Deep Crimson


1h 54m 1996

Brief Synopsis

Set in 1949 in the northern Mexican state of Sonora and based on the infamous "Lonely Hearts" murder case, a story which revolves around the unlikely couple formed by Nicolas Estrella, a studied balding gigolo, and Coral Fabre, an overweight nurse, who join forces to exploit old and lonely widows and spinsters. But their plans go awry as Coral can't stand to watch her lover in the arms of other women and starts murdering the intended victims in fits of jealousy.

Film Details

Also Known As
Carmin Profond, Profundo Carmesi
Genre
Comedy
Crime
Dark Comedy
Drama
Foreign
Period
Romance
Release Date
1996
Production Company
Mk2 International; Televisi=n Espa±ola (TVE); Tve; Wanda Visión S.A.
Distribution Company
New Yorker Films; Lucky Red; Metro Tartan Distributors; New Yorker Films; New Yorker Films
Location
Sonora, Mexico

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 54m

Synopsis

Set in 1949 in the northern Mexican state of Sonora and based on the infamous "Lonely Hearts" murder case, the story revolves around the unlikely couple formed by Nicolas Estrella, a studied balding gigolo, and Coral Fabre, an overweight nurse, who join forces to exploit old, lonely widows and spinsters. But their plans go awry when Coral can't stand to watch her lover in the arms of other women and starts murdering the intended victims in fits of jealousy.

Film Details

Also Known As
Carmin Profond, Profundo Carmesi
Genre
Comedy
Crime
Dark Comedy
Drama
Foreign
Period
Romance
Release Date
1996
Production Company
Mk2 International; Televisi=n Espa±ola (TVE); Tve; Wanda Visión S.A.
Distribution Company
New Yorker Films; Lucky Red; Metro Tartan Distributors; New Yorker Films; New Yorker Films
Location
Sonora, Mexico

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 54m

Articles

Deep Crimson


Arturo Ripstein's Mexican remake of The Honeymoon Killers neatly transposes its true crime story to a new country while returning the events to their 1940s timeframe. Regina Orozco and Daniel Giménez Cacho are excellent as two thoroughly repulsive human beings, but standoffish writing and direction restrict our involvement with the horrible happenings.

Synopsis: Overweight, incompetent nurse and mother Coral Fabre (Regina Orozco) responds to a lonely hearts add hoping to find a mate like Charles Boyer. Instead she gets Nicolás Estrella (Daniel Giménez Cacho), a slick gigolo who steals from women and keeps a file of hot prospects. Coral ditches her crying children at a convent orphanage and forces herself on Nicolás; when he discovers that Coral is willing to back him up in his crooked life he returns her love. Even though Coral pretends to be Nicolás' sister to keep up his predatory scam, it doesn't work out. Her insatiable jealousy brings the truth out into the open again and again, leading to horrible murders and a sorry end.

Deep Crimson is a close remake of the 1970 Leonard Kastle film and not a return to the original criminal case. Story alterations are mostly superficial. The gigolo hero pretends to be Castilian Spanish to impress his female victims, and in place of a more detailed character he's given a fevered fixation over his toupée.

The film puts the lion's share of the blame on the Regina Orozco's character Coral. Looking like a malignant Anna Magnani, Coral is much more repulsive than the woman in the first movie. This overweight nymphomaniac is a terrible nurse with bad breath and body odor ("It's from working with cadavers!") who also abuses her adorable young children. From a Latin point of view her last motherly offense is especially damning. When Nicolás uses her kids as an excuse to break off their relationship, Coral abandons them without a second thought.

The unholy pair criss-cross the desert in an old sedan, seeking lonely widows to victimize. It's no surprise when each attempted fleecing ends up in a messy murder. Nicolás is more concerned about losing his hairpiece and cowers in the corner while Coral finishes off their victims. One is a shameless hussy and the next a clueless beata hiding her impure thoughts behind religious sentiments. Neither are necessarily bad people but in this sleazy context they're entirely unappetizing.

Arturo Ripstein shows his anti-clerical viewpoint by introducing another woman, an ex-Anarchist from Spain who distrusts church talk and immediately sees through the couple. She's given the door, but not before we remember Ripstein's 1974 The Holy Office, a harrowing tale of Mexican Jews rounded up by witch hunters and tortured in the name of the church.

In a conservative Latin context, man-crazy floozies and religious zealots aren't given much respect. The only victim we're meant to side with is the last, a hard-working beauty with an adorable daughter. She's unfortunately just as trusting as the others, and Coral's jealousy is more out of control than ever.

Ripstein's choice of filming in unbroken masters distances us from his victims, a gambit that tends to mute the drama. The film is realistic and consistent in its outlook, but can't match the rich characters of The Honeymoon Killers.

**(Spoiler)

For its bleak finish, Deep Crimson offers a sobering look at rural Mexican justice circa 1940. The local police chief sees what Nicolás and Coral have done, hears their confessions and unceremoniously shoots them without a trial. Nicolás' main concern at the end is whether or not the cop will let him wear his toupée.

The director and his stars have busy careers. Daniel Giménez Cacho was in Cronos and played a priest in Pedro Almodóvar's Bad Education. Regina Orozco had high visibility in the cult movies Perdita Durango and Santitos. Victim Marisa Paredes went on to star in Almodóvar's All About My Mother.

Home Vision Entertainment's DVD of Deep Crimson can boast a brilliant enhanced transfer that makes the most of the film's colorful photography. The package art looks like a classic pulp paperback cover. A French trailer and a helpful liner essay from Jorge Ruffinelli are provided as extras.

For more information about Deep Crimson, visit Home Vision Entertainment. To order Deep Crimson, go to TCM Shopping.

By Glenn Erickson
Deep Crimson

Deep Crimson

Arturo Ripstein's Mexican remake of The Honeymoon Killers neatly transposes its true crime story to a new country while returning the events to their 1940s timeframe. Regina Orozco and Daniel Giménez Cacho are excellent as two thoroughly repulsive human beings, but standoffish writing and direction restrict our involvement with the horrible happenings. Synopsis: Overweight, incompetent nurse and mother Coral Fabre (Regina Orozco) responds to a lonely hearts add hoping to find a mate like Charles Boyer. Instead she gets Nicolás Estrella (Daniel Giménez Cacho), a slick gigolo who steals from women and keeps a file of hot prospects. Coral ditches her crying children at a convent orphanage and forces herself on Nicolás; when he discovers that Coral is willing to back him up in his crooked life he returns her love. Even though Coral pretends to be Nicolás' sister to keep up his predatory scam, it doesn't work out. Her insatiable jealousy brings the truth out into the open again and again, leading to horrible murders and a sorry end. Deep Crimson is a close remake of the 1970 Leonard Kastle film and not a return to the original criminal case. Story alterations are mostly superficial. The gigolo hero pretends to be Castilian Spanish to impress his female victims, and in place of a more detailed character he's given a fevered fixation over his toupée. The film puts the lion's share of the blame on the Regina Orozco's character Coral. Looking like a malignant Anna Magnani, Coral is much more repulsive than the woman in the first movie. This overweight nymphomaniac is a terrible nurse with bad breath and body odor ("It's from working with cadavers!") who also abuses her adorable young children. From a Latin point of view her last motherly offense is especially damning. When Nicolás uses her kids as an excuse to break off their relationship, Coral abandons them without a second thought. The unholy pair criss-cross the desert in an old sedan, seeking lonely widows to victimize. It's no surprise when each attempted fleecing ends up in a messy murder. Nicolás is more concerned about losing his hairpiece and cowers in the corner while Coral finishes off their victims. One is a shameless hussy and the next a clueless beata hiding her impure thoughts behind religious sentiments. Neither are necessarily bad people but in this sleazy context they're entirely unappetizing. Arturo Ripstein shows his anti-clerical viewpoint by introducing another woman, an ex-Anarchist from Spain who distrusts church talk and immediately sees through the couple. She's given the door, but not before we remember Ripstein's 1974 The Holy Office, a harrowing tale of Mexican Jews rounded up by witch hunters and tortured in the name of the church. In a conservative Latin context, man-crazy floozies and religious zealots aren't given much respect. The only victim we're meant to side with is the last, a hard-working beauty with an adorable daughter. She's unfortunately just as trusting as the others, and Coral's jealousy is more out of control than ever. Ripstein's choice of filming in unbroken masters distances us from his victims, a gambit that tends to mute the drama. The film is realistic and consistent in its outlook, but can't match the rich characters of The Honeymoon Killers. **(Spoiler) For its bleak finish, Deep Crimson offers a sobering look at rural Mexican justice circa 1940. The local police chief sees what Nicolás and Coral have done, hears their confessions and unceremoniously shoots them without a trial. Nicolás' main concern at the end is whether or not the cop will let him wear his toupée. The director and his stars have busy careers. Daniel Giménez Cacho was in Cronos and played a priest in Pedro Almodóvar's Bad Education. Regina Orozco had high visibility in the cult movies Perdita Durango and Santitos. Victim Marisa Paredes went on to star in Almodóvar's All About My Mother. Home Vision Entertainment's DVD of Deep Crimson can boast a brilliant enhanced transfer that makes the most of the film's colorful photography. The package art looks like a classic pulp paperback cover. A French trailer and a helpful liner essay from Jorge Ruffinelli are provided as extras. For more information about Deep Crimson, visit Home Vision Entertainment. To order Deep Crimson, go to TCM Shopping. By Glenn Erickson

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall October 8, 1997

Released in United States October 31, 1997

Released in United States on Video September 7, 1999

Released in United States 1996

Released in United States September 1996

Released in United States November 1996

Released in United States 1997

Released in United States January 1997

Released in United States October 1997

Released in United States March 1998

Released in United States April 1998

Shown at Venice Film Festival (in competition) August 29 - September 9, 1996.

Shown at San Sebastian Film Festival September 14-24, 1996.

Shown at Thessaloniki International Film Festival (Main Programme) November 8-17, 1996.

Shown at New York Film Festival September 26 - October 12, 1997.

Shown at Portland International Film Festival February 13 - March 2, 1997.

Shown at Rotterdam International Film Festival January 29 - February 9, 1997.

Shown at Los Angeles International Latino Film Festival (Closing Night) October 15-19, 1997.

Shown at Santa Barbara International Film Festival March 5-15, 1998.

Shown at Chicago Latino Film Festival April 17-27, 1998.

The "Lonely Hearts" murder case also inspired Leonard Kastle's cult film "The Honeymoon Killers" (USA/1970).

Ultra Stereo

Released in United States Fall October 8, 1997

Released in United States October 31, 1997 (NuArt; Los Angeles)

Released in United States on Video September 7, 1999

Released in United States 1996 (Shown at Venice Film Festival (in competition) August 29 - September 9, 1996.)

Released in United States September 1996 (Shown at San Sebastian Film Festival September 14-24, 1996.)

Released in United States November 1996 (Shown at Thessaloniki International Film Festival (Main Programme) November 8-17, 1996.)

Released in United States 1997 (Shown at New York Film Festival September 26 - October 12, 1997.)

Released in United States April 1998 (Shown at Chicago Latino Film Festival April 17-27, 1998.)

Released in United States January 1997 (Shown at Sundance Film Festival (Premieres) in Park City, Utah January 16-26, 1997.)

Released in United States 1997 (Shown at Rotterdam International Film Festival January 29 - February 9, 1997.)

Released in United States 1997 (Shown at Portland International Film Festival February 13 - March 2, 1997.)

Released in United States March 1998 (Shown at Santa Barbara International Film Festival March 5-15, 1998.)

Released in United States October 1997 (Shown at Los Angeles International Latino Film Festival (Closing Night) October 15-19, 1997.)