Cimes of Passion

Bomb Rating: 

Give Ken Russell a camera and a script and you can bet the convent there's going to be a nun in the picture and she isn't going to be passing out rosary beads. In this case, the prostitute called China Blue (Kathleen Turner) dresses up like a nun at one point to torment her so-called savior, Reverend Peter Shayne (Anthony Perkins). The Reverend does his best to try and reform China Blue, but since he's being played by the forever-psychotic Perkins, it's obvious that some other form of "redemption" will probably take place.

This film is obviously about sexual obsession, but since it's by Russell, it's also about how a dirty old guy can get his rocks off. Close-ups of Kathleen Turner's nipples certainly help -- and you can be guaranteed there are plenty of those kinds of shots, particularly in the unrated version.

Tireless viewers will find more overt sexual symbolism in "Crimes of Passion" than at a "Baywatch" convention. One supposes that Ken Russell is not so much interested in exploring sexuality in the human condition as he is in seeing just what he can get away with. There's a super-sharp silver dildo in this film that's intended to kill China Blue and there's an impression of a penis by the film's protagonist, Bobby Grady (John Laughlin), in which he ties basketballs to his feet and spits milk.

What would "Pee Wee's Playhouse" be like if it were rated X? Just watch any Ken Russell film and you're bound to get a good idea. It's no coincidence that the predominant off-duty image of Russell and Paul Rubens is pretty much the same.

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