MOVIE REVIEW: VENUS IN FURS 1970
Narrator Jimmy Logan (James Darrin), a jazz trumpeter spins a strange tale of murder and redemption. While walking along the Black Sea beach in Istanbul, Jimmy spots the body of a beautiful woman washed ashore. He instantly realizes that he and this woman have crossed paths before. Her name is Wanda Reed (Maria Rohm) and she was a frequent visitor to the jazz club where he performed. Wanda had befriended a group of assorted nuts, millionaire Turk Ahmed (Quincy Jones ex-father in law, the great Klaus Kinski haha), fashion photographer Olga (Margaret Lee), and old fart art dealer Percival (Dennis Price). Apparently this crew is into kinky sex games and Jimmy just happened to witness Wanda being involved in one of their exploits. Thinking she is a willing participant, Jimmy leaves the scene. What Jimmy doesn't see is Ahmed plunging a knife into the chest of Wanda and drinking her blood a la Dracula. The game goes too far and Wanda dies.
Conflicted by what he's witnessed, Jimmy flees to Rio De Janiero. There he takes up residence with beautiful sista Rita (Barbara McNair) and he gets his groove back and his will to play again. Rita is also a singer at the club where Jimmy plays (we'll get back to that). One night while jamming at the club, he sees a woman in a white fur coat who looks exactly like the dead Wanda. Each time Wanda appears at the club, her hair is either shorter or longer or sometimes an entirely different color. But the one thing that is always present is that damn fur coat....a fur coat in Rio....yessir! Jimmy becomes obsessed and even falls in love with Wanda against his better judgment. His patient girlfriend Rita tries to understand this relationship and remains for most of the story his shoulder to lean on. In the midst of Wanda and Jimmy's love affair, Wanda is exacting revenge on her killers. She appears to each in a different form, sometimes her hair is short, sometimes it's long or the hair color changes but what is always present is that freaking fur coat. The coat should have a movie of its own I swear haha. Her retribution is sweet because she never actually kills anyone, that's what makes her one bad chica! As Wanda walks away from each "killing" trailing that darn coat , the voice of Rita chimes in singing a line from the title tune of the movie "Venus in Furs will be smiling".....you hear that one line in the movie so much, it just stays with you.... groovy baby! Anyway Jimmy and Wanda leave Rio and return to Istanbul. Jimmy is unaware that Wanda's protagonists are dead. A police inspector comes to question Wanda about the murders and they flee. Here is where Jimmy finds all the answers about Wanda that have been puzzling him. No spoilers from me y'all.
This movie is beautifully shot with dream-like sequences. It has a very surreal scenes that do not make sense but they are so gorgeous, most will ignore the fact that they are senseless. Great shots of Rio's Carnivale in the late 60's. The score is wonderful, I am currently trying to track down a copy of it. It mostly consists of groovy jazz pieces by rock musician Manfred Mann and singing by Barbara McNair, who plays Rita. The 60's hepcat lingo is dated and hilarious at the same time. I would not consider this a horror movie but it is usually listed as one. I would consider it more of a erotic thriller because the blood and gore is minimal. The character Wanda spends about 50% of her time in the movie nude and that's it as far nudity is concerned. The ending is not wrapped into a neat little package and it leaves the viewer to interpret it however they'd like to, some people may be turned off by that. Overall I think this is one swinging film, yeah baby!
VERDICT: 3 Soul Claps
Labels: Movie Reviews