Crimes of Passion Blu-ray review

Flamboyant filmmaker's lurid tale of sex and identity scrubs up nicely on Blu-ray

This steamy 1984 thriller stars Kathleen Turner as Joanna Crane, a fashion designer who moonlights as a prostitute called China Blue. But Joanna's double-life is soon complicated by the arrival of two new men in her life. The first is Bobby (John Laughlin), an unhappily married electronics expert hired to spy on Joanna, who ends up falling in love with her instead. Much more troubling is the obsessive 'Reverend' Peter Shayne (Anthony Perkins), whose idea of 'saving' Joanna/China isn't likely to win him the Samaritan of the Year award...

With it's heady mix of sex, satire and religion, it's easy to see why controversial British director Ken Russell was tempted back to Hollywood by Barry Sandler's script for Crimes of Passion. And while the film fails to reach the same dizzying heights as his 1971 classic The Devils, it remains the late director's last truly great piece of movie madness.

Picture: Based on an exclusive new 2K restoration of the original 35mm interpositive, Crimes of Passion looks nothing less than stunning on Blu-ray. Detailing and contrast levels are uniformly excellent, while film grain is resolved as expertly as we've come to expect of transfers from Arrow Video. However, the real highlight is the 1.85:1 transfer's majestic colour palette. From the sweaty skin tones to the wonderfully saturated neon pinks and blues that dominate much of the cinematography, it's a joy to finally see Crimes of Passion restored to its original visual glory.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: The disc's DTS-HD Master Audio mono track does all that is asked of it. Dialogue sounds entirely natural, Foley effects are well-balanced in the mix and create a good sense of ambience, while Rick Wakeman's Dvorák-inspired score sounds as synth-tastic as any fan could hope for.
Audio rating: 3.5/5

Extras: Arrow's Blu-ray includes both the 107-minute 'Unrated Cut' and Russell's subsequent 113-minute 'Director's Cut' of the film. Available only on the latter version is an audio commentary by Russell and screenwriter Barry Sandler, originally recorded for Anchor Bay's 2002 R1 DVD release.

Other features include seven deleted scenes with optional commentary from Sandler; new interviews with Sandler and Rick Wakeman; Russell's music video for It's a Lovely Life (and a gallery of related documents); the trailer; and an illuminating 24-page booklet about the film and its director.
Extras rating: 3.5/5

We say: A sensational Blu-ray package for Ken Russell's last great Hollywood hurrah

Crimes of Passion, Arrow Video, Region A/B BD & R1/R2 DVD, £18