[box cover]

Lipstick

Lipstick (1976) was seen as a career-killer for Margaux Hemingway. The older sister of Mariel and granddaughter of Ernest, the picture was meant to launch Marguax onto the big screen, but her next project was the Italian-financed Killer Fish three years later. With it, Marguax joined the ranks of other Hollywood also-rans and never-weres like Tisa Farrow, and also set the tone for the rest of her acting career. She stars as cover-model Chris McCormick, who's fabulous mug graces all sorts of fashion magazines, and who is under contract as the main girl in a new lipstick campaign. Sister Kathy (Mariel Hemingway) knows a schoolteacher Gordon Stuart (Chris Sarandon) who wants to play Chris some of his music, hoping she might be able to help his career. Unable to listen during a fashion shoot, Chris invites Gordon to come her place. But when that invitation is taken, Stuart finds Chris scantily clad and easily distracted from his art. The final straw is when she leaves the room to take a call while his music is playing, making the anger build inside Gordon to the point that he feels the need to rape her brutally (and the film doesn't shy away from showing this). It's at this point the movie becomes a courtroom drama as Carla Bondi (Anne Bancroft) represents Chris and presents the hard truths about going to trial on a rape case, telling Chris that only two out of every 100 rapists brought to trial are convicted. If Lipstick were to end with the litigious aspects of the film, it might just be slightly offensive and only moderately bad. But a last-act twist (which is a pretty big spoiler) changes the whole tone of the movie, ending with Gordon raping Kathy, only for Chris to then go a gunning for Gordon — turning the enterprise into a popular (at the time) revenge flick at the cost of coherency. It's then that Lipstick implodes. Directed by TV veteran Lamont Johnson, Hemingway exudes the charisma of a high school actress thrust into the spotlight, over-emoting in television closeups, while Sarandon does his best but can't quite carry his nice guy-turned-rapist. Paramount presents the film in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) and monaural 2.0 audio in English and French. Keep-case.
—DSH



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