IMDb > The Honeymoon Killers (1970)
The Honeymoon Killers
Quicklinks
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
Overview
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guide
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
Promotional
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

The Honeymoon Killers (1970) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 29 | slideshow)

Overview

User Rating:
7.1/10   3,358 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
Popularity: ?
Down 7% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writer:
Leonard Kastle (written by)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Honeymoon Killers on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
16 October 1970 (Italy) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
One of the most bizarre episodes in the annals of American Crime. See more »
Plot:
An obese, embittered nurse doesn't mind if her toupee-wearing boyfriend romances and fleeces other women, as long as he takes her along on his con jobs. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Realistic cult classic still proves a killer.. See more (60 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Shirley Stoler ... Martha Beck

Tony Lo Bianco ... Ray Fernandez
Mary Jane Higby ... Janet Fay

Doris Roberts ... Bunny
Kip McArdle ... Delphine Downing

Marilyn Chris ... Myrtle Young
Dortha Duckworth ... Mrs. Beck - Martha's Mother

Barbara Cason ... Evelyn Long
Ann Harris ... Doris
Mary Breen ... Rainelle Downing

Elsa Raven ... Matron
Mary Engel ... Lucy
Guy Sorel ... Mr. Dranoff
Michael Haley ... Jackson (as Mike Haley)
Diane Asselin ... Severns
William Adams ... Justice of the Peace (as Col. William Adams)
Eleanor Adams ... Mrs. Hand

Directed by
Leonard Kastle 
Donald Volkman (uncredited)
 
Writing credits
Leonard Kastle (written by)

Produced by
Paul Asselin .... associate producer
Warren Steibel .... producer
 
Cinematography by
Oliver Wood (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Richard Brophy 
Stanley Warnow  (as Stan Warnow)
 
Production Management
Michael Haley .... production manager (as Mike Haley)
 
Sound Department
Tom Dillinger .... sound mixer
Fred Kamiel .... sound
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Richard Berger .... assistant camera
Mike Grover .... lighting assistant
Richard Tenneson .... lighting assistant
Spencer Trova .... camera assistant
Bobby Vercruse .... head gaffer (as Robert Veracruse)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Martha Fogg .... wardrobe
 
Editorial Department
Tikki Goldberg .... assistant editor
Janet Lauretano .... assistant editor
 
Other crew
Diane Asselin .... script girl
John Haley .... production assistant
Warren Steibel .... presenter
Paul Sweeney .... assistant to producer
 
Crew believed to be complete


Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"The Honeymoon Killers" - Canada (English title) (imdb display title)
"The Lonely Hearts Killers" -
"Lua de Mel de Assassinos" - Brazil (imdb display title), Portugal
"Убийцы медового месяца" - Soviet Union (Russian title)
"Amantes sanguinarios" - Mexico
"Brudedrab" - Denmark (imdb display title)
"Hanemûn Kirâzu" - Japan (imdb display title)
"I killers della luna di miele" - Italy
"Kuherruskuukausimurhaajat" - Finland
"Les tueurs de la lune de miel" - France
"Los asesinos de la luna de miel" - Spain
"Paranoikoi dolofonoi" - Greece (reissue title)
"The Honeymoon Killers" - Greece
"Ucigasii din luna de miere" - Romania (literal title)
See more »
Runtime:
108 min | USA:115 min (original version)
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Australia:M (re-rating) (1989) | Australia:RC (original rating) (1971-1989) | Finland:K-18 (cut) (1971) | Finland:(Banned) (uncut) (1971) | France:16 | Germany:16 (re-rating) (uncut) | Italy:VM18 | Norway:16 (1971) | Singapore:PG | UK:18 | UK:X (original rating) | USA:R (certificate #22264) | West Germany:18 (original rating) (cut)
Company:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Originally to be directed by Martin Scorsese, but he was replaced after a week of shooting due to creative differences by Donald Volkman who was subsequently replaced by Leonard Kastle. Scorsese was fired because he was filming every scene in master shots and not shooting close-ups or other coverage, making the film impossible to edit. According to Kastle's interview with the Criterion collection, the ultimate moment that caused Scorsese's firing was trying to get close-up on a coffee-cup lit perfectly for the intended tone.See more »
Goofs:
Anachronisms: A copy of the album "Whipped Cream & Other Delights" by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass is clearly visible in Martha's apartment. The album was released in 1965, while the movie takes place prior to 1951, according to the message at the end.See more »
Quotes:
Martha Beck:Mama, I'm not your little girl!See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Ban the Sadist Videos! Part 2 (2006) (V)See more »
Soundtrack:
Symphonies Nos. 5, 6 & 9See more »

FAQ

How much of the film is true?
See more »
26 out of 48 people found the following review useful.
Realistic cult classic still proves a killer.., 30 May 2004
Author: FilmFlaneur from London

When fledgling director Martin Scorsese was removed from his first project after spending too much time on master shots, the film's scriptwriter, sometime opera composer Leonard Kastle eventually stepped into the breach. Like Howard Hawks before him, who had made Rio Bravo (1959) as a reaction against the perceived moral falsities of High Noon (1952), Kastle had also written his screenplay as a riposte to an earlier film. After seeing Bonnie And Clyde (1967), he felt that the glamorous crime duo in Penn's film bore little resemblance to reality. For his own treatment he settled on another notorious pairing from the annals of American crime: that of Martha Beck and Raymond Fernandez, the 1940s' slayers dubbed by contemporary tabloids as 'The Lonely Hearts Killers', who met their due judicial end in San Quentin in 1951.

The Honeymoon Killers, as his film was finally called, is an account of Beck and Fernandez and their growing relationship during their notorious murder spree. Fernandez was a con man who preyed on spinsters, promising matrimony and then absconding with their savings. Once linked with Beck, his activities took a fatal turn and matters were complicated by their growing attachment. In fact, Kastle originally intended his film to be called 'Dear Martha', taking as its centre Martha's emotional engagement with her lover, rather than the cold facts of their crimes. It was the producers who ultimately opted for the more lurid title in an attempt to exploit the likely marquee appeal. In some ways it is apt, as we see Ray and Martha (introduced as his 'sister') meet and exploit several vulnerable women or discussing marriage with them before despatching with increasing levels of callousness, either before or after the event. Despite some post-production tinkering by the producers, The Honeymoon Killers remains a love story at heart. That's not to say that the film is not driven by the events that took place, but in Kastle's interpretation the victim's deaths are caused just as much by Martha's jealousies, and her impatience with sharing her lover, as they are by financial greed. Ultimately this is her story and it she who brings it to a fitting close.

From this distance the film actually seems related more to In Cold Blood (1967), Richard Brooks' adaptation of Capote's novel, than to Penn's masterpiece of the same year. The chief protagonists of the former, Perry Smith and Dick Hickok, are on a similar path of self-reliance and destruction. One can even draw a parallel between Perry's addiction to aspirin and Martha's love of chocolate and romance magazines. Kastle's stark black and white photography and concentration on the criminous principals gives the same air of precise, unglamorous re-enactment that's entirely missing in the glossier Beatty and Dunaway vehicle. Whether through the uncertainties of first-time direction or conscious artistic decision, his film has a rough edge, a grainy quality in which actors are thrown into relief by stark lighting and shadow. Its natural interiors and the use of off-screen space give it a chilling near-documentary feel that ensures its cult status remains intact down the years.

At the centre of the film is deadly Martha Beck, the overweight nurse - an outstanding performance by Shirley Stoler. This was Stoler's screen debut and she was hard put to regain such memorability again on screen. She went on to appear next in Klute (1971) and in such films as The Deer Hunter (1978), but the only other time she had such a devastating impact on film was probably in Wertmuller's Seven Beauties (aka: Pasqualino Settebellezze, 1976), where her intimidating bulk was also put to good use, this time in a concentration camp setting. Her co-star Tony Lo Bianco, playing the part of the wily Ray with lightness and distinction, appeared in another cult item: Larry Cohen's God Told Me To (aka: Demon, 1976), but has done little else of note. Like Stoler, this is hour of glory.

Ray is the confidence trickster who, in his regular fashion, initially attempts to ensnare lonely nurse Martha, at the start of the film. Reprimanding two ward juniors at the beginning she says, "I don't care what you do outside the hospital, but in here you're as bad as ammonia and chlorine!" Such comments are ironic given the explosive combination of Martha and Ray to come, a duo that, once joined are as deadly as Bonnie and Clyde, or Smith and Hickok. Her opening words are also echoed in Ray's later, and repeated, views on females who prove an obstruction: "I don't care what you do, just get rid of her!"

When the film was released it was not immediately recognised as the achievement it is (Pauline Kael, said "It's such a terrible movie, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone"). Other critics were more favourable however, and audiences really sat up when François Truffaut thereupon saw it and named it his favourite American film. Some have seen some particular resemblances to the work of the French director in Kastle's and certainly there's a certain Nouvelle Vague, improvisatory air (his use of Mahler for instance recalls Godard's cut-up music scores). Elsewhere however Kastle shows real independence and flair as a director, so much so that one regrets that it is his only film: Ray's 'rumba into romance' for instance, as he approaches Martha for the first time, the con man's face sliding lasciviously through the frame. Or in the use of space, where Martha's size is often enclosed uncomfortably with Ray and/or their prey, suggesting the claustrophobia of killing. Most of all is the director's staging of cold murder - shown not neat and tidy, as is (still) the usual Hollywood practice, but prolonged and troublesome as victims struggle, rather in the way that Hitchcock had presaged in Torn Curtain's gas stove sequence in 1966.

The 1996 Spanish production Profundo Carmesi covers the same ground as does Kastle's, but with its strengths the present film remains the definitive account, and the Region 1 DVD release includes an informative half-hour interview with the director. The less expensive Region 2 disc excludes this valuable extra, but retains the same excellent widescreen transfer, even if the audio elements on both editions remain in some need of digital restoration. Oddly enough, the awkward sound adds to the scary immediacy of it all. Other than that, there's the trailer that, for once, tells the truth: "See The Honeymoon Killers and just try to forget!"

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (60 total) »

Recommendations

If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
Profundo carmesí Freeway Bound by Honor Heavenly Creatures The Onion Field
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Crime section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.