Tag Archives: Nastassja Kinski

Unfaithfully Yours (1984)

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 7 out of 10

4-Word Review: Conductor suspects wife’s infidelity.

Claude Eastman (Dudley Moore) is a famous orchestra conductor who’s married to Daniella (Nastassja Kinski). While he is on vacation his friend Norman (Albert Brooks) hires a detective (Richard B. Shull) to keep an eye on her and he mistakenly thinks that she’s cheating on Claude with Maximillan (Armand Assante). When Claude finds this out he comes up with a crafty plot to kill her and frame it on Maximillian, but once he tries to put the plan into action everything goes awry.

This is a remake of the film with the same title that was released in 1948 and starred Rex Harrison. That film was quite funny especially the second-half, but it wasn’t perfect and this one makes several changes to the original script that I felt actually improved it. One of the changes is that while Claude is conducting the orchestra he comes up with the plan of how he wants to kill her, but in the original it was three different ideas while here it is only one. Some viewers have complained about this, but the truth is that the other two ideas weren’t very funny or interesting, so whittling it down to only one works better.

I also felt that it was dumb at how in the original Harrison had no interest in reading the report that the private eye hands him and at one point even tries to set it on fire, but I would think any reasonable person, even if they wanted to believe that their partner wouldn’t cheat on them, would still be curious enough to want to take a look at it. In this version Moore initially resists but eventually his curiosity gets the better of him, which is how I think 99 % of other people would act if in the same situation, which therefore makes Moore’s attempts at retrieving the report after initially discarding it all the more comical.

The actual murder plan though is better handled in the first one, where if done exactly right was rather ingenious and even believable. Here though the idea that Moore comes up with has a lot of glaring holes in it right from the start including the fact that he attempts to record his wife’s laughter/screams while inside a restaurant, but the noise of the other customers would conceivably drown out the wife’s voice. The recorder is also placed too far away from where the wife is sitting making whatever noise it does pick-up from her come off as quite muffled and distant.

I felt that Harrison’s acting in the original was what really made it work, but Moore does just as good here particularly in the animated way he conducts, which is a laugh onto itself. However, the scene where he mistakenly drinks some coke that is laced with crushed tranquilizer pills, which presumably should’ve knocked him out completely, but instead it makes him behave in a slightly drunken state is too reminiscent to the alcoholic character that he played in Arthur and therefore should not have been done here due to the comparison.

Although it doesn’t quite hold-up and loses steam by the end it’s still an entertaining ride. If you’re more into classic Hollywood films, or you want to watch and compare both, then I’d say the black-and-white original is just as good as both films had me laughing-out-loud at several points and both deserve a 7 out of 10.

My Rating: 7 out of 10

Released: February 10, 1984

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

Rated PG

Director: Howard Zieff

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Available: DVD

To the Devil a Daughter (1976)

to the devil a daughter 1

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 6 out of 10

4-Word Review: He sacrifices his daughter.

Father Michael (Christopher Lee) is an ex-communicated priest who runs an offshoot religion called Children of the Lord that seems connected to the Catholic Church on the outside, but underneath the façade it is actually a cover for a group of Satanists. Henry (Denholm Elliot) is the father who signs over his daughter Cathrine’s (Nastassja Kinski) soul at her birth which stipulates that on her 18th birthday she will become the devil’s representative here on earth. Yet as that date approaches Henry begins to have second thoughts and hires occult novelist John Verney (Richard Widmark) to steal Catherine away from her captors and take her away to his place to hide, but Father Michael uses the power of black magic to hypnotize Catherine and force her to return to him while John tries everything in his power to stop it.

One commenter on the IMDB message boards claims this is ‘one of the worst movie to come out in the 70’s’, which only proves that he must not have seen a lot of ‘70’s movies as there is far worse stuff from that decade than this. Although it is certainly no classic it’s still not bad on the technical end and even rather slick. I enjoyed the on-location shooting done in Europe particularly the scene showing a drawbridge that could be lowered and raised manually by one person. The gore and scares are skimpy, but the scene where Kinski dreams of having the devil fetus crawl up her body and she then proceeds to stuff it into her vagina is certainly worth a few points.

Kinski’s presence is the best thing about the movie and the film became notorious in its day for showing her in full frontal nudity even though she was only 14 at the time. However, what surprised me even more was how confident she looked when she did it without any of the expected nervousness or shyness. I felt that because she was the daughter of actor Klaus Kinski and had to learn to group up fast she had a higher level of maturity than most other teens her age and therefore the scene wasn’t as awkward for her as it might otherwise have been.

Lee’s great as always as the bad guy and I particularly enjoyed his facial expressions. However, Widmark  was miscast as he was too old and I didn’t understand why being only a friend of the family he would take such an invested interest in their daughter and such personal risks to get her out of the cult, which I felt would’ve been better suited to the role of the father and cutting out the Gurney character altogether.

This was the last horror film to be produced by Hammer and for the most part it plays like a cheesy rip-off of The Exorcist, but still has enough of a budget and a capable enough cast to keep it mildly enjoyable.

My Rating: 6 out of 10

Released: March 4, 1976

Runtime: 1Hour 28Minutes

Rated R

Director: Peter Sykes

Studio: Hammer Films

Available: DVD, Amazon Instant Video