Jun

21

Bwog goes to the movies: Crazy Love

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In which Bwog newbie Sarah Rapp reviews a tale of love gone nuts.

sdfsI had two concerns on my mind upon entering Dan Klore’s documentary Crazy Love: first, that I had forgotten my grey sweatshirt reserved for overly air conditioned environments; and second, that the title was incredibly cliché. 

Crazy. Love. In my opinion, two of the more overused terms in the English language. The extremes are appealing, but also somehow vague, and I was preemptively disappointed in Klore for the choice of this specific combination. However, by the end of the film, I realized that I haven’t seen a more apt title since Snakes on a Plane and Three Men and a Baby.

Bwog readers in their 50s (I know you’re out there) may remember this story from the tabloids. It’s 1957, and Linda Riss, a flirtatious but wholesome bombshell, meets smart, successful older man Burt Pugach. Love ensues, then the bomb drops – he’s married, oh no! They break up, she meets someone new, he stalks her, can’t get her back, so Pugach, in a jealous and insane rage, does what any lovesick kid from the Bronx would do: hires a thug to throw acid in her face. Linda, now minus her eyesight and a fiancée, spends years watching suitors run after seeing what’s behind her Hollywood shades, and finds herself alone. Meanwhile, back at the prison, Burt continues to obsess over his Linda, writing her letters, sending her money, calling her. Fourteen years go by, and Burt gets out early on parole, makes his media rounds and in a confusing and inappropriate stunt, proposes to Linda while being interviewed on national television. Linda accepts.

It is hard to remain impartial and hear Burt’s side of the story– the all caps headline “GIRL BLINDED BY ACID THROWER” will burn in your head the entire film. Klore does a nice job of avoiding the temptation to make this film an attack on Pugach, emphasizing their love before the incident, and their love now, which is of a different breed. The talking heads besides Burt and Linda are almost a pleasure. On the one hand, they’re good storytellers with good memories who flesh out the horrifying love story. On the other hand, hearing the smoker growl and seeing liver spots is somewhat unpleasant. 

The story may make itself, but the movie’s presentation and timing make it even better. For those of us who hadn’t read a synopsis beforehand, the secret is hidden quite well, and at the moment when Linda Riss recounts the fateful day, Klore decides to not show Linda saying the punchline—some things are too horrible to speak aloud. The former Miss Riss takes a drag of her cigarette instead of completing the sentence: “I opened the door, and then…” Klore cuts to the chilling newspaper headline and turns up the music, which is well chosen and enjoyable, including some great throwbacks from Smokey Robinson and the Miracles and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. Also, you’ll appreciate the irony in Elvis Presley’s “Burning Love”.

Crazy Love isn’t your average love story, but if I know anything about our generation, it’s that we like ourselves a good fucked up love story. Crazy Love is a fascinating look into a tabloid headline that seems to make no sense from the outside. It’s engrossing, disturbing, and impressively edited. I’d like to tell you that you’ll get answers – for why Burt did it, why Linda accepted his proposal, how they can live in the same house knowing what they know – but I can’t make any promises. 

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7 Comments

  1. great review

    really, a good review. thanks Sarah!

  2. eyeless?

    The link to the post says she lost eyesight in one eye initially. Did she then lose it in the other?
    This Burt guy is a total prick. He's had numerous affairs since then & has been convicting of harassing mistresses (threatening them with violence) even after the Linda affair

  3. loverboy

    acid in the face? seriously, what ever happened to flowers?

  4. Paul Simon

    I don't want no part of this crazy love. I don't want no part of your love.

  5. sometimes

    a subject deserves to be handled with a tiny bit of taste. it's nice to know bwog can mute it's tone

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