MOVIE REVIEW : 'In the Heat of Passion': There's Not Much Fire

"In the Heat of Passion" (Laemmle's Monica) is a dismal thriller that wouldn't pass muster as a routine TV job.

The incompetence makes what is objectionable--the leering, porno-violent crudities--seem even more objectionable.

Nick Corri plays a sometime actor who gets obsessively drawn into a steamy, film noir -ish affair with a rich Beverly Hills woman, played by Sally Kirkland.

The one good idea in the film, which was written and directed by Rodman Flender, is that Corri, who plays a rapist on a crime re-enactment show called "Crimebusters," is himself mistaken for the rapist. (The film is rated R for sensuality, violence and language.)

It's a kicky notion that Brian De Palma might have been able to do something with, but Flender works without a trace of irony or smarts. It's glum, cheap-jack stuff from beginning to end.

Kirkland deserves better. When we see her disrobing for the camera as the camera bores in for close-ups, or simulating masturbation, our thoughts are for the actress, not the character.

'In the Heat of Passion'

Sally Kirkland: Lee

Nick Corri: Charlie

Jack Carter: Producer

A Concorde Films release. Director Rodman Flender. Producer Flender. Roger Corman. Screenplay by Flender. Cinematographer Wally Psister. Editor Patrick Rand. Costumes Meta Jardine. Art director Patrick Lees. Running time: 1 hour, 42 minutes.

MPAA-rated R (sex, violence, language).

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