Review of Bolero

Bolero (1984)
Mrs. John Derek at her finest...and dumbest.
9 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Mrs. John Derek plays a dumb and completely anachronistic character. Although she is supposed to live in the 1920s, her hair, clothes, behaviors are strictly from the 1980s. And as far as the plot goes, it's strictly porn film territory--though the film does not show enough to satisfy some of the pervs out there looking for more explicit nudity. And, for people wanting a real film with a real plot, it's a disaster as well since it is dumb and vacuous.

Mrs. Derek's character is an idiot. In the beginning of the film she strips naked and runs around for no real apparent reason. She also loves Rudolph Valentino in "The Sheik", so this spoiled rich idiot goes all the way to Morocco to lose her virginity. I loved how the film screamed "hackneyed mess" when she arrives and you hear "As Time Goes By" (the theme from "Casablanca")--it made me laugh.

When her romantic tryst with a sheik turns out to be a complete bust (with her virginity still intact), she heads to Spain to find a willing piece of beefcake. You'd think Morocco would have at least one stud willing to do this horny lady. However, Spain is also a bust at first, as the bullfighter she wants just so happens to be quite happy with his own busty wench. So, in an effort to get this man, she tries so hard to get him that she seems desperate and stupid. During these shenanigans, we get to see a naked and soapy Olivia d'Abo--who is only 15 and this is rather disturbing. I'm sure some pedos out there enjoyed this scene as well as d'Abo's horny advances. You also get to see Bo and a friend do opium because they are bored...and, once again, quite stupid!!! A bit later when it looks as if Mrs. Derek MIGHT get this Spanish stud to do her, his woman becomes angry (go figure) and threatens him by screaming repeatedly "I keeeel you!!!"--sounding a lot like Jeff Dunham's character, Ahmed the Dead Terrorist! Eventually, surprise, surprise, she and the matador have sex. While the scene is pretty hot and Mrs. Derek undulates amazingly, I did notice that there was perhaps three seconds of foreplay! Not exactly what the audience was expecting after all this build up. Following this scene, Mrs. Derek is attacked by the matador's woman, as she comes at her with a knife yelling "beeeeech!". A semi-naked Mrs. Derek and d'Abo (again, who is underage) lock her in a closet.

In a bizarre twist, the matador isn't that great a bullfighter after all, as he's gored in the crotch. Speaking for every man out there "OOOOOUUUUUCCCCHHHH!!!". That's what you get when you are the only bullfighter in Spain who refuses to hurt the bull (I kid you not--a p.c. bullfighter). Oddly, now that he's received a groinectomy, Mrs. Derek proposes to him. Considering that her only ambition throughout the film was to get laid, this seems like a very, very odd twist to say the least!! It would be like W.C. Fields marrying Cary Nation (the leader of the temperance movement). And, of course, while he's been told he'll never be able to have sex again, by the very end of the film the magical power of Mrs. Derek is able to somehow restore his manhood--though, in the interim there were a few silly surprises (such as the return of the impotent sheik and the hot but unintentionally funny final nude scene).

So what is to like about the film? Well, aside from the nudity, nothing. The dialog is among the most childish I've ever heard (yet it's a very adult movie supposedly), the characters one-dimensional and cartoon-like and the acting is terrible. While Mrs. John Derek's acting ability when it comes to sex scenes is admirable, her ability to convincingly recite her lines is pathetic and totally unbelievable. And as for d'Abo's, you really have to see it to believe it--it's THAT bad! But, considering her age, this could be forgiven. However, considering that Mrs. Derek is an adult with several screen credits already to her name, she does not have that excuse!

What I find amazing about this film are two things. First, that George Kennedy's fortunes had sunk that low that he agreed to be in this bilge. Second, that any man out there would sink as low as Mr. John Derek. Having his gorgeous wife star in this and several other sex films (like "Tarzan the Ape man") just seems disturbing--hence my referring to her as "Mrs. Derek". Was this some sort of expensive and sick form of sexual gratification--seeing his wife with other men brandished across the big screen? Pretty kinky and pretty sad and without this strange compulsion I can't imagine his wife having any career in films. I think this compulsion would have been easier and cheaper to fulfill by just filming his wife naked and prancing about for 90 minutes with no plot at all.

Truly a stupid, sad and wretched film.
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