It Is Not Easy To Conceive Of What Might Have Helped This Below-Standard Work Other Than An Absolute Overhaul Of A Script Pockmarked By An Unending Stream Of Bromides.
A tired soap opera formula is brought into play for this low budget movie that is tarted up with a copious number of scenes depicting intended romantic grappling, yet having nothing to pique audience interest from its outset, and is best left alone by potential viewers who place some amount of value upon their time. As action begins, we find famed concert pianist Alan Spencer (Larry Poindexter) during the final moments of a Los Angeles area recital, after which he struggles with a spate of autograph hunting admirers, yet while allowing himself to be confronted by a fetching young blonde, Liana Buckman (Pamela Winslow), at which point we become apprised that theirs is an acquaintanceship that began ten years prior when each was attending The Juilliard School. Clearly captivated by mutual attraction, the pair begin to keep company often during the next day or two, thereby creating a potentially troublesome situation for both since Liana is still married to, although ostensibly divorcing, an aspiring (and jealous) politician, George Buckman (Stuart Nelson) whose contrived repute as an anticipative elected man of the people will be at risk if the love affair between Liana and Alan continues, as seems likely due to their determination toward using any available opportunity for being together. It seems that Alan will shortly be returning to his home in France, his impending departure becoming a spur to the besotted lovers, having as result frantic undressing and thrashing about while we also learn vicariously in true soap opera style of the unfortunate events that have befallen the duo: Alan's wife had perished by fire, Liana's soon-to-be ex-husband has quashed her desired career as a musician, and that sort of thing, all while George, who wishes to regain Liana's love, takes advantage of remarkably excessive idle hours for a campaigning politician, to repeatedly sneak up on the lovers, irritating them no end. The film, shot with videotape, is straitened by very limited production values, these including special effects during the work's climactic scene, but any chance that a cogent narrative might peep through the ongoing visual dross is arrested by a manifest lack of directoral point of view as a glut of extraneous footage triumphs over potential storyline purpose. Issued upon a Madacy DVD about a decade following its completion, PASSIONATA is a generally listless effort, not helped by erratic sound quality and substandard lighting. A stale score is integrated into the scenario, possibly for the purpose of anesthetizing viewers sitting through lustreless love scenes. The film does, after all, concern the passions of musicians and whenever these individuals are near a piano, we are gratified to hear a bit of Mozart, Chopin or Brahms, in addition to Martini's evergreen Plaisir d'Amour, the latter sung with her pleasant light soprano by the accomplished and somewhat underappraised Winslow. Except for the three principal characters, others in the cast have little to do. Nelson's delivery of his admittedly poorly written lines is dreadful while Poindexter, playing his scenes far down, merely walks through his role as a purported master of the keyboard, quaint in the event, since it is obvious that he cannot play a note. Turning the coin, Winslow works hard at making something of a largely thankless part, and plays snatches of Mozart with authority, a modest but welcome element within a production from which there is precious little to bear in memory. The plot is very thin, and with only a small budget at hand, a tautly organized storyline would be essential here; without it, the result is a muddled and considerably boring melodrama wherein is an excess of wearisome footage depicting the lovers writhing about in the nude, along with repeated shots of waves crashing upon a beach. Director Shelton receives a good deal of support from his family members, friends, and associates, some doing double duty, with his daughter Marley Shelton (as Marley Eve) performing an uncredited turn as a waitress, in addition to being used for Winslow's body double. The director is from the Eagle Rock district that lies in the northeast section of the City of Los Angeles where is located Occidental College, put to proper use here as are several other picturesque Southern California locations in Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, and Monrovia. Although most of this scenic background provides a foundation for what proves to be an unconvincing set of episodes, the film is nonetheless pleasing to the eye (and ear).
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