Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Katie's Passion (1975)

I suspect the only reason this Dutch film is in Drive In Classics is that whomever did the English-language version neglected some legal nicety which made it cheap or free to toss in.  Whatever the reason, it's clearly of a different standard to the average film in the pack, even with the poor dubbing dragging it down.  The period costumes and sets are well done, and the film is technically adept; as it should be with Paul Verhoeven and Jan de Bont as director and cinematographer respectively.

In 19th century Europe, poor rural families are forced to travel to the cities in the hopes of finding work.  One such family are the Tippels: dour mother, likeable but not terribly practical father, and their swarm of children.  The two eldest are both girls: the selfish Mina and ebullient Katie.  "You'd have no money problems if you put them to work." a leering stranger tells their father.  Yep, it's that kind of movie.

I suspect I will shock you not at all if I reveal that, after a few abortive attempts to earn an honest living, and the inevitable attendant rape scene, Katie ends up turning to the 'oldest profession'.  In this, she has her first strike of good luck, as the second man she propositions is an artist who would much prefer she model for him than anything else.

Through the artist, she means the pleasant Andre and the handsome if caddish Hugo.  No prizes for guessing for whom she initially falls, nor for whom she will end up with.

Well made though this is, I don't ultimately think I can recommend this.  It's pretty miserable fare, with almost everyone in the movie being petty, violent and cruel.  I'd like to think such misanthropy has a small audience, though it apparently was quite a successful film on release.

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