Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Crimes of Passion (1984)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Crimes of Passion (1984)

In British director Ken Russell's neon-lit, dark, 'guilty pleasure' cult tale and erotic thriller - with the tagline: "Her name is China Blue. She is watched. She is worshipped. And, she must remain a mystery":

  • in the film's opening sequence, 30 year-old home electronics shop owner Bobby Grady (John Laughlin), with his own store (Grady Home Electronics), attended a group sex-therapy session for the first time where he claimed, unlike the other attendees, that he had been happily married for 11 years and had two children with his wife Amy (Annie Potts) and had no hang-ups; he asked himself: "What the hell am I doing here?"; however after some prodding, he admitted he had a dull and failed marriage and that his wife was frigid; he blamed a loss of sexual interest: "I am not the one who complains how tired I am every night. Getting her to make love is like asking her to run the Boston Marathon, and then those times that we actually do go through with it, I don't know whether to embrace her or embalm her"
  • the main protagonist was a moonlighting, kinky, street-walking, pill-popping LA prostitute named China Blue (Kathleen Turner); China Blue's entrance in the film began with a closeup of her face, as the camera slowly pulled back, while she was servicing her first male client - a man named Carl (John G. Scanlon) who was kneeling between her spread-eagled legs. He insisted that she role-play for him a beauty pageant contestant named Miss Liberty 1984 - and then euphemistically, he told about how she play her "instrument" (a flute) and could also blow his "instrument" - she tantalized him with her sex-talk while unzipping his pants: "First I unzip the case, and take out the instrument very carefully. I'm very gentle. And then I run my little hand all over it. Up and down, and up and down. And then I-I fondle it so softly, so softly. Hmm, I love the look of it. Oh, I love the feel of it, so smooth and firm. Oh, I love to wrap my fingers around it and tenderly caress it. Well, I like to lift it to my mouth and wrap my lips around it. And then I just wait for that sweet, sweet music to come pourin' out."
Schizophrenic Reverend Peter Shayne (Anthony Perkins):
Watching Peep Show Stripper, Then Preaching About Sin on the Sidewalk
  • the film's other central character was initially observed watching a red-light district peep-show striptease (with other men pleasuring themselves while peering through rectangular slits at the stripper (Janice Renney)) while also snorting amyl-nitrate - he was deranged, perversely psychotic, self-proclaimed preacher Reverend Peter Shayne (Anthony Perkins); when he wasn't watching a strip show (and imagining a naked dancer dead), he was preaching sermons on his soap-box outside about how the wicked would be punished: "Dear God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance..."
  • China Blue plied her fleshy wares in a grungy downtown Los Angeles area filled with XXX adult stores, bars, live nude and peep shows; wearing a platinum wig and a light-blue silky dress; she came up to the Reverend who announced: "I've been sent by the Lord to save you and to rid the earth of that plague. I am his holy messenger... Save your soul, whore"
  • she frequented the Paradise Isle Hotel for tricks, where her second client had a sexual fetish of pretending to stalk and attack her before "raping" her in her room in the hotel; during sex, she imagined Japanese erotic art prints or other exaggerated drawings of enlarged male genitals

One Client's 'Chase and Rape' Fetish

During Sex, China Blue Imagined Japanese Erotic Art
  • when Bobby returned home late from work, his wife Amy complained about their dire financial situation; to earn extra funds, Bobby was hired to moonlight as a part-time PI and nighttime-surveillance security expert (on top of his day job at the electronics store); he secured work for a ladies' sportswear company owner named Lou Bateman (Norman Burton); one of Bateman's employees was Joanna Crane - China Blue's alter-ego; Joanna was working during the day as a prim but workaholic sporting fashion designer for Bateman's company for the previous two years, but was also secretly moonlighting as a prostitute; it was suspected that she was in the business of selling patented design patterns and secrets to Bateman's competition, although she was a compulsive, ambitious and hard-working employee; the job was described to him: ("Follow her - where she goes at night, what she does...She must be hiding something")
  • during his first night of surveillance, Grady followed Joanna after work from her apartment home in a taxi to the downtown Paradise Isle Hotel, where she transformed into her second profession as a prostitute; he videotaped her and watched as she was again accosted by the deranged Reverend who invited himself up to her "Holy of Holies" room, where he ranted that he was her Savior: "I deal in truth. I'm bringing you something greater than a hard-on"; she proposed that he have sex with her and explained how her profession completely fulfilled all of her clients' fantasies: "This is a fantasy business, Reverend. You can have any truth you want....Why don't you f--k me? That'll save me...What disease? I'm healthy as a horse. I'm fit as a fiddle and ready for cock...I'm Cinderella, Cleopatra, Goldie Hawn, Eva Braun, I'm Little Miss Muffin, I'm Pocahontas, I'm whoever you want me to be, Reverend"; he rejected her repeated requests to have sex ("My purpose here is strictly humanitarian....To make you see through the bulls--t"); Grady was on the outer fire-escape and listened in on their conversation
  • China Blue grabbed for his black doctor's-styled bag and was shocked to discover that it contained sex toys ("the devil's playthings") - including a rubber breast-shaped pacifier, an artificial foam-rubber vagina, a battery-operated auto-suck mechanism, a red 'beat-me, eat-me' licorice whip, and a chrome-steel, razor-tipped, titanium vibrating dildo (dubbed "Superman") - she was flabbergasted: "What the hell? Is this a cruise missile or a Pershing? What are you going to do, f--k someone to death?" [Her question was a prophetic foreshadowing.] As he left, he promised: "All you need to know about me is that I intend to save you...Trust me. I'll free you"
  • when China Blue left the room, Grady entered and snooped around in drawers and the closet and found only sex-related items (zippered panties, handcuffs, and her book of erotic Japanese artwork, and an X-rated adult video, etc.), and no evidence that Joanna was selling design secrets; in fact, another employee named Phil Chambers (Thomas Murphy) confessed to selling the patterns
Grady's First Trick with China Blue


Silhouettes Behind a Gauzy Curtain
  • Grady visited her as a client and entered into an obsessive, erotic relationship with her during Grady's first intense sexual encounter (for $50) with China Blue, she fantasy role-played as a flight attendant: "Good evening. Welcome to China Blue Airlines Flight 69, non-stop service to Paradise. We'll be taking off shortly. I'll be unbuckling your belt and seeing that big bird rise and rise, finally settling into the comfort only this wide body can provide. We're here to serve you. Please remember that although we may run out of Pan Am coffee, we'll never run out of T-W-A-Tea." She sucked on his bare toe and then had sexual intercourse with him in multiple positions (viewed as silhouettes behind a gauzy curtain), while the Reverend peeped on them through a peep-hole from an adjoining room that he had rented
  • after sex with Grady, China Blue was reluctant to admit her true affection for him, but didn't want an attached relationship and claimed she had only been play-acting with him: ("There are three things you have to know to make it as a 50-buck hooker. You have to act, you have to f--k and you have to know how to count to 50. You're lucky. You've seen all three"); she realized that Grady had a lot of emotional baggage as a family man and their contacts would put him at jeopardy with his wife
  • next, the annoying and misguided Reverend appeared in her hotel room with a $50 dollar bill for sex; she dressed up in a nun's outfit (singing "Onward Christian Soldiers") to taunt his hypocritical, sham game of being 'self-righteous' with a desire to save her; she shouted out that she was cured and "free at last" as condemnation for his hypocrisy; she accused the Reverend of being full of flowery words with no manly substance: ("A man of words! He makes up in diction what he lacks in dick!") and finally threw him out: ("Take your goddamn truth and get outta here!"); outside the hotel, Grady intervened when he saw the Reverend bullying China Blue, but was knocked down; she sincerely thanked Grady for the help, but advised: "Now, go on home to your wife"
  • China Blue was involved in a short threesome in a limousine with two upper-class snobs Claudia (Louise Sorel and Arthur (John Rose) before demanding to be dropped off on a curbside; meanwhile, the psychotic Reverend simulated the killing of a peep-show stripper by stabbing a full-sized blow-up doll with his giant dildo in his rented room
  • due to continuing issues between Grady and his wife over their intimate sex life, Grady soon moved out and they officially separated; he sought the advice of Joanna at her apartment - where she became extremely uncomfortable about being unmasked with all her secrets and shortcomings ("I'm never horny here"); she had obvious friendship issues in her real-life and preferred her alter-ego China Blue, although she slowly softened to the idea of being friends with him
  • one night late at work, the Reverend appeared during a freight elevator ride next to Joanna, prefaced by his vibrating giant dildo; he fondled his sex-toy as he babbled about saving her: ("No more deceptions, Joanna. I know who you are. We're the same, don't you see? The same rage. The same fear. We hurt the same. We escape the same. But we don't have to anymore. We have a chance, both of us, together...I want to love and care and need just like you do. We could help each other. We don't have to grow old alone"); she fled from him as he promised to return
  • to seek satisfaction elsewhere, China Blue engaged in dominatrix S & M scene with a policeman (Randall Brady) who was handcuffed to a bed and then aggressively sodomized with his own nightstick during intercourse, as he bled from his restrained wrists and from her spiked stiletto heels [Note: the unrated-uncensored video version contained non-theatrical (semi-pornographic) extras and deleted scenes - including a scene (deleted from some versions to avoid an X-rating)]; next door, the Reverend stroked his dildo and watched inside a candle-lit religious shrine he had erected to China Blue
China Blue's S&M Sex Scene (Often Edited) with Policeman
  • during another encounter with Joanna in her apartment late at night, Grady spoke about how he wanted her to "grow up" and have a real relationship with him; she explained her deepest fears about real-life romance: ("It's so hard, Bobby. No man's ever given me that kind of faith before, that kind of respect. That hotel is the safest place in the world. I can do anything there. I can be anything I can dream of, because it's not me"); he proposed making love: ("What we did in that hotel room we can do here") while outside, the Reverend sat in the bushes and prayed for God's punishment upon the sinners: "O God to whom vengeance belongs, how long shall the wicked triumph?"; however, shortly later, Joanna felt conflicted about breaking up Grady's marriage, and how their relationship might not work out either: "Maybe in a month or so, you'll start feeling guilty about leaving the kids. Maybe I'll start feeling crowded and trapped"
  • in the startling conclusion with a twist, the Reverend violently assaulted Joanna inside her apartment for one "final" game to free her forever; his excuse was that he desired to save her: "The Reverend's gonna save you tonight once and for all...I'm a messenger of God and I only want to heal you...One more game, the final one, the one that will free you forever. Do I have your trust? Because we can only play if I have your trust"; while wielding his razor-tipped dildo to be used to exorcise her demons', he spoke about his calling: "My calling is the ultimate salvation, and its ends are sacrosanct. With my ecclesiastic gift, plus the grace of God, and a little help from Superman here, I shall bestow upon you the supreme humanitarian blessing and give you your freedom. You, uh, you do want that, don't you? I knew you would...My issue has always been your salvation"; he tied her down on her drafting table, and played demented songs on a piano
  • it appeared that China Blue would be his victim - stabbed by his "Superman" dildo: "I looked at you and I saw myself. I saw the same escape, the same malignancy. But I know the cure and I know how desperately you need it. And only I can give it to you"
  • but then surprisingly, they reversed roles and she was released; she approached him with the dildo as he sunk to his knees in a prayful position and pleaded to be killed: "...Kill me Joanna, give my life value. Give me something to die for. Save me. You are me! One of us has to die so the other can live. Kill me, you worthless c--t. I'm all the men who ever hurt you, who made you feel like s--t, who stole your self-respect and turned you into China Blue. Kill me! Release the rage. Get it out. Get even!"
  • however, he grabbed her wrist and the roles switched again: "Too late!" He forced her to strip ("Strip, bitch!"), and ordered her to put on her blue dress; at that same moment, Grady arrived and heard a scuffle inside; he burst through the door to save Joanna; he watched as the character wearing China Blue's dress (presumably Joanna) was stabbed in the back by the razor-tipped dildo/vibrator (dubbed "Superman"); the stabbed individual rose up and threatened to attack Grady with a pair of sharp scissors
  • a role reversal and costume twist were revealed -- the stabbed Reverend was wearing the China Blue dress and a wig, while she was wearing his Reverend's outfit; Joanna had saved Grady from being assaulted by stabbing the Reverend in the back with his own "Superman" dildo - his last parting words were: "Goodbye, China Blue"
  • the film ended with Grady again attending the marital therapy group where he admitted he had separated from his wife and was in a new relationship with Joanna: "I'm here tonight because I wanted to finally start telling the truth. My wife and I, we have split up for good. That's right. Me, the Boy Scout. I just never had the guts to admit the truth, that Amy and I had just stopped loving each other. There's nobody to blame. That's just what happened. Then, I met this woman, Joanna. She saved my life. We're together now. I'm not sure if it's gonna work out. We don't have a, a whole hell of a lot in common, other than the fact that, that we both need help - and each other. The thing, you see, that scared me the most during my marriage was just admitting that I was scared and letting Amy down. Well, I can't pretend anymore. I was scared s--tless to come back here. I told Joanna. And she took me in her arms and she said, 'It's OK to be scared.' I felt stronger and freer and more like a man than I've ever felt before in my life. Then we f--ked our brains out."

Bobby Grady (John Laughlin) In Group Therapy Session

Bobby's Wife Amy (Annie Potts)

China Blue (Kathleen Turner) With Male Client Carl, Pretending to be Miss Liberty 1984

Streetwalker China Blue By Night

In Front of Paradise Isle Hotel

China Blue Proposing Sex With the Reverend as a Paying Customer: "I'm as healthy as a horse..."

The Reverend's Dildo: "Is this a Cruise Missile or a Pershing?"

China Blue With the Reverend in a Nun's Outfit

Botched Limousine Threesome

Grady Seeking Comfort From Joanna at Her Apartment - Causing Her Discomfort

The Reverend Stalking Joanna at Her Workplace with His Giant Dildo

Grady Attempting to Coax Joanna Out of Her Shell

Twisting Ending

Threatening Joanna With His Dildo

Joanna Tied Down on the Drafting Table in Her Apartment

A Reversal: China Blue Approaching the Reverend from Behind to Kill Him

The Stabbed Reverend, Dressed in China Blue's Outfit, Attacking Grady With a Pair of Scissors

The Death of the Reverend ("Goodbye, China Blue")

Grady's Concluding Confession to Therapy Group


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