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Black Widow

Black Widow (1987)

February. 06,1987
| Thriller

Federal agent Alexandra Barnes believes that Catherine Petersen is a serial killer who marries rich men and then murders them for their money. But since Catherine is seemingly a master of disguise and has multiple identities, Alexandra can't prove anything with conventional detective work. With no other option, she goes undercover, pursuing the same man as Catherine, and hoping that Catherine will slip up and reveal her true identity.


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I love this movie so much


the audience applauded


So much average

Nayan Gough

A great movie, one of the best of this year. There was a bit of confusion at one point in the plot, but nothing serious.


Something about this movie grabbed my attention. It was familiar; I had heard of it somehow. I'd never seen it, but ... there was something. It's been available on Netflix for a while, and I put it on my list some time ago but had never watched it. Finally today I took the plunge. And I found it tedious watching from beginning to end. From the very first scenes I thought this movie had a cheap feel to it. Not low budget. Some low budget movie are smartly done; some realize they're low budget and make that part of their appeal. "Black Widow" felt cheap to me - a movie that wanted to be good and smart and taken seriously but didn't have the resources to pull that off. It was a huge disappointment.The story revolved around a woman (Theresa Russell) who makes a habit of marrying rich older men and killing them off for their inheritance - making sure that she does it in such a way that no one can pin anything on her or even suspect that the men were murdered. Except for one lonely FBI agent played by Debra Winger, who develops an obsession with the deaths of these men and, realizing that they had all married the same woman (who had used different names,) set out to get her. That's the movie. There's very little real suspense. We know Catharine killed them. It's a matter of seeing if Alexandra (Winger) can catch her.It's actually a kind of strange movie. Catharine and Alexandra develop a relationship; a friendship. There are hints that it could even be more than that - but, please, hardly a lesbian "subtext." It was far too obvious and forced for it to be a subtext - like the scuba diving classes where women give each other pretend mouth to mouth. Seriously? The story was bland and passionless - it was, indeed, tedious viewing. I managed to get through it. There was an attempt at a twist toward the end to keep the viewer off balance. Was this actually going to go down that way? But it wasn't a very convincing twist, and I never took the switch seriously; always assuming that things would work out as we suspected they would from the very beginning.A lot of people seem to have liked this; it's received a lot of good reviews. I just found it disappointing. (2/10)


Black Widow is directed by Bob Rafelson and written by Ronald Bass. It stars Debra Winger and Theresa Russell. Music is by Michael Small and cinematography by Conrad L. Hall.Two women. Catherine marries men for their money, then murders them. The other, Alexandra Barnes is on her tail, getting in close to hopefully expose her crimes...Rafelson's neo-noir homages the film noir femme fatales of the 40s and 50s with a high degree of success. There's much potency in the screenplay that puts it firmly in the noir universe. Flip flopping the misogyny angles of yesteryear, picture pitches the ultimate femme fatale destroyer of men into a cat and mouse scenario with a sexually repressed opponent - or is she a jealous but secret admirer? The transformation of Winger's dowdy Justice Department Agent into a blossoming lady at Catherine Black Widow's (Russell super sexy and sensuous) side brings in the doppelgänger effect, a good old noir staple. The sexual tension is a constant, particularly when Paul Nuytten (Sami Frey) is brought into proceedings, something which shifts the piece still further into noirville.There's also other characters straight out of film noir. Be it Alexandra's boss (the always reliable Terry O'Quinn), who's harbouring carnal desires for Alex, or sleazy Private Investigator H. Shin (James Hong) who has a needle habit, it's clear that Rafelson and Bass know their noir. Unfortunately most of the play is in daylight, meaning missed opportunities for some psychological shadow play is passed up. Though it should be noted that Hall's photography is slick and tonally in tune, especially when lighting scenes involving Russell as prime focus. It all builds to a splendid finale, the makers pulling us both ways as to where it will lead. Sure, some of the plot devices are weak, but in the main this is sexy, intriguing and tricky in narrative, whilst tech credits stay at the higher end of the scale. 7/10


I had seen Body Heat from 1981 with the similar femme fatale theme and that film just comes to my mind after seeing Black Widow on TV tonight.Actually Black widow tries to copy some elements from the earlier film with very little success. I can give this film 1 point for high production values, 1 point for the score and 1 for good sets. That's just about it and it's such a shame that if this film had had a really good intelligent script, the outcome could have been much better.The film's actually really dumb and there's plenty of things that make very little sense. The pacing is actually so dull that nothing seems to happen in it for the first hour. It's just tough to watch when everything is so obvious from the very beginning to the very end. It's like watching a daytime soap opera that never ends.The main character's quite tame and uninteresting just like everything else in this film. Plot twists in the end of the film are just a little too late to save the film. It appears that there was very little substance but it still had to be made to last 102 minutes.Save yourself from an obvious disappointment and watch The Body Heat instead. It's got very similar story and it's the original.


This movie is straight high camp, but put together exceedingly well. Ridiculous? Yes! Over-acted? Yes! Eyes-glued-to-the-screen good? Yes! Keep in mind that in addition to directing such dramatic works such as Blood & Wine, Bob Rafelson also directed The Monkees, so you already know this is someone who appreciates tongue-in-cheek! Just imagine....Debra Winger as a frumpy/unattractive closet lesbian lusting after the object of her obsession....a devastating Theresa Russell at the pinnacle of her sultry exquisiteness. Think Jane Seymour in East of Eden, or Lena Olin in Romeo is Bleeding and you get the picture. Don't expect high-brow storyline here, just sheer fun!