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Even though the movie "Lipstick" was laughed and snickered at back in 1976 as a cheap exploitation flick about a serious subject by the critics back then. The movie holds up surprisingly well after some 30 years since it's release. Looking back we see that the film was far ahead of it's time from the way it told it's story without trying to sugar coat it. Even the ending was very, if not that realistic, uplifting for everyone in the movie and the audience with the exception of the unfortunate rapist.
The movie makers of "Lipstick" chose to make the rape victim not that much of a sympathetic person as you normally would expect a movie about a rape victim. That was to show the audience that even a top fashion model who's used to exposing her body to the public and is anything but a Mother Teresa in her social life has as much right as a Cloister Nun to say no when she's put upon by someone and should have the same protection from the law and court system as well.
Margaux Hemingway, Chris McCormick, is a top world fashion model who's little sister Kathy, Mariel Hemingway, is infatuated with her music teacher Gordon Stuart, Chris Sarandon. Kathy wants her big sister to hear a sample of Gordon's music and see what she thinks of it. Gordon meets Chris at a photo-shoot on the beach and she tells him to come to her apartment the next afternoon to hear a sample of his music.
The next day when Gordon arrives he finds Chris scantily clothed, she just came out of the shower, and anything but shy about her appearance. Gordon thinking that Chris is easy and loose and from the photos in her apartment of her with a number of movie stars and other well known personalities feels that she made out with all of them so why not with him. Before you know it Gordon with very little urging on his part brutally attacks and rapes her.
As Gordon has Chris tied down on her bed her sister Kathy enters the apartment and sees what's happening and gets sicken by it. Even though at the time it looked like Chris was not fighting Gordon off, she was too exhausted by then, Kathy believed her sister when she told her that he raped her. There's also the question about Gordon's music which Chris was anything but found off. I think that his music was as brutal to Chris' ears as his raping her was brutal to her body. That negative opinion of his musical talent on Chris' part somehow made Gordon feel insulted and set him off.
Chris hurt and humiliated as well as having to have her little sister Kathy see what happened to her goes to woman advocate lawyer Caria Bondi, Anne Bancroft, to help in the state's case against the man who raped her Gordon Stuart. Caria is more then honest with Chris by telling her that if the case against Gordon is prosecuted by the state that Chris can expect to be raped all over again by Gordon's lawyer but this time in public not in private like she was raped by Gordon; and even after all that the odds of getting Gordon convicted is 98% against her.
Chris took the case to court and Caria's prediction turns out to be sadly true. Gordon is found innocent of raping Chris. Honestly brutal movie not only about rape but what the stigma of what rape does to it's victims and just how hard it is to prosecute and convict an accused rapist in a court of law.
Even though the movie has a very contrived ending when the rapist who got away with raping Chris and later also rapes her sister Kathy getting just whats coming to him. This happens when an enraged Chris blasts him to kingdom come with her trusty shotgun. Later in the movie her lawyer Claria Bondi evens thing out in court by getting Chris off for shooting him on a temporary insanity plea.
The Movie "Lipstick" made it's point far better then most movies before or since about the same subject without being any more downbeat and pessimistic then it had to be.
The more I see references to the psychological drama/thriller movies of
the 1970's, the more I wish I could see them again.
Lipstick (1976) was made during an era that saw thrillers like Duel, Badham County, Hardcore, The Dirty Harry series and politically incorrect teen movies like Animal House. The scripts and characterisations had to be good because this was pre special effects, they actually shot films outdoors in real life settings, not just studio caverns.
This is a beautifully made film and we can appreciate the freshness of the Hemingway sisters , as well as understand the difficulties a disturbed young man faces when his desires get the better of him.
The revenge aspect would make the viewer feel good as they see justice as being done.
Though in the end no one wins, expect viewers who are treated to almost 2 hours of suspense , escapism and possibly voyeurism as the girls are so attractive.
I am tired of the franchise films of today, the TV remakes, the special effects-making actors and writers redundant when good scripts and real life locations are needed to help us identify with the situation.
Manipulative drama about a glamorous model (Margaux Hemingway) who is
raped by a geeky but unbalanced musician (Chris Sarandon) – to whom she
had been introduced by her younger sister (played by real-life sibling
Mariel), whose music teacher he is. While the central courtroom action
holds the attention – thanks largely to a commanding performance by
Anne Bancroft as Hemingway’s lawyer – the film is too often merely
glossy, but also dramatically unconvincing: the jury ostensibly takes
the musician’s side because a) the girl invited assault due to the
sensuous nature of her profession and b) she was offering no resistance
to her presumed aggressor when her sister arrived at the apartment and
inadvertently saw the couple in bed together. What the f***?!; she was
clearly tied up – what resistance could she realistically offer?
The second half of the film – involving Sarandon’s rape of the sister, which curiously anticipates IRREVERSIBLE (2002) by occurring in a tunnel – is rather contrived: Mariel’s character should have known better than to trust Sarandon after what he did to her sister, but Margaux herself foolishly reprises the line of work which had indirectly led to her humiliating experience almost immediately! The climax – in which Sarandon gets his just desserts, with Margaux turning suddenly into a fearless and resourceful vigilante – is, however, a crowd-pleaser in the style of DEATH WISH (1974); incidentally, ubiquitous Italian movie mogul Dino De Laurentiis was behind both films.
It’s worth noting how the two Hemingway sisters’ lives took wildly different turns (this was the film debut of both): Margaux’s career never took off (despite her undeniable good looks and commendable participation here) – while Mariel would soon receive an Oscar nomination for Woody Allen’s MANHATTAN (1979) and, interestingly, would herself play a glamorous victim of raging violence when essaying the role of real-life “Playboy” centerfold Dorothy Stratten in Bob Fosse’s STAR 80 (1983). With the added pressure of a couple of failed marriages, Margaux took refuge in alcohol and would eventually die of a drug overdose in 1996; chillingly, the Hemingway family had a history of suicides – notably the sisters’ grandfather, celebrated author Ernest, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1961.
When I was sixteen, this movie was released. I saw it opening night. I was not disappointed either. Well I saw it again the other day and it really is not that bad. Chris Sarandon had just been Oscar-nominated for "Dog Day Afternoon" and I wanted to see all his movies, and I was interested in seeing the Hemingway sisters. Anne Bancroft adds a lot as a laywer on the case. Perry King is also aboard. Its not a great movie by any means and the subject matter is obviously objectionable, but this movie is not without value.
Not bad as otherwise suggested, this is an interesting exploitation film that served as the film debut of Margaux Hemmingway. Unfortunately, little sis Mariel totally steals the show from poor, pretty Margaux. Chris Sarandon is competent as the psycho rapist, as is the always great Anne Bancroft, but Perry King, then a pretty big star, has a worthless role as Margaux's boyfriend. Worth a look.
There is a significant social statement contained within the body of this
harrowing tale. Just where does consensual sensuality leave off and blatant
The meager stats for court convictions of males in rape cases speaks to the futility of provable evidence to bring about justice. It's one thing for a woman to experience a violation, yet another to prove it to a jury.
With clever defense attorneys twisting facts around to suggest enticement, women face an uphill battle to overcome reasonable doubt.
"Lipstick" dramatizes such a scenario in graphic terms--possibly so much so that its potent social commentary might become blurred. Just as there can be a fine line between consent and assault, so can there be also between legitimate expose and sleazy exploitation.
The cast, headed by Margeaux and Mariel Hemingway, Chris Sarandon and Anne Bancroft, all invest deep emotion into their roles. It's certainly a sobering enterprise, with little in the way of character background, particularly as to the accused. Other than that he creates what some might consider "weird" art, there's nothing to suggest his rationale for physical abuses of not one, but two, sisters.
All we know of him is that he's a respected educator and dance theater professional. Further, casting handsome Sarandon in the role begs the question, "Why do things the hard way?"
By not addressing character background the scriptor left a decided void, suggesting an interest more on surface than substance. Nor does the film's slick title or glossy production design help raise the product's standard.
When originally shown on the large screen in 1976, it apparently was too much for some audiences, and the film gained a poor rep. Viewed today, while it's still a rough enterprise, it does raise awareness as to the painful plight of abused women. In that regard, the film has relevance--for it does indeed affect us all.
This movie did get a bad rap. Chris Sarandon is excellent as a school teacher who rapes fashion model Margeaux Hemingway. There is lots of tension before the rape and we really see Chris as a big time weirdo who plays really bad music while poor Margeaux tries to make an excuse to leave the room. When he sees this as a way of her dismissing him as a person he goes berserk. The rape scene is actually not as graphic as some of the crap that passes todays censors. For a first time actress I think Margeaux was quite good. Her little sister proves natural acting talent does run in the Hemingway family. She does excel in this role an gives an understated perforamce especially after she herself is raped by the same teacher. The building used in the fashion sequences is not the Beverly Center as mentioned by another IMDb user but actually the Pacific Design Center a few blocks away. The ending is quite good as it shows the hypocrisy of our legal system. Anne Bancroft adds a bit of class to this production and the disco music is dated but it gives this movie a cool 70's feel. The ending is sensational but still believable.
Just viewed this film and found it fantastic, there was no mention in the horrible rape case about DNA, no such thing existed. This film showed exactly what a woman goes through when she is raped, it needs to be viewed and observed by appreciative fans of Margaux Hemingway, who gave a wonderful performance.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've never heard or seen what the late Margaux Hemingway thought of her
decision to star in this classic Dino Delaurentis "anything for a buck"
hack fest, but I'd guess it's regret.
If you subtract the horribly slapped together courtroom denouement, tighten up the sometimes hackneyed, over-melodramatic, cliché-ridden script, you're left with a harsh examination of rape and the judicial realities (circa 1976 anyway) of the crime's aftermath.
Providing the movie was of a slightly higher grade (it's really not THAT bad a film if you look at it strictly in a technical sense), an established actress who was put through the paces Margaux is here would probably garner an Oscar nomination (think Jodie Foster's performance as a hard-edged working-class girl in "The Accused" --- was that any less graphic and sleazy?). Unfortunately, it's much easier to beat up (no pun intended) on a model with no acting experience.
Frankly, I've never thought Margaux's delivery here was bad --- it's natural, and her exchanges with her sister Mariel are believable and touching. Chris Sarandon, though suitably hateful, brings a creepy realism to his wacko music teacher/rapist role, and Anne Bancroft is solid as usual.
The biggest problem I've had with this film is it's unequivocal equation of electronic/avant-garde music with a deviant, unbalanced mind. Given that postulate, behind every sex offender therein lies a complete catalog of Tangerine Dream, John Cage, and Hawkwind.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Lipstick is a really creepy movie with some very disturbing scenes. In spite of that, I think it's a good film with an important message. This movie has caught some flack and maybe, as with many movies, it was ahead of its time. But I think even being released now it would cause some controversy. The bottom line is, 90 percent of the movie is on the bizarre side-tough to watch film. But a good one and depicts Hemmingway's story in such a horrifying way it's almost guaranteed to disturb and scare. In addition to a very hard to watch rape scene, the scenes of the rapist crank calling Hemmingway, the eerie music and the way Hmemingway's case is handled are simultaneously tragic, frightening and will leave you with a feeling of disgust for certain characters-number one being the rapist. I beg to differ about 1 Hemingway sister being better then the other-BOTH were equally powerful and the movie was fantastically acted. All these years later, I've never forgotten it. You won't either if you watch this terribly disturbing underrated movie.
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