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Crimes of Passion (1984 movie)

1 rating: 3.0
A movie directed by Ken Russell

Ken Russell's sexual caricature finds an all-American man, who's trapped in a sexless marriage, falling in love with a businesswoman who turns into a hooker by night. A psychotic priest (Perkins) tries to prevent their union, driving the wedge … see full wiki

Director: Ken Russell
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: 1984
MPAA Rating: Unrated
1 review about Crimes of Passion (1984 movie)

Crimes of Passion - 1984

  • Jun 23, 2002
Pros: it's campy enough

Cons: may be a little over the top for some to understand

The Bottom Line: It's just worth the watch

Uh, where do I start?

Crimes of Passion, released in 1984, stars a quite different Kathleen Turner than you see in Romancing the Stone, although she won Best Actress from LAFCA that year for both these parts.

I was surprised to see her fresh faced beauty, much like I was to ‘discover’ the ingenue Candice Bergen in Carnal Knowledge. We forget, I believe, when we see them in movies today that they were once much younger, flowing, firmer, and Kathleen had not developed that throaty rasp she has now.

Simply put, Turner plays the part of Joanna, an architect by day, and China Blue, a prostitute by night.

Oh yes I am wise But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I gained
As China, she can act out all those fantasies the bad little boys have that visit her, yet she can remain separate from a true commitment.

As Joanna, she is competent and sure of herself at work. In fact so assured that her boss believes she is the one stealing plans and selling them to the competition. So he puts a tail on her, a little private eye, Bobby Grady ( John Laughlin ), that discovers the secret of China Blue/Joanna, and falls in love.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

From the inside looking out
I'm watching our love slip away
And I can't figure out how to reach you, what to say
Oh it's killing me, what nobody sees
From the outside looking in
The story opens with a group counseling session. From the language and talk, we assume it is a session dealing with relationships. Our star, Bobby, is singled out to speak but assures the counselor he is there as a guest only at the wishes of his friend Donny ( Bruce Davidson ), who has the real problems.

He, after all, is married to the perfect woman, Amy, leads the perfect life, has the perfect marriage with 2.3 children, a dog, a house, his own business, two cars in the garage and a chicken in the pot.

Yeah, right.

We get a little look into that perfect marriage, the high school sweethearts – football hero and cheerleader – that married and lead an idyllic life. Amy ( Annie Potts ) is further put off when Bobby accepts this new gig, the private eye duty at night. Of course, Bobby is only doing it for Amy, to get her a hot tub. I mention the hot tub because God knows they do – at least 15 times in the friggin movie!

Sure, things are not as they appear, money is tight, the family unit isn’t really running as smoothly as Bobby likes to project.

Then he meets China Blue.

I'm on the highway to hell (Don't stop me)
And I'm going down, all the way down
I'm on the highway to hell
Just because the movie isn’t bizarre enough, we get the pleasure of Anthony Perkins, revising his Psycho persona as the Rev. Peter Shayne, stalking China Blue. Peeking through holes drilled in her hotel room walls, watching her manipulations with her tricks, basically setting out to ‘save her’.

Perkins is a self-professed preacher and he has deemed it his duty to be China’s salvation.

In a word, insane. Two scenes stick out, one is his little stint at the piano. Talk about a surprise. The other is when he appears with the crown of thorns. He looks every bit of insane in this scene, in fact, throughout the movie. Is he acting? Or is it Memorex?

The movie ends at the same counseling session, with Bobby being sought out once again for his story.

I feel I would be remiss to offer any more of this story. It is truly an epic that all should watch and enjoy. There are many offbeat and unusual circumstances throughout the story.

And I'm standing here for all the world to see
Oh baby, that's what's left of me
Don't have very far to fall
It was definitely a unique role for Turner, to put it mildly. I guess hidden under all the sex there was a small story nestled there but I’m not exactly sure what it is. The acting was, um, different.

Perkins was so over the top that at one point we laughed right out loud. In fact, there were several times throughout the movie we were laughing, shaking our heads, or just staring with wild-eyed astonishment.

Generally I enjoy Annie Potts, remembering her from Designing Women and Ghostbusters days, but she just didn’t pull this one off. Her delivery often seemed slow like she had missed a cue, but I will say that she got into her part as a SAHM with an attitude! Can’t say much about the abilities of Laughlin or even Davidson. Davidson has been in a thousand movies, countless TV shows, we’ve seen him forever, but eeech! in this production.

She's history
No one would give her a star on the walk
She'd have a hundred if pillows could talk
Where have I seen her before?
She's the face on the cutting room floor
We went so far as to watch the deleted scenes on the DVD because frankly we couldn’t imagine WHAT they would have deleted from this movie. I know why they ended up on the cutting room floor. After the deleted scenes, and previously the movie, I just didn’t have the heart to set through the commentary section on the DVD.

Written by Barry Sandler and directed way out of control by Ken Russell. It is wide screen format, 110 minutes.

After about an hour, I turned to Diane and said, 110 minutes? How long HAVE we been watching this movie anyway? She said about 4-1/2 hours.

Yeah, that’s about right.

The movie is rated R for violence, language and sexual situations. Mature audiences only please. It’s all about campy and bad movie, and I know you are chomping at the bit to pick it up. Let me know how you enjoy it.


p.s. no one told me I was going to have to see Kathleen Turner naked.

[1]From I Am Woman by Helen Reddy
[2]From Outside Looking In by Kellie Coffey
[3]From Highway To Hell by AC/DC
[4]From Shameless by Garth Brooks
[5]From Face on the Cutting Room Floor by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band


Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age

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