Kathleen Turner, Crimes of Passion

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Andrew Sarris

“Ken Russell's treatment of this patchwork material is by turns skimpy, austere, stylized, giddy, and lyrical. A great deal of sympathy is generated for the Joanna/China Blue character because of a certain spunkiness in Turner's performance that reminds me of the tough '30s and '40s screen heroines. Russell has generally done nothing if not too much in his forays into the kinks and twists of human behavior, but Turner is never too much in even the most lurid situations. The movie lives and breathes in her presence and gasps and dies in her absence. And though I haven't seen enough to be able to confirm it, I suspect hers is the female performance of the year just past. Far from being degraded in the role, Turner embodies an exhilaratingly free will on high heels and even higher self-confidence, and she has apparently inspired a strange tenderness in Ken Russell's too often overheated directorial style….”

Andrew Sarris
Village Voice
March 18, 1985

[Sarris’s earlier review of Romancing the Stone]:

“Kathleen Turner is the most exciting enchantress to zoom out of Hollywood since Jessica Lange escaped King Kong's clumsy grasp to become Dustin Hoffman's tootsie…. One might say that a star is born when one begins mentally casting her for everything in sight. And so it is for me with Kathleen Turner at this moment in film history.

“…. [S]he radiates grace and strength with both sweet and ironic vibrations. The point is that there is a cutting edge to Turner's talent….”

Village Voice, April ? , 1984

David Denby

“In Ken Russell's neon-lurid, heavy-breathing Crimes of Passion, Kathleen Turner gives an entertaining performance in an incomprehensible role. By day, Turner is a workaholic fashion designer in gray suits and ties, her hair worn short and brushed to the side in the style of a Berlin lesbian of 1930. At nightfall, however, she steps into a telephone booth, and out comes … China Blue, a blonde hooker with a mean tongue and a happy, theatrical flair for satisfying the fantasies of her customers. Nuns, stewardesses, good girls, bad girls--she can play them all.Error! Reference source not found.

“….This part-time floozy, it turns out, is a martyr to sexual repression… [S]he's never been sexually happy herself. Not, that is, until she meets an unhappily married jock…. So all along she only wanted to meet a nice guy who would be faithful to her--a good husband. But why was she looking for him in a whorehouse?

“That the role is hooey doesn't stop Turner from putting everything into it--she would have made a great Sadie Thompson. But Kathleen Turner has more talent than Joan Crawford. Indeed, in her daytime incarnation, she reminds me of Bette Davis--there's something of the same straight-ahead determination; the same souring intelligence. As China Blue, however, she's an original. The smoky voice, glittering smile, and hip-swinging walk that were often ludicrous in Body Heat have now been edged with mockery and exaggeration. The performance is a genuine camp classis--never to be repeated, one hopes, but indelible in its manic glee.”

David Denby
New York, November ?, 1984

David Thomson

“Miss Turner has angry eyes. I thought so when she first appeared, in Body Heat… No matter how obliging, overwarm, and available her Matty made herself in that film, didn't the eyes warn us of danger and intrigue too heady for Ned Racine? She could not keep the warning light of Femme Fatale out of her eyes….

“It was a remarkable debut… Along with her eyes was a voice that had an unaccountable harshness--did it come from the years spent in Latin America as her diplomat father got posted around? There was a strength in the woman that seemed likely to break out. It was not entirely comfortable, and the career has been hard to track.”

“…. [S]he did her best with the designer by day and hooker by night in Crimes of Passion….”

David Thomson
A Biographical Dictionary of Film,
Third Edition (1994), p 760

Jack Kroll

“…. In "Crimes of Passion," Kathleen Turner gives a gutsy and gallant performance as a woman who by day is Joanna, a cool and careful business person, and by night is China Blue, a street hooker who hurls herself into the foulest and most degrading acts. Ken Russell's movie is a kind of semisurrealist updating of "Rain," with Turner as a Day-Glo Sadie Thompson and Anthony Perkins as a crazier verson of the Reverend Davidson….”

Jack Kroll
Newsweek, October 29, 1984
[don’t have whole review]

David Edelstein

“In her platinum wig, which compresses her face and brings out the curvy slope of her nose, Kathleen Turner does a charming, rococo impersonation of a woman impersonating a hooker, and she's enough of an actress to show you the cracks of anguish in the mask. Her sex scenes with Laughlin are the worst-written in the movie (why does she fall for this dumb jock?), yet she throws herself into them with hungry abandon--which is all the more courageous when you remember who's in the director's chair. (I wouldn't be caught in the same men's room with the director of Lisztomania and Mahler.)….”

David Edelstein
Village Voice, date ?
(left out some on character)