on October 16, 2000
It's crude, it's shocking, it's filled with more heartbreaking scenes you could ever stand and it's classic Paul Verhoeven when he was still `De Man', way before he became `The Man'. When this film was released in Holland people were standing in endless queues in front of the Tuschinski theater in Amsterdam back in 1973 (!!!!), it caused a genuine witchhunt towards Verhoeven and every well broughtup decent citizen screamed it was a total slap in the face for human decency and family values. Why then did everybody go to see this hopeless lovestory? Basicly to see some nakedness on a white screen I guess, but there's more to it. The film is such an frightenly accurate account of a hopeless love between 2 people and told without unnessesary falseness in such a simple, naked style ( boy meets girl in the 70's, girl dies of illness in the `70, boy is alone again in the '70) that it's sometimes hard to watch. There's so much weird humour and clever camera moves (Jan `Speed'de Bont) you instantly recognize Verhoeven's style. Rutger Hauer and Monique van de Ven are giving their performances of a lifetime, as is the town of seventies Amsterdam. It's a film that gives you that feeling of `I was living in Holland at that time I wanted to be like them'. The orchestral score by Rogier Van Otterloo and Jean `Toots' Thielemans' mouthorgan are colouring this picture to heartbreaking perfection. Funny thing is, when the film is aired on TV nowadays (uncut, this is Holland you know) it still gets a number 1 top viewers audience. Make this DVD a double bill together with Betty Blue on a cold winter night!
on September 12, 2003
Paul Verhoeven's 1973 far-from-Hollywood film opens with the [physical] escapades of Erik (Rutger Hauer) a womanizing self-destructive artist. Alone in his apartment/studio, he reflects back on his life and a painful episode that he can't forget. He met Olga (Monique Van de Ven) in a car accident. They embarked on a wild [physical] affair and Erik fell in love...hard. Olga had personality quirks that confused Erik but he just wrote it off as part of her nature. They married and Olga's behavior became more disturbing until she finally retreated to her mother's and refused to see Erik. Confounded, Erik demanded to see her and still didn't understand the problem. Then Olga winds up in the hospital seriously ill and her problem is revealed to Erik's shattered disbelief. "Turkish Delight" is the name of Olga's favorite candy. He brings it to the hospital to try and get her to eat. This is a powerful, moving and , yes, erotic story beautifully done by Verhoeven and brilliantly acted by Hauer and especially Van de Ven. There is very frank nudity and [physical] scenes that threaten to push your buttons but Verhoeven is the type of director who just throws back the curtain and tells the story. You understand why Erik is the guy he is. Love and [physical attraction] are powerful drugs and death can make you extremely bitter. "Turkish Delight" was nominated as Best Foreign Launguage film in 1974 at the Oscars in Hollywood. Once seen, it is not easily forgotten. It's a very potent adult love story and a gut wrencher. Excellent DVD transfer from Anchor Bay.
on January 14, 2003
I went to see this movie with a boyfriend when we were both about eighteen - so this was nearly 24 years ago. Neither of us had a clue what we were in for. All I can say it that we both sat riveted to our seats throughout the movie and did not speak on the way home. Several days later we did speak and both of us admitted that neither of us could stop thinking about the movie, almost incessantly, it turned out. Never has any movie made a bigger impression on me or hit me more deeply or closer to where I live. Images from this movie dominated my head for hours, days, weeks, months and even years afterwards. I don't know what, if anything, I learned from it - I just know that I was obsessed with what I had witnessed on the screen, for whatever reason.
For details of the story, see the excellent reviews above. I just wanted to write about the effect that it had on me. Perhaps I should see it again, at age 41, and maybe find out what it was that so captivated me. Or perhaps I'll never be able to put it into words.
on September 17, 2006
Few days ago, I watched the documentary "Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession" (2004) about a channel that had brought the great and unavailable anywhere else films to its 100, 000 lucky subscribers in LA in 70s - 80s. While enjoying the clips from many Foreign and Independent movies that were the best part of documentary, I was able to recognize the movie that I saw many years ago in Moscow and still remember well, I could not only recall the title. I remember that the movie was Dutch, very erotic - in the raw, brutal, twisted yet beautiful and passionate way. Watching "Z Channel..." I was happy to instantly recognize "Turks fruit" (1973) aka "Turkish Delight" made by Paul Verhoeven in 1973. I checked with Netflix, the movie was available; I bumped it up in my queue and just finished watching it. My memory served me well - Verhoeven's early film is as naturalistic, earthy, brutal, erotic, humorous, poetic, poignant, and captivating as I remember it. Based on the novel by Jan Wolker, "Turkish Delight" stars young, hot, very sexy (and I mean it - VERY SEXY) Rutger Hauer as a bohemian free spirited and often cruel sculptor Eric and even younger Monique van de Van as his wife Olga, child-like yet as sensual as Eric was, "the light of his life, the fire of his loins". The film that describes their stormy relationship has become the most financially successful Holland's film that was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film and was proclaimed by Jan Wolker a "75% masterpiece".
There are not very many directors in the world that can create the atmosphere of raw sensuality as well as Verhoeven (of his Dutch period, especially). Verhoeven is known for uncompromising approach to his work, fiery temperament, and aggressive movie-making. Joe Ezsterhaus who worked with Verhoeven on two films said about him: "The guy is like his movies: brilliant, mercurial, very daring, perverse, a wonderful series of paradoxes and contradictions..." "The Turkish Delight" is all that and I love it but I can understand how its graphic sexuality, more than one disgusting and revolting scenes (but they had to be in the movie) and crude behavior may put off a lot of viewers. Be prepared, "Turkish Delight" is delightful but it is very intense and often not easy to watch.
on July 14, 2001
The Turkish Delight in the title is devoured quickly by the handful near the end of the film and reflects a delirious but short marriage between a reckless young sculptor and a beautiful childish and free spirited young rich girl. The sculptor accepts no boundaries for his appetites and takes an impish delight in upsetting the norm, but his love and kindness are boundless as well. His young bride is alternately captivated and rebellious, as his consuming passions leave no room for other plans, and sudden blackouts leave her confused and angry. The film, more than anything else, is about an uncompromising man who will not bow to fate, propriety, or to maudlin sentimentality but still loves more faithfully than most. Verhoeven does an excellent job defining the artist's moods and the loving relationship in flashbacks and with a singular angry fantasy that brackets much of the story. It is an altogether well crafted and intelligent work by an accomplished director.
on August 11, 2002
Wow! When Paul Verhoeven is on, he is really on. This film has one of those openings. Fantastic, sucks you right in, and then you find out what the film is really about. From what has been previously written about this film, suprisingly, it was not what I expected. In a film that opens with extreme violence and sex (Verhoeven staples) it quickly evolves into an interesting and insightful character study on love and death.
Eric (Rutger Hauer) is a sculpter who lives impulsively and freely until one day, on one of his impulsive adventures, he meets Olga (Monique van de Ven). It takes Eric about a minute to "convince" Olga that he loves her and their meeting ends with a bang, literally (I don't want to give too much away). There relationship goes through the normal ups and downs, oh, and there's plenty of "affection" in the relationship. The film takes some unexpected twists and turns and there are several bizarre scenes involving Olga's mother (she was great) and her family which culminate in an unusual (if not unpredictable) ending.
This film scores on many levels. The acting, the story, and the cinematography are all top notch. Rutger Hauer's character is especially engaging (I love how he molds trash into art) and he turns in one of the best performances of his career. What really sets Turkish Delight apart from other films though is Verhoeven's willingness to go to the extreme. The graphicness of his films (i.e. violence, sex) is something he has fought the censors and the critics on his whole career. But with good reason, it makes his films more interesting and it sets them apart from conventional cinema. He wants to show it all, and while some of his American films may have been graphic or risque, they are tame compared to Turkish Delight. He held nothing back as a filmmaker on this one.
I can understand why this film ruffled some feathers when it was released in 1973. Somewhere around this time Pauline Kael was writing her famous article for the New Yorker exclaiming Last Tango in Paris as a revolutionary film and Turkish Delight would certainly fall into the same catagory as it. However I think it is even more provocative (in terms of the sex scenes) than Last Tango. Definitely not what I was expecting, but a very good film regardless.
on January 5, 2004
Ranks as one of Verhoeven's best films with hypnotic and electrifying performances by Monique Van De Ven and Rutger Hauer. I was completely blown away by the images in this film and its frank honesty. This is a must see film that is easily of the best love stories ever captured on celluloid.
There are many wonderfully descriptive reviews to light the path to this enjoyable film. They are all true--faults and accolades. Hauer fans worldwide should enjoy this DVD.
Initially, the corny, loud 70s music will have you smiling and wondering what you are in for. Hauer's character seems to be a jerk, but he's naked and beautiful. Need I say more. This man is so broad that he appears short! He's 6'2", all man, (so) intoxicating to behold, and naked--through much of the film. His Nordic good looks, thick, defined body, and clear, piercing blue eyes make it hard to care what is going on in the movie.
I won't say it's the best storyline or acting, but once you get into the meat of the film the intensity grabs you. Hauer's character's love for his wife is all-consumming. As a creative person, his feelings and expression are so passionate that his wife is driven away. Of course, she's tapped too.
The love and depth of emotions he feels for her almost kill him when she leaves. But, his love never dies, and he is there when she needs him...even when she is insensible to her needs or his love any longer.
To know how that feels--that depth--when someone is like an opiate to you, is to share Hauer's character's initial joy and subsequent pain; his longing turned to crazed anger and debauchery; and his desire to survive.
All in all, worth watching more than once. Did I mention he's naked? Not a little skin...totally naked and from different angles.
Rutger is one of my favorite actors, and even now as an older gentleman I find him quite handsome, dignified, and wonderful. Hearing his native tongue adds to the film. He is also fluent in German (so I've read).
on November 10, 2011
Of all Verhoeven's Dutch films before he came to America and made such classics as Robocop, Basic Instinct, and Total Recall, this film is among my favorite of his along with Katie Tippel and The Fourth Man.
Turkish Delight is an ambiguous title for this film since the film can be best described as the bittersweet dream of a rebelious sculptor's discovery of perfection in a young vivacious redhead (Monique van de ven) and inevitable discovery that not all things are what they seem to be on the surface. The initial scenes of the film are brutal, culminating in a horrible crime, then in flashback, we are taken through the events that lead up to the crime so as to understand its motivation and ultimately its perpetrator.
This is a very entertaining film and an excellent primer for those unfamiliar with foreign films. Very funny at times, though often raunchy, and, as common in Verhoeven's Dutch film offerings, there are no special efforts to cover up male and female private areas. When discussions come up about the greatest actors, Hauer's name should be among them.
on January 18, 2009
The story is so good and the acting so superior that the second half becomes much more than just an exploitation film...
It begins with Eric, a sculptor and chronic woman-chaser, whose wife is dying of a brain tumor...
Eric is so successful with the ladies that he begins collecting their hair, attaching it into his scrapbook... He comes across a striking redhead named Olga, whom he brutally seduces in the car... Instead of cutting her hair, he falls in love with her and chases her all over Holland...
The treatment of sex is stimulating and humorous... It is not graphic, but the performers are quite active and the erotic encounters are exceptionally realistic...
It moves quickly from reality to sexual fantasies combined with daydreams of killing, blood, and vengeance... Despite these outrageous displays, the movie is so full of life and powerful acting that it is more fascinating than repelling...