[Originally published in Movietone News 52, October 1976]
A well-researched case history would probably be more relevant than a conventional review in determining Crime and Passion’s just place in the annals of film. Films like this one come to us in such a clearly piecemeal condition that it’s difficult to envision them as anything but foredoomed second-feature material. A contingency-be-damned formalist might insist on trying to find a lucid and traceable progression from the opening overheads of a bright-colored sportscar careening dangerously through city traffic to the final, emotionally apt shot of a quasi-Mabusian figure literally frozen in contemplation of a distant fairy-tale castle where two lovers half-playfully, half-dolefully wait for his Death to come claim them. If such an analysis be possible, I’ll read it with gratitude. Meanwhile, Crime and Passion seems typical of off-the-wall projects that somehow ricochet out of control the moment they hit their locations on the Continent (in this case, Austria), so that, after a while, no one can quite remember when they come on set any given day just what, ultimately, they wanted their movie to do or be about, or just how the particular scene at hand was supposed to slant them toward that objective.