Crimes of Passion (1984) Poster

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A sleazy ball of fun!
johnnycourageous9 June 2001
Crimes of Passion is definitely my secret, guilty pleasure. Available uncut in this country, few films have managed to capture a sleazy, seedy feel without resorting to a sense of grottiness. This film is classy and well made, much the same as Ken Russell's later film, Whore (1991). It has the same sense of light-heartedness, and is actually well written.

Much of the dialogue is clever, witty, and bitingly effective. The performances are top notch - particularly Perkins as the maniacal priest whom is captivated by the street-smart, fashion-designer-cum-hooker Turner. The sexual scenes are bold, but not sexually explicit.

It is truly amazing to see Kathleen Turner in this film, as opposed to her performance as a fat, frumpy, conservative and highly religious middle-aged mother in the Virgin Suicides (1999). I cannot think of a character performance so diametrically opposite to the one in Crimes of Passion. I recommend you rent both films, and watch them back to back. It is sure to make your head spin, and perhaps even generate a sense of appreciation for the diversity of Turner's acting ability!
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so weird but so good
mcfly-3118 July 1999
Warning: Spoilers
My favorite "weird" movie of all time, and I say that because of the numerous things that just do not belong and dont make sense. Like why is Turner a hooker? Shes a fashion designer during the day, why does she degrade herself at night? Does she get a thrill off of it, its never really explained. Whats with that dopey music video featuring a family of weirdos jumping into a pool dressed in wedding attire? You'll have no idea what it means, but again thats one of the charms of the film for me, silly scenes that make no sense. Another would be Perkins stabbing a blow up doll with a vibrator, with tons o' blood gushing about. Another you squint at but then laugh at loud to. Though there are moments of confusion, there are plenty of terrific scenes, most surprisingly shot unbroken, without cuts. One has Laughlin and Potts discussing their probs in bed for about 10 minutes without breaking the shot. Very professional actors make it look impressive. Most of the plot deals with Laughlins character, a struggling home securities guy stuck in a stale marriage. He gets involved with Turner, though she has her own problems, like constant harrassment from Perkins demented street preacher. The three are very strong from start to finish, especially Kathleen, in my favorite performance of hers ever. She has a ton of great one-liners that inject humor at the right moments, without it looking out of place. If your unfamiliar with the films history, you may be unaware of the different versions available. Back in 84 it was too graphic for an R rating, so they released an R, Unrated, and X rated version. I've only seen the R and Unrated, and there are considerable changes made. The R does not contain shots of Turners face during a rather intimate moment at the beginning of the film. And they also totally threw out a hardcore scene involving a cop and Turner engaged in nasty nookie. As well as Turner and Laughlins first love scene, where several positions shown only in shadow were taken out. But in terms of the story, those scenes are not crucial, so no harm done. Either way you go, this will be one of the more stranger film experiences you'll ever have. I mean where else are you gonna see someone actually killed at the end of a movie with a vibrator?(!!) And I cant forget the terrific sexy saxaphone score by Rick Wakeman, which he reworked from previous material.
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Thought provoking and highly entertaining.
Vancity_Film_Fanatic24 January 2005
It's no surprise that Ken Russell's ambitious psychosexual drama "Crimes of Passion" was not well received upon its initial release back in 1984. But to be fair, based on the heavy edits required to achieve an 'R' rating, it's hard to imagine the film having the same sort of effect as the un-rated director's cut. Explicitness is key to a film of this nature -- necessary for provoking audience reaction, but also for providing a raw layer of intensity to which the viewer can connect with. For example, the explicit dialogue in the bedroom confessional scene between Bobby & Amy Grady (equally fine performances from John Laughlin and Annie Potts) effectively captures the real disconnect present within so many relationships. On one hand there's a need and/or desire for sex as a means of fulfillment and expression of love, but on the other hand there are responsibilities associated with family life that may impede that desire, or in the case of the character of Amy Grady, a general lack of sexual desire is just part of her persona. Meanwhile this leaves her husband Bobby feeling discontented. The film asks then, just how important is sex? Is it an essential part of being happy? In stark contrast to the dynamic between Bobby & Amy Grady, is the character of China Blue/Joanna Crane -- played with absolute gusto by Kathleen Turner (giving one of the finest performances of her career). While her motives remain for the most part unclear, the character of China Blue appears to be using sex as a control mechanism. But what is it that she is trying to control? Through the use of some fairly explicit sex scenes it seems apparent that she enjoys the sex itself while also enjoying the anonymity and emotional disconnect involved with being a girl for hire. But is this feeling the result of her actual disdain for having that emotional connection, or is it a result of having been scarred by a past relationship? The power play argument is reinforced by seeing the Joanna Crane side of the character -- a highly successful undergarment designer with a cool car and a great apartment; someone who seems to have it all, yet wants to take her power one step further. This theory is drawn into question (of course!) when her path crosses with Bobby Grady; someone who seems to be able to offer her the entire package she secretly longs for. To complicate things further, there's the character of Rev. Peter Shayne (an Oscar worthy performance from Anthony Perkins); a man so distraught and shamed by his own inner demons that he seeks his own redemption through the course of offering to redeem China Blue. Throw in an enjoyably hypnotic yet cheesy & dated synthesizer score, and the usual striking visual imagery and religious allegory that Ken Russell is well known for, and the result is a thought provoking and highly entertaining film. Best recommended to those who don't mind being left with a lot of unanswered questions at the end, or who aren't easily offended – an 8/10, this film is destined to become a major classic and deserves repeated viewings.
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A lurid fantasy porno movie - and a masterpiece
Martin Bradley25 March 2005
Ken Russell's masterpiece has cult movie written all over it. A lurid, extreme sex-and-violence fantasy porno-movie, it is also a brilliant satire on the American way of sex, (the 'home life' scenes could have come out of "Desperate Housewives"). In the bravest and best performance of her career, Kathleen Turner plays the mystery woman who is Joanna, prim fashion designer by day and China Blue, the fantasy hooker to end all fantasy hookers, by night. In an alternative universe her performance would have won her the Oscar for Best Actress. Her nemesis is Anthony Perkin's psychopathic preacher with the razor-sharp dildo ("Save me from the foul-mouthed kooze with the motor-driven ass"). His is the kind of performance that goes beyond mere acting into some kind of crazy stratosphere all it's own; (the ending is lifted directly from "Psycho").

The film has it's downside. Rick Wakeman's score is over-emphatic and Tom Cruise lookalike John Laughlin may have Cruise's good looks but none of his talent. It's a terrible piece of acting but in a movie this OTT it actually works. Barry Sandler's script is brilliant.
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You will believe that a man can be impaled on a vibrator.
Son_of_Mansfield17 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Or, you won't. This exploration of gender and sexuality has a similar problem to some people, it's not sure which way it wants to go. It's got genre confusion. Is it a drama? Is it a satire? Certainly, images of a man as hp or "human penis", slowly rising as his friend hums "Thus Spoke Zoroaster" and then spitting milk out of his mouth as his wife sits in horror surrounded by harsh scenes of family strife seems to scream satire, but the performances are all over the map. Annie Potts is deadly serious and Anthony Perkins is psycho. Kathleen Turner is the bright spot. She sells such odd scenes as her prostitute dressed in a nun's habit jumping on her bed while singing "Onward Christian Soldier!" Strangely, even with these three off the wall things mentioned, it's the straightness of the movie as a whole that makes it too dramatic. But the ending is priceless, John Laughlin does another one of his weepy monologues about how he needed his woman to tell him that everything would be alright, it's OK to be scared, then, he looks at the camera with a smile and says that they f**ked like animals. Classic.

P.S. One of my favorite scenes ended up on the cutting room floor. Bruce Davidson analyzes this girl in a bar, makes an animal noise, and asks her if she likes the Bee Gees all while laughing. It's hilarious and it hits on an interesting point. Isn't it all just a game? If you say the right thing, you get a prize.
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Wonderful dirty little movie
TM-221 November 2002
Warning: Spoilers
I just loved this movie! I liked the music, language, the acting and the overall sleazy, grubby and dirty ambiance it created. Watching this film is like being caught masturbating - you just feel guilty about having a good time. A true guilty pleasure! China Blue is the type of woman ALL men want to experience but would never take home to mother. Kathleen Turner is first class and I think this is her BEST acting - ever. (Possible spoilers) Talking of mother, Anthony Perkins is outstanding as the perverted spiritual savior, with the interesting and somewhat unusual dildo and collection of sexual paraphernalia. This may be your only chance to see an ‘auto suck' in a mainstream movie. Loved the nude dancing and ‘wet' tissues.

Ken Russell, one of my favorites, brings another first rate piece of entertainment to the masses. Well done Ken! Most critics panned this movie. Well, they had to be PC! It's like Martha Steward panning McDonalds. So, it's not sirloin steak but someone is buying the 5 billion sold so far. Watch the unrated DVD if you can. Widescreen, nice and sharp.
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Lots of Fun!
matty0326 May 2000
Thank God for Ken Russell. No other director could have made this one. This is not one of his best films, but it is certainly a fun one to watch. Kathleen Turner really goes the limit as an actress in her role as China Blue. She looks great and gives more to the film than it really deserves. While there are some serious jabs made at relationships and sexuality --- this movie is really just raunchy fun. Anthony Perkins almost steals the show in a send-up of his "Psycho" performance. Great use of color and set design considering the small budget. Rick Wakeman's score is suitably cheezy and very dated. An adult film worth watching.
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I Know I Am Going To Take Some Heat For This, BUT * * * * out of 4.
brandonsites19814 September 2002
Click on my name for a list of over 500 reviews! This review is for the unrated version.

Fashion designer (Kathleen Turner) lives a double life at night posing as a $50 hooker. She is stalked and terrorized by a psycho preacher (Anthony Perkins) while a married man (John Laughlin) slowly falls in love with her. Amid all the sleaze, kink, (which is all very necessary to the plot of the film) and talk lies an intelligent, thoughtful film. You are never able to take your eyes off of Turner who is absolutely spellbinding. Perkins plays crazy like no one else can. And Laughlin and Annie Potts turn in frank, honest performances. Director Ken Russell is able to create colorful characterizations and generate memorable dialogue. The very 80's score falls perfectly into place in the film and the ending is among one of the most shocking in cinema history. A masterpiece in every respect and one of the most under rated films of all time.

Unrated; Extreme Sexual & Violent Content, Nudity, Profanity, Adult Themes and Nudity.
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"Goodbye, China Blue"
Predrag12 May 2016
This is the film which demonstrated what a great actress Turner is and why she should still be a bigger star today than perhaps she is. She has such a wonderful voice and figure in this film - it's as if the part was written especially for her; perhaps it was! It also shows you how good Perkins was in a role where he could let himself go as over the top as Russell would like him to. He (Perkins) must have loved it. The musical score is supposedly written by Rick Wakeman, but is, of course, derived from Dvorak's New World Symphony. Wakeman does a great job and the music adds to the gloss of the film. The saxophone playing in the lovemaking scene is sensual in the extreme. Anthony Perkins has several monologues that serve as a narrative for the audience. Not for the wowserish, nor is it pornographic (using clever imagery to allude to what is occurring), it is full of very witty, memorable one-liners.

This is easily Kathleen's best film work and really no other American actress has ever shown such intimacy and duality in the sexuality of her character, it is compelling, enthralling and heart breaking. Plus you feel a connection to her because of her vulnerability that she develops as the movie unfolds. Finally her comedic timing is hilarious, yes there are plenty of laugh out scenes in this film too. Perkins is simply brilliant in this role, it seems to be a far cousin of the disturbed mind of Norman Bates, but having grown up in major crimes of the soul and the good manners. Once more, let' s remind the ineffable statement of Nicholas Machiaveli: "The half of the sin is the scandal."

Overall rating: 8 out of 10.
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Director Ken Russell shows that it is not possible to separate sex and religion !!!!
FilmCriticLalitRao7 April 2015
It is no secret that since the beginning of civilization sex and religion have always been able to maintain a unique "love hate" relationship with each other. The story of Adam and Eve is also viewed in the same context. Wherever there is religion, sex is likely to be found and vice versa. No religion has been able to free itself from the influence of sex. This has always been a trend and it would continue to be so in near future too. "Crimes of Passion" might turn out to be mild for many viewers according to today's standards but it was viewed as an absolutely shocking controversial film upon its initial release in 1984. Words would fail to describe actress Kathleen Turner's impeccable performances as 'China Blue'- an expensive hooker who is also leading a double life. Apart from some kinky sex scenes, China blue's character allows viewers to get a glimpse of tough lives faced by hookers. The religious side is presented by actor Anthony Perkins as a crazy priest whose only obsession seems to rescue china blue from damnation at all costs. He is able to succeed to a very large extent but a sudden event completely changes the course of action. Director Ken Russell has been honest with his depiction of people with dual identities. They have been presented as they are in real life without any embellishment. 'Crimes of Passion' has a lot of hilarious lines which denounce hypocrisy, falsehood and dishonesty. They are absolutely essential for viewers' comprehension in order to give them better ideas about a marriage which is on the verge of collapse due to lack of sex and how mean are societies to create and promote fallen women like "China Blue" for their selfish interests ?
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One of the Best and Classiest "Pre-AIDS" Erotic-Thriller of the 80's
Claudio Carvalho26 June 2012
The thirty year-old hard-worker Bobby Grady (John Laughlin) is married with two children with the frigid Amy Grady (Annie Potts) and their marriage is in crisis. Bobby is invited to work in the night shift for the owner of a fashion designer studio that believes that his talented designer Joanna Crane (Kathleen Turner), who is very introspective, is selling his designs to competitors. Bobby accepts the job to make money and please Amy with a bathtub and follows Joanna after hours.

He discovers that she has a double life, working as a fifty-dollar hooker called China Blue in the red light district and practicing kinky sex with her clients to satisfy their fantasies. Bobby becomes obsessed by China Blue and when the true thief is found, he has sex with her and they have a crush on each other. Meanwhile the insane preacher Rev. Peter Shayne (Anthony Perkins) decides to save Joanna's soul and stalks her everywhere.

"Crimes of Passion" is one of the best and classiest "pre-AIDS" erotic-thriller of the 80's and among my favorite cult-movies ever. A youngster that sees this film in 2012 probably will not understand the behavior (and the beauty) of Kathleen Turner. But in 1981, the mesmerizing Kathleen Turner made her debut in the cinema industry with Lawrence Kasdan's film-noir "Body Heat" and this sexy actress became one of the most desirable women of the world. "Crimes of Passion" is her fifth movie and she is very sensual, sexy and gorgeous in the hands of the director Ken Russell. Anthony Perkins in the role of a mad preacher and the music score of Rick Wakeman complete this little masterpiece of the eroticism. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Crimes de Paixão" ("Crimes of Passion")
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Maybe not among Ken Russell's best but still a very good film
TheLittleSongbird9 February 2014
Ken Russell as has been said many times before always was an interesting and unique director, though also understandably controversial. Crimes of Passion is not quite Women in Love and The Devils among his best but it is certainly much better than Lisztomania and Gothic. Crimes of Passion may not be perfect, with the score rather repetitive and excessively utilised and Annie Potts' "deadly serious" performance at odds with the rest of the performances(which are campier and broader), she is a talented actress who wasn't able to play to her strengths. To a lesser extent also the scene with the vibrator and the blow-up doll didn't make much sense and reminiscent of the irrelevant excesses that Russell could be prone to, though admittedly it did have some entertainment value. Crimes of Passion does look great though, very stylishly filmed with some garishness that meshed perfectly within the atmosphere. The scene with the couple in bed in conversation is shot cleverly too with a several-minute non-break shot. The satire is very witty and the funny moments are enough to make you laugh-out-loud, while with the story Crimes of Passion is not plot-heavy but it does keep one's attention and is paced well, never what you can deem as dull. As well as funny parts, there are also some poignant parts like the woman with the terminally ill husband and some shocking ones with the scene with the cop. The ending is a shocker too, though also may be a head-scratcher for some. The sex scenes are very lurid but also very sensual as well, and Russell directs with not that much restraint- here adopting the pulls no punches approach- but there is nothing really distasteful either. Kathleen Turner gives one of her best performances, she is very sexy and her performance is daring and even with the theatrical style of acting here(in general not just with her) she manages to make China sympathetic. Anthony Perkins evokes Norman Bates and brilliantly, insanely psychopathic that it's scary as well as somewhat campy. John Laughlin's role is smaller and he is not as experienced or as good as Turner and Perkins but he acquits himself well. In conclusion, a very good film, not for everybody and Russell personally has done better but it's easy to see why it's won over people here and it does deserve its deemed cult classic status. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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This a cult classic if ever there was one
Johnboy122128 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Simply put, I love this movie! The dialog is natural, and at times downright hilarious.

All the characters are screwed up to some degree, but probably a lot like most Americans are, truth be known.

Bobby is trying desperately to make everyone believe that his life is a bowl of cherries and it's not.

His wife has been hiding a secret of her own, and is probably manic depressive.

The preacher is fighting his own war and he's losing it minute by minute.

Bobby's best friend wants everyone to think that he's happy and secure in his new single life. He's not.

His ex-wife is pretending that her life is rosy, but she's unhappy with it just the same.

And finally, there's Joanna. She's had a rough life ("we were married for better or for worse...I got the worse part"), and is struggling to get back on track, but her answer to her problems is to be a hooker. She can pretend to love without all the trappings of a longterm relationship, which terrifies her.

The performances are simply incredible, from the smallest to the lead, and every single actor is cast to perfection. Ken Russell....well, lets just say that I find this his best film, by far. Barry Sandler should have won an Oscar for this film, or at least a nomination. His dialog is classic drama (and comedy) from start to finish.

Crimes Of Passion is not for everyone. The squeamish need not apply. However, the film is the best movie I have ever seen about the real America. Every character in the film is playing games, and that's exactly what men and women all over this country do everyday. Like American Beauty, what we see may not be what's real.

I loved China Blue and Bobby. They're tough, but they have a heart. They're sexy, but vulnerable.

Bobby's final words in Crimes Of Passion are among the best I've ever heard spoken in a movie, and it was a perfect way to end the film.

I truly don't understand why John Laughlin didn't become a huge star after this movie, but he should have. Perhaps he had a bad agent, or something, for he is a terrific actor here.
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Brilliant sleazy trash flick from Ken Russell!
The_Void29 July 2007
What a great slice of sleaze this is! Ken Russell certainly has a style of his own and it's on overdrive in Crimes of Passion, as the movie is as much about the bizarre way that Russell tells his story as it is about the story itself. Crimes of Passion is unlikely to appeal to all tastes, but for everyone who likes trashy and sleazy thrillers, you really can't go wrong with this one! The film is very surreal and at times, even takes on something of a fantasy feel. The way that Russell uses lighting and the rock theme tune (which often feels slightly out of place) help to keep things surreal; and the heavy amount of sex makes this more than your average Hollywood thriller! A double life is the basis for the plot; and here we focus on China Blue; shameless hooker by night and sportswear designer by day. A street preacher meets her and decides he wants to save her soul; around the same time, a man is hired to spy on her by the sportswear business she works for. He later meets her as China Blue and is shown a good time...but soon the preacher starts to get out of control.

This might not be particularly intelligent stuff, but Crimes of Passion appealed to me because it's not quite like any other thriller I've seen, and director Ken Russell seems more interested in making the film as bizarre as possible than telling a story - and that is no bad thing as it ensures that Crimes of Passion is original, and that's the sort of thing that gives a film a cult following! Crimes of Passion has an interesting cast, which is lead by Kathleen Turner, who is just great in her double role. John Laughlin falls into the background a little bit as his role is the least interesting of the three central ones - but he's not bad. The third central role is taken up by Anthony Perkins, and it suits him like a glove! Perkins wasn't so maniacal since Psycho and Russell definitely picked the right man for the job with this piece of casting! While the film isn't exactly plot heavy, what story we do have flows well and there's always enough going on outside of the plot anyway - if there's one thing this film isn't, it's boring! Overall, Crimes of Passion is a great trash flick and it gets high recommendations from me!
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Artful Depravity
gavin69429 July 2016
A sportswear designer leads a double life as a hooker named China Blue (Kathleen Turner). One of her clients, a man on the verge of divorce, decides he loves her and figures out who she is. He then begins wooing her, which she fights against since he was a client. Meanwhile a street preacher (Anthony Perkins) works the red light district trying to save souls.

Allegedly, the male lead passed over Patrick Swayze and Jeff Bridges before landing on John Laughlin. Not that Laughlin does a bad job, but in retrospect this seems like an odd choice -- the movie would have had a more lasting impact with one of the other two.

Although Kathleen Turner takes up most of the screen time, and really puts herself out there in these sexual situations, Perkins is the highlight of the film. He never shies away from pushing his own emotions, saying and acting in the most manic of manners. For an actor who made his name working with Hitchcock, he was never afraid to push the envelope in his career. Allegedly, the "poppers" we see him using on screen were real and he was indeed pumped up for much of the shoot.

One aspect of the film that Ken Russell ought to be praised for is how strongly he suggests certain things but never shows them. For a film about American sexuality, there is surprisingly little nudity. Instead, he uses Japanese art to double for this, and presents an endless stream of suggestive -- but rarely explicit -- scenes. This is brilliant, and keeps the movie from becoming smut, despite its themes. Likewise, the violence is almost all psychological -- even a murder scene somewhat humorously uses a doll to avoid showing direct, human physical interaction.

Russell and cinematographer Dick Bush do an excellent job of projecting character on to the actors through lighting. We have garish colors and neon lights for the scenes with China Blue, while the other scenes were more naturalistic light. There are clearly two worlds at play, and Kathleen Turner seamlessly goes from one to the other.

On top of a beautiful 2K restoration, and the ability to watch either the cut or uncut version, the Arrow Video blu-ray comes packed with features. We have audio commentary with director Ken Russell and producer-screenwriter Barry Sandler, seven deleted/extended scenes with optional commentary by Sandler, a brand-new interview with Sandler, and a brand-new interview with composer Rick Wakeman. This is a must-own for any fan of Russell, Turner or especially Perkins.
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Provocative every step of the way.
Scott LeBrun21 November 2012
"Crimes of Passion", an incredibly bizarre, sexually charged drama, provides interesting material with which inimitable filmmaker Ken Russell can work. It's as stylish as anything he's done, and maintains a gritty, fairly sleazy atmosphere and a deliberate pace. Kathleen Turner is striking in the role of "China Blue", a lady with a double life: by day she's a fashion designer (real name Joanna Crane), by night she's a hooker. She fascinates two men, one of them an ordinary guy named Bobby Grady (John Laughlin), the other a fanatical, so-called "preacher" named Peter Shayne (Anthony Perkins) who claims to be out to "save" her. Bobby was hired by Joannas' boss to tail her, and she presents the young man with a fresh view of the world; his relationship with his uptight wife Amy (Annie Potts) has soured after years of marriage, and he's happy to meet somebody who doesn't have any hangups about being intimate. The movie is never quite as outrageous as some viewers may expect, but that doesn't mean that there isn't some explicit imagery here and there. Its few sex scenes are done in a surprisingly tasteful manner, but its dialogue is quite kinky, witty, and delicious; it's amazing to hear ever reliable Perkins, extremely well cast in one of his typical nutty roles, utter lots of obscenities. He's just fantastic as always, and the lovely Turner delivers a multi dimensional performance worthy of some respect. Laughlin and Potts are both fine, and the cast also features people such as Bruce Davison, Stephen Lee, Norman Burton, Peggy Feury, and Gerald S. O'Loughlin, but it's the two leads that truly command your attention. Working from a screenplay by producer Barry Sandler, Russell injects the film with plenty of humour; just the idea of Perkins carrying erotic paraphernalia around with him is a hoot. (There's a vibrator, in particular, that will prove to be a very important prop later on.) It may require a bit of patience on the part of some viewers due to its unhurried nature, and of course some may find the subject matter a turn off. Those who don't will be amused by the sordid story and all of the trappings of the milieu. In the end, this isn't something that can be easily forgotten. Seven out of 10.
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Confused+decadent+trashy+Ken Russel = AWESOME
crownofsprats17 July 2012
Kathleen Turner plays a smoking sex-bomb of an NYC street hooker who goes by the name of China Blue ("the total package", as one john remarks). An unhappily married man develops a fascination with her after he eavesdrops on an encounter she has with an issue-ridden, demented preacher-type (Perkins) whose self-declared mission is to "save" China.

In the wrong hands, this material could have been made into a boring thriller, with the preacher stalking his way towards a predictable finale. Or an overwrought marital drama, weighed down by absurd dialogue and the characters' utterly improbable decision-making. Or some lurid, booby C-grade sleaze-fest where the hooker plot is just an excuse to parade last month's centerfold in a half dozen sexy outfits. Luckily, we got Ken Russel, who somehow manages to not only balance all three in the same "total package", but lets them breathe with the genres' best and most outrageous excesses! Take the Preacher's "weapon of salvation" and the filthy sayings that get past his filter when he is praying, or the embarrassingly cheesy yet hilarious marriage bed conversations. Or pretty much anything that comes out of China Blue's mouth when she is "in character". And he does it all with a wink and a nod to you - the audience savvy enough to know not to take any of it seriously!

It should be noted that this is a "fun" movie. If there is any takeaway here for thought, it's probably about men's fears and anxieties relating to sex, the feminine, and marriage. But try not to think too much about it, otherwise you run the risk of taking it a bit too seriously and you'll miss out on the real fun - all the "I can't believe he/she just said/did that!" bits (comprising a good half the movie), Kathleen Turner's passionate and, um, rousing performance (who could possibly deliver lines like that if they weren't having fun on the set!?), and the lurid, swanky atmosphere that is the magic of Ken Russell's creation.

*** I also watched the scenes that were cut from the film - I had assumed they were cut because they were too racy or explicit, but the opposite is in fact true. The cut scenes were mostly from the domestic side of things: lots of wife-talk, an extended scene of the BBQ party, etc. They all deserved to be cut mercilessly because they either added nothing of value to the story or muddled the characters and plot to the point where the film would have been seriously flawed if were they allowed to stay in. In them, the confusion over this film's fate is visible, and I am very glad Russell did not choose to go there for the final version, instead maximizing on the glammy, schlocky sex schtick.
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True Twisted Art
TheJesusAndMaryChain15 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Back in the 80's there was a lot of controversy surrounding this film. I remember hearing about a battle with the MPAA regarding the rating. MPAA wanted to give it an X rating so Russell had to edit it down in order to achieve an R rating.

I was sixteen and a friend and I snuck into the theatre to see this. I wanted to know what the buzz was about. I was mesmerized and this film continues to exist in my top ten favorite films of all time (as is Tommy, another Ken Russell masterpiece). Tony Perkins has perfected the art of playing psychotic maniacs and his performance here is no exception. Turner, in her finest performance ever, sizzles up the screen as China Blue, a whore by night, fashion designer by day. She parades around in this satin blue dress in the red light district performing fantasies for kinky clients.

The dialogue is incredibly witty and Turner and Perkins play so perfectly off each other. Perkins with his portable pedestal, bible and doctor bag full of sex toys (there is one in particular that will make your jaw drop).

This is one of those love/hate films. You either love it or you hate it. I attempted to turn so many people onto this film. Some were so offended by the meshing of religion and sex that they couldn't get through the whole thing. Others, like me, loved it and can watch it repeatedly and continue to be amused by the script, the performances, the art direction.

This film is indeed a piece of art. But art is subjective. So enter with an open mind.
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A relatively fun movie, perhaps for all the wrong reasons.
Fedor Petrovic (fedor8)20 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Turner: "Oh, a man of words... He makes up in diction what he lacks in dick." Or: "I never forget a face... Especially when I've sat on it." (also Turner) These are the kinds of lines we get to hear in this movie. It's yet more sexual lunacy from the most sex-obsessed director of the last three decades (not counting Russ Meyer). Russell presents a bizarre combination between wacky sexual-situation comedy, family drama, and psycho-thriller. The movie goes in all sorts of directions, and seems to be about a lot of things - with sex (what else?) being the unifying theme in all the issues. There is both intentional and unintentional humour, though with Russell you can't always tell which is which, but most of the film is a sort of eccentric drama.

The characters of Turner and Perkins are absurd and over-the-top, respectively; Turner is a career woman who works as a prostitute during the night, while Perkins is a deranged wanna-be minister with mania written all over his face. At the beginning, Perkins so overdoes his part (as is typical of this incompetent over-actor) that you can't help but laugh. Turner, though playing a far-fetched character, is quite convincing, and very charismatic, as usual. Turner's character is the writer's idea of what a woman, who has been emotionally hurt by a failed relationshit, might do to deal with her disappointment in male-kind (i.e. mankind): she turns to fulfilling (male) fantasies as a prostitute. That'll happen... The idea that Turner - who has sex all the time with various men - would suddenly get emotionally aroused with a customer (Laughlin) just because he feels for her or whatever, is preposterous, though not annoying. In fact, nothing seems to be annoying in the film, in spite of it being Russell's.

Well, almost; Russell took one or two themes from Dvorak's "New World Symphony" and milked them for all they're worth. These melodies are played over and over and over, in varying styles. Strange, because this music doesn't in any way suit this film. Some dialog sounds unnatural, some is silly/comical and loaded with sexual word-play, and some is right out of a TV soap-opera.

Perhaps the funniest moment was when Turner, while rummaging through Perkins's bag, finds a powerful-looking metal dildo and asks him whether it's a cruise-missile.
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Great dark film!
buchass1 April 2004
Warning: Spoilers

Its a great movie, its a hell of a good satire to the nowadays couples relationships, the film is surrealistic, and prime example of Ken Russell's proclivity for examining bizarre sexual underworlds, Crimes of Passion fails to generate resonance from its sensationalist subject matter, more concerned with taboo than insight. Its Kathleen Turner best role ever, she does a great job as China Blue, and the guy, i never saw a movie with him, but he do a good role too, the most impressive role its form Anthony Perkins as a fanatic perverted priest...the guy is sick of it all! Ken Russel used strong colors, to make a surrealistic scenario which is make a vision of an decadence prostitution world.. The soundtrack is incredible great, a genial touch of Rick Wakeman!!
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Fascinating erotic thriller
preppy-310 February 2018
Kathleen plays Joanna Crane. By day she's a man-hating fashion designer. At night she dons a blonde wig and becomes prostitute China Blue. She soon becomes involved with Bobby Grady (John Laughlin) an unhappily married man and the "Preacher" (Anthony Perkins) who wants to save her. It all culminates in a violent climax.

Great but VERY adult movie full of sex, frank sexual talk and some truly funny dialogue ("Whores and metaphors don't mix"). There's also some truly thought-provoking dialogue about gender, sex roles and marriage. There was a big controversy over this when it was released in 1984. In the US a full 5 minutes had to be cut out to secure the film an R rating. I saw it in 1984 and loved it. I was 22 and it was great to see an adult film. The uncut version is available on DVD. The acting wavers. Turner and Perkins are both great in their roles--especially Turner. Some of her sex scenes are shocking (especially one involving a policeman and his night stick) but she gives them her all. Laughlin is not that good in his role but seriously--the script gives him nothing to work with. Even worse is Annie Potts as his frigid wife. Still this is well worth seeing but for adults only. Highly recommended.
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One Of Ken Russell's Best Films
ladymidath14 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Ken Russell+ music score by Rick Wakeman=brilliant film. Throw in the talents of Kathleen Turner, Anthony Perkins, John Laughlin and Annie Potts and you have a winner.

A fashion designer by day and a prostitute by night, Joanna Crane, who goes by the name of China Blue when she is turning tricks, is suspected of stealing designs is being followed by an unhappily married Bobby Grady.

China Blue aka Joanna is also being stalked by a street preacher, the Reverend Peter Shayne who develops an unhealthy obsession with being able to 'save' her.

As a relationship starts to bud between Bobby and Joanna, Peter Shayne becomes more and more frenzied in his attempts to convert Joanna.

Crimes Of Passion is a striking movie. The music which is perfect, adds to the sexually charged atmosphere as does the setting and lighting.

A thriller that does not fear to cross any boundary and is still able to include genuinely touching scenes, such as one where China Blue is hired to have sex with a man who is terminally ill.

The scenes between Bobby and his wife Amy are also tinged with sadness as you can see how very unhappy they both are together.

Despite the fine performances from the cast, this is definitely Anthony Perkin's movie. His portrayal of Peter Shayne is both comical and terrifying as the menacing and deranged preacher who is desperate to find salvation in saving China Blue, no matter what the cost.

Kathleen Turner also puts in a great performance as the tormented woman who leads two lives. My only gripe with Crimes Of Passion is that Joanna's backstory was never really explored. But that would be a gripping film within itself.

Ken Russell's film really explores the darker side of sexual attraction and obsession.

It does end on a lighter note though which gives the film a more optimistic feel that gives the film a bit of a lift.

Crimes Of Passion is not for everyone, some of the scenes are explicit, but it is worth checking out.
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Exciting, disturbing, silly, sexy and serious
christopher-underwood23 April 2017
I can't establish whether writer Barry Sandler got the idea for Crimes of Passion from the original Joe Orton theatrical pairing that went out under that title but several of the main ingredients are there including the crazed preacher, the prostitute and the 'normal' guy. I have discovered that Cher was at one time considered for the female lead and that Jeff bridges for the 'normal' guy. Things would have been a little different in that situation. As it is Kathleen Turner gives the bravest, boldest and most bravura performance as the part time prostitute with a passion for the unusual and Anthony Perkins gives, surely the scariest performance of his career. And yes, David Lynch or Dennis Hopper must have had a little look at this before making Blue Velvet. Ken Russell clearly had fun here and creates the most splendid neon drenched streets, sleazy character aplenty whilst encouraging Turner to give her all and Perkins to just let rip. Exciting, disturbing, silly, sexy and serious by turns, this is an extraordinary film that despite my mention of the Lynch film, truly stands alone even in comparison to the craziest creations in the wonderful world of cinema.
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Very funny, intentionally or not
CinefanR29 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
First of all, if you are going to watch this movie, you'd better get the uncut version. "Crimes of Passion" is pure 80's entertainment, thanks to Anthony Perkins mainly, who was given some of the most hilarious (bad) lines ever. Characters are so over-the-top and absurd, dialogue is so unnatural and bad/funny, the acting is exaggerated and sometimes awful (intentionally maybe?), the music is so out of place that the whole thing is a Camp Masterpiece. Anthony Perkins seems to be spoofing his own classic "demented" persona, even the ending looks like some sort of "Psycho" parody. The preacher's maniacal performance, sniffing drugs in sleazy sex booths, reminded me of Dennis Hopper in "Blue Velvet". This is funny stuff, and it looks like a De Palma film.

The sexual content is surprising for a mainstream movie with famous actors, and it only adds to the quirkiness. The point seems to be going everywhere, and the plot, crazy and unlikely as it is, is all over the place– the movie can't decide whether it's a satire, thriller, comedy, love story or marital drama, the common element being sexuality and what it represents for different individuals. For the housewife, sex is something dirty and unpleasant, a conjugal duty; for the husband, it's the best way to express love and respect; for China Blue, it's a means to avoid emotional attachment; for the preacher it's a destructive impulse, a source of guilt and self-hatred. Despite some "hard-core" scenes, the movies remains light-hearted, and it's very entertaining.
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Two great actors camp up the sleaze
rlcsljo30 December 2000
I love films where everyone seems to be having a good time, especially the director. Kathy Turner vamps up Madonna, while Tony Perkins parodies his Psycho role while Russell tells us of a hooker whose heart is cold and made of gold at the same time--because her customers love it. Tony's preacher has obviously spent too much time amongst the slime bags of the combat zone and has allowed them to totally push him over the edge. The obvious point of this film is that the "typical" marriage is no better or worse than moral degeneracy

Forget the "R" rated version, and rent the unrated.
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