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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

NOTE: for the 1957 Crime of Passion on Blu-ray SEE HERE.


Crimes of Passion [Blu-ray]


(Ken Russell, 1984)




Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: New World Pictures

Video: Arrow Video



Region: FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Director's Cut Runtime: 1:52:35.330 Unrated Cut Runtime: 1:46:46.441

Disc Size: 47,190,042,391 bytes

Director's Cut Feature Size: 32,088,621,504 bytes

Unrated Cut Feature Size: 26,593,916,928 bytes

Video Bitrates: 34.84 Mbps - 35.02 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 11th + 19th, 2016


Video (both cuts):

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



Director's Cut

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1060 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1060 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps


Unrated Cut:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1062 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1062 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)



English, none



Audio commentary for the Director's Cut with director Ken Russell and producer-screenwriter Barry Sandler
Seven deleted/extended scenes with optional commentary by Sandler (19:55)
Brand-new interview with Sandler recorded especially for this release (22:07)
Brand-new interview with composer Rick Wakeman recorded especially for this release (28:54)

It's a Lovely Life music video (3:14)
Theatrical trailer (1:41)
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Twins of Evil
First pressing only: illustrated collector's booklet containing new writing from Paul Sutton, an archive interview with Ken Russell and correspondence between Russell and Kathleen Turner

Second disc DVD




1) Arrow (Director's Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Arrow (Unrated Cut) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM




In the early eighties British enfant terrible Ken Russell travelled to America and placed his unorthodox imprint on a pair of US movies. The first was the Altered States, so out-there its screenwriter disowned it. The second was the equally crazy Crimes of Passion, starring Kathleen Turner (Body Heat, Serial Mom) at the height of her powers.

Fashion designer Joanna Crane (Turner) leads a double life. By night she is China Blue, a prostitute who s attracted the unwanted attention of two men. One is a sexually frustrated private detective hired by her employees. The other is psychopathic priest (played by Norman Bates himself, Anthony Perkins) in possession of a murderous sex toy.

With its outré screenplay by Barry Sandler and over the top score by Rick Wakeman, Crimes of Passion may just be the most outrageous Ken Russell film ever made and that s quite some feat!.



The Film:

The prime example of Ken Russell's proclivity for examining bizarre sexual underworlds, Crimes of Passion fails to generate resonance from its sensationalist subject matter, more concerned with taboo than insight. Anthony Perkins' porno priest, who quotes Bible passages moments after emerging from a peep show (and that's his least ripe offense), is the epitome of Russell's cartoonish, overstated approach. Kathleen Turner provides some balance to Perkins' scenery chewing, enough for the Los Angeles Film Critics' Association to have honored her as Best Actress, but she fights a losing battle with Russell's aggressive desire to shock. The film is so grisly and fixed in its perverted milieu that the daytime scenes feel like they might have been spliced from another movie. As a result, the B-story about the unraveling marriage doesn't work. Still, Russell has earned kudos for his unwillingness to soften his agenda, and Crimes of Passion wins some respect solely on the basis of this audacity. Ever eager to remove any glamour from the world of prostitution, Russell again explored the underbelly of the world's oldest trade in Whore (1991), which left viewers and critics cold for similar reasons.

Excerpt from Barnes + Nobles located HERE


Joanna Crane (Kathleen Turner) is a cold, workaholic sportswear designer, divorced and dedicated only to her job. Once strapped into that role, Joanna looks for an "out" and finds it by donning a wig and hitting the pavement as a $50/trick hooker named China Blue. Explicit scenes show her at work on her night job, including a long S and M segment with a policeman. While making money as China Blue, Joanna runs into a menacing, fanatic preacher (Anthony Perkins) who is out to save her from this life of sin, but in the meantime, he is also busy watching nude girly shows. As China Blue and the sexually ambivalent Reverend heat up their relationship, he becomes difficult to read: is this psycho reverend a killer? While China Blue is plying her trade, Bobby Grady (John Laughlin) has finally realized after 12 years of marriage that his wife Amy (Annie Potts) is frigid and just as he has this remarkably delayed insight, he is assigned by Joanna's boss to find out if she is stealing designs or not. By tracking Joanna, Bobby sees her transformation as China Blue and as might be expected, sex is not far behind.

Excerpt from Barnes + Nobles located HERE


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.


This is the another Arrow Blu-ray release that is being simultaneously released in both region 'A' (US) and 'B' (UK). It is the exact same package on both sides of the pond to the best of our knowledge.


NOTE: As Michael Brooke informs us on Facebook in regards to Day of Anger: 'As the producer of Arrow's release, I can confirm first hand that the UK and US discs are absolutely identical: we only paid for one master, so there's no doubt about this at all! Which means that no matter which package you buy, the discs will play in any Region A or B setup (or Region 1 or 2 for DVD - and in the latter case the video standard is NTSC, to maximise compatibility). The booklets are also identical, but there are minor cosmetic differences on the disc labels and sleeve to do with differing copyright info and barcodes, and the US release doesn't have BBFC logos.' Crimes of Passion is the same situation.


Crimes of Passion gets an impressive transfer to Blu-ray from Arrow.  It is dual-layered with a very high max'ed out bitrate for both the 'Director's Cut' and the 'Unrated Cut' - seamlessly branched (so quality, effectively, will be the exact same). It's a mid-80s movie and the film-stock used at that time was less resilient but this looks quite good - lots of texture, authentic, rich, colors and come impressive detail in close-ups. The 1080P reproduces solid contrast and limited depth in the 1.85:1 frame.  It's very clean with a few light surface scratches. This Blu-ray probably looks like a solid representation of the film. The HD provides an impressively authentic video presentation.




















Audio :

Both cuts are supported with a DTS-HD Master mono track at 1060 kbps (24-bit). It's predictably flat carrying some depth in the score by Rick Wakeman (The Burning). I can't imagine a more authentic transfer for the film's audio. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE.


Extras :

Arrow include the audio commentary, recorded for the Director's Cut, with director Ken Russell and producer-screenwriter Barry Sandler plus there are seven deleted/extended scenes, running almost 20-minutes, with optional commentary by Sandler. Arrow produce two new interviews - one running 22-minutes with Sandler recorded and a second with composer Rick Wakeman - shy of 1/2 an hour - also recorded especially for this release. There is some good information here and value in the interviews. We also get It's a Lovely Life music video, a theatrical trailer and the package contains a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Twins of Evil and the first pressing only has an illustrated collector's booklet containing new writing from Paul Sutton, an archive interview with Ken Russell and correspondence between Russell and Kathleen Turner. It is dual-format and includes a second disc DVD




Like a lot of Ken Russell's work this is unique and unforgettable. I saw Crimes of Passion almost 30-years ago and the some scenes are indelible.  The Arrow Blu-ray provides an excellent a/v presentation with some excellent old and new supplements including both cuts and the commentary. Considered another odd masterpiece - it has some unusual and shocking scenes. Primo Russell and we strongly recommend. 

Gary Tooze

July 15th, 2016


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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Gary W. Tooze






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