I am velvety-smoothReview is BELOWI am veltely smooth, too
DVD: Crimes of Passion, Unrated (1984)
Review Rating:   Very Good  
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Anchor Bay 
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1 (NTSC)

March 19, 2002



Genre: Erotic Thriller  
Warped story of a sexually disfunctional couple, a raunchy dominatrix, and a sleazy priest who likes to do more than watch through a peephole.  



Directed by:

Ken Russell
Screenplay by: Barry Sandler
Music by: Rick Wakeman
Produced by: Barry Sandler

Kathleen Turner,  Anthony Perkins,  John Laughlin,  Annie Potts,  Bruce Davison

Film Length: 112 mins
Process/Ratio: 1.85 :1
Anamorphic DVD: Yes
Languages:  English (mono)
Special Features :  

Audio Commentary by Director Ken Russell and Writer/Producer Barry Sandler / 7 indexed deleted scenes (19:54 - Anamorphic) with ‘Play All' option and optional commentary by Writer/Producer Barry Sandler / Unrated, Uncensored version including newly-restored, never before seen footage / Theatrical trailer for "Crimes Of Passion" (1.85:1 Anamorphic)

Comments :

Considered an enfant terrible among England's filmmakers, director Ken Russell's career is full of extremes - in terms of quality, eclectic subject matter, and stylistic approaches - although it seems his films from the 1980s have aged rather well. Sure they're full of excess - Ken must have at least one oversexed or sexually assaulted Nun sequence to satisfy his "lapsing Catholic" stature - but amid the studio and independent projects, a few films are thoroughly enjoyable romps of aggressive naughtiness and deliberate kitsch.

"Crimes of Passion" ran afoul of the American censors, and various naughty bits had to be nipped and tucked away, or snipped off entirely to ensure some measure of theatrical distribution. The DVD's commentary track, recorded for Lumivision's 1996 laserdisc, features writer/producer Barry Sandler and director Russell, and for the first 50 minutes the two reminisce, pointing out key sequences that have been restored for the video release. The screenplay's genesis and the production's low-budget challenges are the main focus for the first half, with generous attention given to the cast, and the film's garish visual design. Just as things start to get moving, however, screenwriter Sandler announces Russell has left to catch a plane, and we're left with a more limited commentary. (The fact we don't get to hear Russell's comments on working with Perkins for the actor's dynamic concluding scenes is a great loss.)

Anchor Bay's DVD includes the film's teasing theatrical trailer, which suffers from visible artifacting in the blacks; and an assembly of 7 indexed deleted scenes taken from a grainy full screen video tape, with heavy grain and some phasing problems. Though purely of archival note, the deleted material is mostly short scenes of character insight, and as writer Barry Sandler repeats in the optional commentary track, the scenes were lost to improve pacing, maintain an even flow, and remove redundancies. Though the laserdisc featured an additional television spot and only 2 of the 7 deleted scenes, Sandler's commentary was similarly carried over from the laserdisc release.

The DVD transfer is quite nice, showing off the garish primary colours and silver sheen that permeates the seedy world of Turner's character. Even the grungy streets and filthy peep booths look sharp, with saturated colours heightening the terrain with which Turner and Perkins are obsessed. Artifacting is somewhat evident during simple black backgrounds - such as the basic main titles - and the block patterns are rather distracting at times, though the transfer is an improvement over the label's bare bones 1998 edition, which contained visible grain and wringing along sharp edges.

Rick Wakeman's rare foray into feature film scoring is aggressive and satirical, incorporating Dvorak's "New World Symphony," and the mono mix is pretty punchy, with dialogue and sound effects evenly balanced.

Fans of the film should be delighted with this special edition, and nun fetishism notwithstanding,, "Crimes of Passion" certainly shows Ken Russell's skill as a former editor, and proficient filmmaker.


© 2002 Mark R. Hasan

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