Crimes of Passion appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Though erratic, the image usually looked pretty good.
Definition was generally positive. Occasional soft shots materialized, and I couldn’t call the movie razor-sharp, but the majority showed good clarity. No issues with shimmering or jaggies materialized, and I saw no edge haloes.
Print flaws remained pretty minor. A handful of specks popped up, and one scene suffered from a mix of small spots, but those issues weren’t pervasive. Instead, the movie usually looked clean.
Colors appeared largely appealing. The movie tended toward dominant hues like reds and purples, and it brought those out fairly well – they weren’t tremendously vivid, but they held up fine. Blacks were reasonably dark, while low-light shots demonstrated appropriate clarity. Given the movie’s age, I felt this was a “B-“ image.
Don’t expect much from the wholly ordinary DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack of Crimes. Everything about the mix felt dated and lackluster.
Speech remained intelligible, but the lines boasted little life. It didn’t help that we got more than a few poorly-looped elements, but even the “natural” bits still seemed flat and occasionally edgy.
Music showed little range. The score seemed somewhat “rinky-dink” and didn’t present much pep. Effects also came across as mediocre at best. This became a consistently ordinary mix – even for its age, this audio seemed mediocre.
The Blu-ray includes two versions of Crimes. We get an Unrated Cut (1:46:46) as well as a Director’s Cut (1:52:35).
According to the disc’s menu, the “Unrated Cut” is actually the original version director Ken Russell meant to put out theatrically in 1984 but various ratings boards forced edits. The “Director’s Cut” was created for a laserdisc, which means the presentation here uses standard-def shots sometimes because presumably the original footage is lost.
I never saw Crimes until now and I opted for the Director’s Cut. Because this became my initial screening, I can’t comment on the specific changes. Nonetheless, I wanted to mention the presence of the two editions.
Alongside the Director’s Cut, we find an audio commentary from director Ken Russell and screenwriter Barry Sandler. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters/themes, cast and performances, sets and production design, visual choices, music, cinematography, ratings issues and editing.
Russell departs midway through the film, and that means each half offers a different experience. With Russell and Sandler together, we get a decent look at the production. Nothing scintillating appears, but the pair cover the movie in a reasonable manner – though the track drags at times, it works acceptably well.
Once Russell leaves, though, the commentary becomes less stimulating. Sandler mostly discusses story, and he tends to narrate the events. Though occasional nuggets emerge, the second half mainly sputters.
Two featurettes follow. Life of Crime runs 22 minutes, seven seconds and provides an interview with Sandler. He discusses his entrance into movies and his early career as well as other aspects of his career and Crimes. Sandler tells a mix of good stories and makes this an enjoyable chat – much better than his commentary, in fact.
With the 28-minute, 54-second Composing for Ken, we hear from composer Rick Wakeman. He chats about his work in films, his experiences with Ken Russell, and Crimes. Like Sandler, Wakeman brings us a lively, informative interview.
Seven Deleted Scenes fill a total of 19 minutes, 55 seconds. We find a long extension of the Bobby/Amy cookout scene as well as a mix of other character bits. None of them seem especially interesting, and some – such as the cookout bit – become embarrassing due to the bad acting.
We can watch the scenes with or without commentary from Sandler. He tells us a little about the sequences as well as why they got cut. Sandler gives us good notes, though oddly, he skips the extension of the segment in which a woman hires China for her husband.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we find a music video called “It’s a Lovely Life”. Created specifically to sell the movie on MTV, the video focuses on a suburban couple to make heavy-handed points about consumerism. It’s pretty bad. A Gallery adds 7 production elements related to the video shoot.
Aimless and pointless, Crimes of Passion offers a sorry excuse for an erotic drama. Even if I excuse its intentional campiness, it remains too dull to deserve any attention. The Blu-ray provides generally positive picture along with mediocre audio and a decent array of bonus materials. Crimes flops across the board.