24 December 2009 | lazarillo
Memorable 70's sleaze with the Hemingway sisters
This is another lurid entry into the misbegotten "rape-revenge" genre, but it manages to be even more sleazy than usual because it was backed by a major studio and it features two of Ernest Hemingway's granddaughters (only one of whom was talented), sisters Margeaux and Mariel Hemingway.
The late model-actress (or, more accurately, model-bad actress)Margeaux Hemingway plays an, um, model (at least she doesn't stretch herself too much) who lets her younger sister's middle-school music teacher (Chris Sarandon) into her house to listen to his weird avante-garde music. Unfortunately, he turns out to be a frustrated psycho (aren't all middle-school music teachers?)who flies into a rage when she ignores him to take a phone call. So he ties her to the bed and violently sodomizes her(!) in a highly exploitative scene that involves Margeaux being butt-naked and tied up for nearly ten minutes (Strangely, Mariel Hemingway ended up in exactly the same position some years later at the end of the otherwise much better Dorothy Stratten bio "Star 80"). In the meantime, her younger sister walks in, but she isn't quite sure what she saw. Just like in real-life, the police and the courts are pretty ineffectual, but their portrayal here is still pretty over the top. (Is it normal police procedure to ask a rape victim if she had been defecated on?!). Without giving too much away, Sarandon's character (who even for a middle-school music teacher is ridiculously evil) sets his sights on the younger Mariel and has to face the wrath of the vengeful Margeaux.
Margeaux Hemingway was not much of an actress and she has one of the most annoying voices in the history of cinema. She's horribly unconvincing both as a rape victim and a vigilante. Even in her first role, Mariel Hemingway is far better as the troubled teen who isn't sure if she saw her favorite teacher raping her sister or her slutty sister seducing him. Chris Sarandon is also pretty good, and he no doubt had a hard time living this role down, but he would go on to "The Sentinel" and "Fright Night". I somehow missed this sleazy piece of trash back in the 70's (but I guess I was only seven at the time), but I saw it recently completely by accident while trying to find an even more obscure (and much better) Italian film with the same name. This is NOT good by a long shot but it is memorably sleazy.