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USA 1984
Directed by
Ken Russell
104 minutes
Rated R

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Crimes Of Passion

Like Catherine Deneuve in Belle De Jour (1967), Kathleen Turner lives a double life being a fashion designer by day and a hooker calling herself China Blue at night, a game which gets her into all kinds of dodgy company including that of a religious maniac, Peter Shayne (Anthony Perkins). But then along comes All-American nice guy, Bobby Grady (John Laughlin) and both of them find the erotic key missing from their lives.

Ken Russell’s film is almost equally interesting and ridiculous. It’s interesting when Barry Sandler's screenplay explores the sexual wasteland of middle class marriage, when the humdrum routine of mortgage and child-rearing has long since taken over fun in the sack. It’s ridiculous when Russell gives free rein (well as far as censorship allows although there are apparently varyingly explicit versions of the film floating around) to his penchant for lurid sex and no-holds-barred histrionics. This takes two forms – Kathleen Turner coupling with various johns and Anthony Perkins rolling his eyes madly and spouting religious cant.

God knows what she was thinking by taking the part but Turner does a convincing job as a hooker. Perkins on the other hand rolls out his typical twitching psychopath schtick. There are those who will enjoy this film for its over-the-top indulgences  (the appropriate music is by Yes's Rick Wakeman), those who will find it reprehensible and those who will find it a candid take on the battle between the libido and its repression.  Either way it is certainly worth a mention in the category of cinema of excess.




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