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Black Widow
Directed by Bob Rafelson
Produced by Laurence Mark
Harold Schneider
Written by Ronald Bass
Starring Debra Winger
Theresa Russell
Sami Frey
Dennis Hopper
Rutanya Alda
Terry O'Quinn
Music by Michael Small
Cinematography Conrad L. Hall, ASC
Editing by John Bloom
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) February 6, 1987
Running time 102 min.
Country USA
Language English

Black Widow is a 1987 Neo-noir film starring Debra Winger, Theresa Russell, Sami Frey, and Dennis Hopper, about two women: one who murders wealthy men whom she marries for their money, and the other an agent with the Department of Justice who grows obsessed with bringing her to justice. It was directed by Bob Rafelson, from a screenplay by Ronald Bass. Black Widow is a late addition to the film noir revival of the 1980s, known as neo-noir.

Contents

Plot

The story revolves around two women, one the femme fatale Catherine (Theresa Russell) whose true name is never revealed. She preys on wealthy middle-aged men, seducing them into marriage and killing them by a mysterious means of poisoning. Each death is misdiagnosed as Ondine's curse, a condition by which seemingly healthy middle-aged men die in their sleep. The other woman is Justice Department agent Alex Barnes (Debra Winger), who stumbles onto the first murder while investigating another case. As Alex delves further into the case, she uncovers a pattern, which she believes ties the same woman to several similar murders. Barnes' Justice Dept. boss, Bruce is played by Terry O'Quinn.

Using exhaustive research, elaborate disguises and identity changes, Catherine weaves her web anew with each murder, killing a publishing magnate, a toy maker (Dennis Hopper), and museum curator (Nichol Williamson), and is moving quickly to her next victim, an international hotel tycoon (Sami Frey). Later in the film she reveals she’s been married six times, which suggests that she may have committed as many murders.

Alex (receiving the grudging permission of her Boss Bruce (Terry O'Quinn) decides to go undercover to track down, first Catherine’s background and then her next potential victim. She trails the murderer to Seattle where she kills husband number three (Nicol Williamson), and finally to Hawaii where the two women meet and eventually engage in a sexually intense war of wits and wills. They both compete for the affection of wealthy Paul Nuytten (Sami Frey) and Catherine eventually marries him. Alex is arrested for Paul's murder when the police find a poison in her room. While in prison Alex talking to Catherine from behind bars, Paul shows up and Alex says, we found the poison before he did.

The film opened to mixed reviews, but has maintained a loyal following for two decades.

Cast

Remake

A made-for-TV remake was produced in 2008 with Elizabeth Berkley as the 'black widow', Olivia Whitfield / Grace Miller, pursued by Melanie Dempsey, portrayed by Alicia Coppola.[1]

References

  1. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1046894/

External links

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