Written by / 5/12/2016 / No comments / , , , , , , ,

NEO FILM NOIR AUTEUR BOB RAFELSON DIRECTS 'BLACK WIDOW'

Theresa Russell is the title character in BLACK WIDOW along with Debra Winger and Dennis Hopper Year: 1987
Bob Rafelson, best known for his collaborations with Jack Nicholson dating back to the 1960's before one was an extremely popular actor and the other was a worthy director, beginning before the A-list catapult with HEAD starring The Monkees, written by the struggling Jack and directed by Bob and followed by a motion picture that, after director Dennis Hopper replaced Rip Torn with Nicholson in EASY RIDER, made Jack a star followed by FIVE EASY PIECES that, as with another Bob collaboration, KING OF MARVIN GARDENS, wasn't without a touch of Film Noir...

Terry O'Quinn smokey atmosphere with Winger
A decade later, Bob and Jack went full-Noir with a steamy remake of THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE co-starring Jessica Lange. Loathed by fanatics of the original, in many ways it's more believable... How, in the 1946 melodrama, that strange, silly looking rich guy trusted the great looking John Garfield to hang around his trophy wife, an even greater looking Lana Turner, is all but impossible to fathom, but that particular aspect... old dudes trusting young couples to remain friends while pushing their friendship to no end always makes NOIR sense...

Tailing the Lead
So now we'll end with Jack by mentioning the last Film Noir, BLOOD AND WINE, with Michael Caine, an underrated, quiet little thriller that came and went, just like this venture a decade prior, BLACK WIDOW starring Debra Winger who, working in an FBI building and, "tired of green windows," ventures outside the box to patch together particular older rich men's deaths with their mysterious brides... Or, in her opinion not shared by anyone else, just ONE bride...

More Twilight Time
That being Theresa Russell, and the best scenes are in the first half as we catch mere glimpses of her WIDOW partaking in what the red-bellied spiders do best. And yet, unlike POSTMAN, there's very little sex involved... just the aftermath as we're initially introduced to each rich businessman/husband in quick jolts and, bordering on montage, Russell's enigmatic Catharine, using various methods to rid her marital partners on a permanent, moneymaking basis, provides dark entertainment that can be viewed again and again and not without ironic touches to revisit each time, like a special appearance by Lois Smith, who played Nicholson's sister in FIVE EASY PIECES, and EASY RIDER auteur Dennis Hopper as a toy manufacturer/doomed hubbie with a shallow paid-off sister in Diane Ladd, who led Jack on his maze in CHINATOWN and won't respond to subtle yet goading questions by a person who's become obsessed with her target...

Wanna Party?
Thus, in the buried lead, Debra Winger's Alexandra is one of those flawed, lonely women that, in completing her own existence, has to save one more life since she was almost able to save the most vulnerable and kind-hearted; the only fella we actually got to know past a few scenes of opening up a laced bottle. That being British actor Nicol Williamson, playing such a sweet, passive, gentle soul... whose money is invested in learning about the past through coins and antiques... he should have been the last man standing, instead of...

Russell & Hopper
Who practically ruins the film doesn't really. It's too good of a build-up for the guy who both beauties fall madly in love with in Hawaii to derail the ride, where Winger's Alexandra has finally all but pinned down the WIDOW by befriended her...

For this sudden wall is hit when that next might-be victim, Sami Frey as the richer than the rest, smooth yet genuine land-developer, Paul, a visual cross between Gandhi and The Great Gonzo, not fitting one bit and seeming a stretch for the lonely agent to have such feelings for, even though, at one point, she did sink to getting a massage by Terry O'Quinn: And yet, half-quips aside, it's not just the casting, but all the dark fun that's had is had no longer, far too soon, and the film both rushes and drags to a conclusion that doesn't live up to that first act when no one really knew anything but the BLACK WIDOW herself, holding a secret that makes her cry all alone, opening up a tinge of Noir ambiguity...

She could have had twenty husbands, finding ways to end each marriage, and the movie wouldn't have been hindered. And yet this last uninteresting, unattractive clown allows even the most rabid viewer to press STOP, if you've seen the flick more than twice, just after halfway through the Hawaii scenes. Perhaps right before junky gumshoe James Hong buys the farm or... it's your choice and too bad that that bad casting ruined what was almost a perfect thing.
Debra Winger Theresa Russell Black Widow Theresa Russell Debra Winger Black Widow Theresa Winger Femme Fatale
This isn't quite what it looks like, sorry fellas, and Russell is alive here. MOVIE RATING: ***1/2
"Go back to sweeping up for Mommie Dearest, dearest, and leave Merlin to me!" PS Look at Nicole's doomed eyes
Film Noir style sloppy smoking lowlife private eye James Hong sits at the helm of Han Solo's Millennium Falcon
Share This Post :
Tags : , , , , , , ,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

All Time Popular

Featured Post

DON SIEGEL'S THEATRICAL 'THE LINEUP' STARRING ELI WALLACH

Eli Wallach and Robert Baily Year: 1958 Rating: ****1/2 Brazen and bizarre crime flick beginning with a police investigation of what turns o...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Most Popular Last Year

WWW.CULTFILMFREAKS.COM

WWW.CULTFILMFREAKS.COM
Movie Reviews, Interviews, Articles and Pop Culture from White Heat to Blue City

UPCOMING ARTICLE/REVIEW

UPCOMING ARTICLE/REVIEW
Continuing our wave of BRITISH NEW WAVE reviews is OLIVER REED at his very best in Michael Winner's THE SYSTEM

TOTAL HITS

Popular Trending

FOUNDED BY JAMES M. TATE

FOUNDED BY JAMES M. TATE
RANDOM QUOTE: "To hell with the body. If we die, we die dancing!" Lee J. Cobb, The 4 Horseman of the Apocalypse

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK

FILM NOIR & NEO FILM NOIR


"One false move and you're over your head."

FAVORITES SHORTLIST

1)THE CROWDED SKY 2)THE FEARMAKERS 3)JAWS 4)RAIDERS FROM BENEATH THE SEA 5)ANATOMY OF A MURDER 6)HOT CARS 7)VIOLENT SATURDAY 8)CANYON PASSAGE 9)THE MAN FROM LARAMIE 10)HARDCORE 11)CURSE OF THE DEMON 12)THE DEFECTOR 13)SHARKS' TREASURE 14)ROYAL FLASH 15)DUEL IN THE JUNGLE 16)OTLEY 17)ASH WEDNESDAY 18)THE SERGEANT 19)SWEENEY TWO 20)THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN 21)THE ROARING TWENTIES 22)FALLEN ANGEL 23)AL CAPONE 24)THE ASPHALT JUNGLE 25)AIR PATROL 26)KILLER FISH 27)THE SYSTEM 28)WHITE HEAT 29)EASY LIVING 30)COMPULSION 31)ATLANTIC CITY 32)WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS 33)JUNGLE STREET 34)MADISON AVENUE 35)THE SHARKFIGHTERS 36)DEMETRIUS AND THE GLADIATORS 37)MY BLOOD RUNS COLD 38)THE LINEUP 39)SWAMP WATER 40)THE DAY THEY ROBBED THE BANK OF ENGLAND 41)RUMBLE FISH 42)CANYON RIVER 43)THE HEARSE 44)WILLIAM CONRAD'S BRAINSTORM 45)CORVETTE SUMMER 46)THE DRIVER 47)FRENZY 48)HOUSE OF STRANGERS 49)THE KILLING 50)FORCE TEN FROM NARAVONE 51)BULLITT 52)ROBBERY 53)THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE 54)KISS TOMORROW GOODBYE 55)HOTEL 56)THE BREAK 57)CRIME WAVE 58)BRANNIGAN 59)THE STONE KILLER 60)BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA

ACTORS 1)DANA ANDREWS 2)JAMES CAGNEY 3)MARLON BRANDO 4)JACK NICHOLSON 5)ORSON WELLES 6)PETER O'TOOLE 7)TOM COURTENAY 8)CHARLES BRONSON 9)GENE HACKMAN 10)VICTOR MATURE ACTRESSES 1)VIRGINIA MAYO 2)SUE LYON 3)GENE TIERNEY 4)MERRY ANDERS 5)FAYE DUNAWAY DIRECTORS 1)JACQUES TOURNEUR 2)RICHARD FLEISCHER 3)STANLEY KUBRICK 4)ORSON WELLES 5)OTTO PREMINGER 6)JOHN CARPENTER 7)MAURY DEXTER 8)JOHN LANDIS 9)MICHAEL WINNER 10)SAM PECKINPAH

WESTERN GENRE REVIEWS

BRITISH NEW WAVE/NEO NOIR

RARITIES & EXPLOITATION

Popular This Month

CINEMA OF DANA ANDREWS

TRIPPING INTO THE SIXTIES

TARGETING THE SEVENTIES

KICKING IN THE EIGHTIES

TALES AND REFLECTIONS

RETURN TO THE HOMEPAGE