Taglines: She uses her body the way they use power… To seduce, betray and destroy.
An investment planner who is bored with his job and his girlfriend is given the opportunity to help open a new firm in South America and accepts the offer. Once in the new country, he finds himself dealing with dictators and revolutionaries during a time of intense political upheaval, and to complicate his life further, he begins an affair with his new employer’s wife.
Love and Money, also known as Love & Money, is a 1982 American drama film produced and directed by James Toback and starring Ray Sharkey, Ornella Muti, Klaus Kinski, Armand Assante, King Vidor, William Prince, Cynthia Allison and Tom McFadden. Director of photography, Fred Schuler; edited by Dennis Hill; music by Copland and Bach; released by Paramount Pictures. Running time: 93 minutes. This film is rated R.
Film Review: Love and Money
”Love and Money,” written, produced and directed by James Toback, is about a skinny, short-fused young man named Byron Levin (Ray Sharkey) who, when the film begins, is working in Los Angeles at a boring job in one of those banks that probably spends as much money advertising toasters as it does announcing interest rates.
Byron is a good guy, you know right off, because of the gentleness with which he handles his senile old grandfather (King Vidor), his affection for his girlfriend (Susan Heldfond) who loves rare books, and for the way he defends a tall, leggy, magnificen t-looking, California-bl ond secretary against the bullying tactics of a prissy bank executive.
Byron is a good guy, but he burns with desi re for some kind of ultimate experience. You know this by the rec kless way he drives and by the way he seizes the crazy moment. When h e sees a beautiful youngwoman for the first time, he walks up to her and says something to the effect that ”if you ever touch your husb and again, or any other man, I’ll kill you.” That’s Byron’s charisma tic manner.
It so happens that the beautiful young woman, named Catherine Stockheinz (Ornella Muti), is the wife of Frederick Stockheinz (Klaus Kinski), a multi-billionaire who has just offered Byron a million dollars to do a weekend’s worth of dirty business for him. He asks Byron to go to the Latin American country of Costa Salva, whose Castro-like dictator, Lorenzo Prado, was Byron’s roommate in college. Frederick wants Byron to persuade Lorenzo to stop nationalizing Frederick’s silver mines.
”Love & Money,” which opens today at the 57th Street Playhouse, is a very strange film. Although it is packed with plot, it seems sort of skimpy, so skimpy that one suspects that somebody – either Mr. Toback or someone not so fond of Mr. Toback’s overheated mannerisms – had ruthlessly chopped the print that’s now going into release.
I wasn’t much fond of ”Fingers,” Mr. Toback’s first film as a writer-director, but that film at least had its own roaring, cockeyed intensity, whether you liked it or not. ”Love and Money,” as it stands here, looks as if the director had filmed a treatment rather than a screenplay. Instead of being intense, it just seems to have periodic fits.
When, at last, Byron successfully maneuvers Catherine to a motel for an assignation, the movie stops in the parking lot of the motel to allow the camera to swoop in drunken circles around the pair as they embrace. Once in the motel, there’s a bad moment when Byron admits that he is temporarily impotent. He asks Catherine to help him by reciting ”The Star Spangled Banner,” which she does, and he is successful.
”Love & Money” goes that way from start to finish, banalities intercut with wildly unpredictable moments that too often are unintentionally funny because there are no buildups and nothing to connect them. The film eventually does get to Costa Salva, which looks a lot like a Los Angeles suburb, where the plot becomes even dimmer and where the production money seems to have run out. When we attend a rally addressed by Costa Salva’s dictator (Armand Assante), it looks like Arbor Day in Peoria.
With the exception of Mr. Vidor, the renowned film director who died recently, who is fine as Byron’s lovable old gramps, the other actors seem either to be miscast or to be incompetent, the former, probably. Mr. Sharkey’s material is impossible, though he does manage to suggest that lurking behind the macho manner there’s a frightened little boy who wants to convince himself he’s not afraid of the dark. Mr. Kinski’s tycoon is a joke, as written, directed and played. Miss Muti’s Catherine is one of those mysterious sirens taken directly from pulp fiction, and Mr. Assante simply looks out of shape.
Love and Money (1982=
Directed by: James Toback
Starring: Ray Sharkey, Ornella Muti, Klaus Kinski, Armand Assante, King Vidor, William Prince, Cynthia Allison, Tom McFadden
Screenplay by: James Toback
Cinematography by: Fred Schuler
Film Editing by: Dennis M. Hill
Costume Design by: Shirley Cunningham, Robert Labansat
Set Decoration by: Cheryal Kearney
Art Direction by: Lee Fischer
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: February 12, 1982