stalker/reverend who believes he is China Blue's savior. Their story is contrasted against that of Bobby Grady (John Laughlin), who is married to the materialistic Amy (Annie Potts). After taking a second job as a private investigator for a dress manufacturer who thinks his lead designer, Joanna Crane (Turner again), is selling patterns to a rival, Bobby becomes mired in a netherworld he never imagined. But it's Bobby who becomes Joanna/China Blue's true savior; it seems Joanna's husband cheated on her and she created the alter ego, China Blue, in order to control her world by making men dependent on her sexuality. The facade cracks after Bobby hits the scene. Russell's film is bawdy and even daring, and the unrated version on DVD features a couple of scenes (one with China Blue, a cop, and his nightstick, as well as some flashes of pornography) that were not included in the film's original release. Also for die-hard fans, Sandler originally ended the script at a more ambiguous place in the climactic scene in Joanna's apartment. An "epitaph" with Bobby at an encounter group was added to appease the distributor, who wanted a more upbeat, "Hollywood" conclusion. Sandler's original idea gave the film a real wallop, but despite the change, Crimes of Passion remains an original camp classic. --Paula Nechak

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