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Crime of Passion Movie Review

bill stanwyck doyle burr

Ah, the joys of 1957, when men were men and women twiddled their thumbs. Kathy Ferguson (Barbara Stanwyck) begins this movie with an exciting job as a columnist for a San Francisco newspaper. She even plays a key role in clearing up a murder case. She's en route to Manhattan on a fast-paced career track, when she makes a quick stop in Los Angeles to meet Detective Lieutenant Bill Doyle of the L.A.P.D. (Sterling Hayden) for dinner. One thing leads to another, and before you can say, “Darn my socks for me, Darling,” she is MRS. Bill Doyle, trapped in a suburb, with no outlet for her tremendous energy. She's bored with her life and she hates Bill's friends on the force AND their wives, so she takes up a new hobby: promoting Bill's career. This means sleeping with his boss, Inspector Tony Pope (Raymond Burr), and alienating him from other detectives who might get the job she wants Bill to have. (See what happens when a gal leaves a great job to do nothing?) Even though Kathy Ferguson Doyle is basically a screw up, Stanwyck invests the role with eloquence and angst. The dull life that her character rails about IS everything that she says it is. The obvious choice over 40 years later isn't even mentioned as an option: go back to the work you love and if Bill doesn't like it, TOUGH! This seems eminently more sensible than: sleep with Bill's boss, but don't tell Bill, and make sure you do something to get caught, so Bill will feel like a sap, anyway. Yeah, there's a lot of rage against women in Crime of Passion, but you can't stop watching it because of Stanwyck and Burr. (Hayden's thankless part must have grated on him after starring in The Asphalt Jungle for John Huston and The Killing for Stanley Kubrick.) And yes, that IS Stuart Whitman in a bit as a lab technician, four years away from his 1961 Academy Award nomination for The Mark.

1957 85m/B Barbara Stanwyck, Sterling Hayden, Raymond Burr, Fay Wray, Royal Dano, Virginia Grey, Dennis Cross, Robert Griffin, Jay Adler, Malcolm Atterbury, S. John Launer, Brad Trumbull, Skipper McNally, Jean Howell, Peg La Centra, Nancy Reynolds, Marjorie Owens, Robert Quarry, Joe Conley, Stuart Whitman; D: Gerd Oswald; W: Jo Eisinger; C: Joseph LaShelle; M: Paul Dunlap. VHS, Closed Caption

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