Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Terrific, low budget true-crime film that has deservedly become a cult classic in the years since its release. Shirley Stoler is wonderful as a frumpy nurse whose concerned aunt submits her to a dating service which immediately sets her up with a handsome young Spanish lover (Tony Lo Bianco). She discovers before long that he is a con artist who meets lonely women through this service and takes their money before dumping them and moving on to the next victim, but for some reason her sympathy makes her want to stay at his side. Before long the two are a team who go from place to place conning women, he marrying them under a false name and she pretending to be his sister. When things get dicey and their methods turn to murder, the film goes to dark places that, for a film made in 1969 (even an independent one) it is surprisingly unafraid to go. Sex, murder, passion, desperation, they’re all here and the low-grade directing and startlingly awkward personalities only make it that much more effective. Based on the terrifying true story, the film’s presentation of a stark America full of alienated individuals destroyed by their need to find connection is only enhanced by its ragged production style.
The Criterion Collection: #200