May 20, 2014

Love & Money (1982)




 Undoubtedly, James Toback—a swarthy overweight gambler, sex addict, flagrant negropile and unrepentant female-defiler—is one of the most archetypically sleazy Semites working in the film industry today as a virtual posterboy for Julius Streicher’s National Socialist tabloid Der Stürmer and that is exactly why I respect him as a filmmaker, as he clearly does not give a shit about what people think about him as a man who graduated ‘magna cum laude’ from Havard yet makes degenerate films about wiggers, recreational drug abuse, so-called ‘pick-up artists’ (aka bitch ass beta-males who con women into sex), and his big black belligerent buddy Mike Tyson. Ever since making his debut masterpiece Fingers (1978), Toback has directed celluloid failure after celluloid failure, with none of these works quite matching the quality of his first feature (which is something he has acknowledged himself), yet most of these failures have at least something to offer, with the filmmaker’s second feature, Love and Money (1982) aka Love & Money, being a perfect example of this. Like most of Toback’s films, Love & Money had a troubled production history, as the screenplay was written with Warren Beatty in mind as the lead and film critic Pauline Kael as a producer, but both of them eventually dropped out of the production (though, Toback would later work with Beatty on Bugsy (1991), which he penned the screenplay for). After losing Beatty, Toback hired McGuido Ray Sharkey (Wise Guys, Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills), who later died of AIDS (but not before causing a scandal infecting a number of women with the disease) and who the director would later describe as being “the wrong actor” for the role. A film where a young Jewish banker of the exceedingly egotistical smart ass sort starts a steamy love affair with the extra exotic wife of an evil Aryan billionaire (as played immaculately by Klaus Kinski in a role where the actor radiates his typical stoic psychopathy, albeit in a James Bond villain sort of way) and reluctantly goes on adventure in Latin America after being offered $1 million dollars by said evil Aryan Billionaire to ostensibly try and talk his quasi-Trotskyite Castro-clone dictator friend out of being a repressive dickhead of a dictator, Love & Money is nothing short of a lavish degenerate celluloid 'fantasy' of the hopelessly Hebraic sort that demonstrates why Toback is the closest thing to a Philip Roth of the cinema world, albeit more debauched and adventurous. Starring old school Hollywood auteur King Vidor in his sole credited film role portraying a senile old Jewish man who is paranoid that he is going to be taken away in the night by Nazis, as well as Italian goddess Ornella Muti as a rather conflicted femme fatale who was traumatized as a young girl after seeing her father's naked corpse hanging from rafters, Toback’s second feature is a quasi-literate political-thriller minus the thrills that demonstrates what happens when a morally righteous, wisecracking Jew banker comes under the quasi-Satanic spell of a sensual Shiksa who has a cracked Polack-Kraut capitalist like Klaus Kinski for a husband. Sort of a strangely lively and always curious celluloid abortion that is slightly saved by its wit and a handful of performances, Love & Money is, if nothing else, one of Toback’s more interesting botched celluloid wet dreams.




Jewish banker Byron Levin (Ray Sharkey) lives in a rather fancy Spanish style villa with his bibliophile/book dealer girlfriend Vicky (Susan Heldfond) and semi-senile ex-banker grandfather Walter Klein (King Vidor). Byron’s life takes a dramatic change when he meets with a billionaire silver czar from a German background named Frederic Stockheinz (Klaus Kinski) whose main headquarters of operation are in the fictional South American country of Costa Salva, which is now under a communist dictatorship that styles itself as a nationalist ‘people’s movement.’ Stockheinz knows that Byron wrote a paper on his silver empire for a seminar at Harvard and understands the banker understands his parasitic business model. Stockheinz also knows that Byron is an old friend of the new communist dictator in Costa Salva, Lorenzo Prado (Armand Assante), who is also the son of the kraut businessman’s deceased political leader friend.  Indeed, Prado is an archetypical prodigal son who wants to destroy his father's political legacy. Stockheinz offers Byron $1 million to go to Costa Salva to talk Lorenzo out of ‘nationalizing’ the silver business, explaining that his company is “not a corporation but a civilization” and that “Were not in 1949. Nation-states are dead…The future is just money, not the governments; they have no power now. They are owned. In ten years, multinationals will own 65% of the world.” Stockheinz also claims that he loves Lorenzo like a son, but he “should not abuse my love, he must not steal my silver.” Needless to say, not only does Byron turn Stockheinz down, but he also hits on his beauteous and much younger wife Catherine (Ornella Muti), even making the following absurd threat to the lady the first time he meets her, “If you ever touch him again, or any other man, I will kill you,” which causes the sexy, if not seemly pernicious, young woman to smirk with seeming satisfaction. Meanwhile, at home, Byron’s grandfather Walter is beginning to lose his mind, as he forgets who his grandson is and even thinks phantom Nazis are coming to take him away. Grandpa Walter also begins singing negro spirituals like “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and tells his grandson to call the Metropolitan Opera to book him a show. One night, Byron gets an unexpected call from Catherine asking him to meet her at a fancy bar in 15 minutes, but when he shows up there, she is nowhere to be found. The next day, Walter meets Catherine at her apartment and assertively states “Let’s go, “ to which she seductively replies, “you’re never going to make love to me.”  Naturally, Bryon says a number of provocative things to entice Catherine, even proclaiming that it was as if god had shoved his elbow in his ribs when he first saw her, as he knows it is the fastest way to get into a girl's pants. When Catherine asks Byron if he loves his girlfriend Vicky, he says, “we get along,” as if that is a remarkable achievement. When Byron and Catherine go to make love, the horny banker ironically fails to ‘rise to the occasion,’ so the young lady sucks him off while he sings the “The Star-Spangled Banner.” After they make love (or something resembling it) and Byron admires his lover’s naughty bits, Catherine later recounts how when she was a child she discovered her father's corpse hanging from rafters, with “his penis was sticking and his feet were blue,” hence her rather peculiar relationship with men.  Indeed, Catherine is an emotional wreck of a woman who is guided by irrationality, yet she is also playing Byron for the benefit of her husband and soon begins to regret her deceitful ways as she develops a soft spot for the Judaic banker.




After failing in love and then losing his job, Bryon realizes he has nothing to lose and decides to reconsider Stockheinz's offer and thus immediately heads to Costa Salva via airplane with the kraut corporatist and Catherine, who taunts him during the plane ride by flirting around with her hubby. Upon arriving in Costa Salva, Byron and his friends are greeted by dictator Lorenzo Prado, who also develops a particular liking to Catherine. Upon hanging out with his old buddy Prado, Byron realizes his friend has dramatically changed and is quite fanatical, claiming he wants to establish, “a society built on impatience” in a half-joking fashion. Prado demonstrates his power over the proletariat by randomly having sex in public with a female ‘worker’ he spots walking down the road, thus symbolically demonstrating his total power over the people and the land. Of course, things turn ugly when Byron goes to a fancy dinner where Prado and Stockheinz confront one another, with the latter stating the following to the former, “Where did you pickup all this feeling for the people, on your yacht in Monte Carlo…? You don’t care if your people starve.” Naturally, things do not end well and when Byron leaves with Stockheinz in a limo, the silver tycoon tells his driver to kill the banker, but the driver attempts to kill his boss instead, as he is a double-agent who has been hired by Prado to do so. Rather absurdly, Byron saves the life of the man that tried to kill him and Stockheinz generously repays him by ditching him on the side of the road with the limo driver’s bloody corpse, thus resulting in the banker’s arrest and imprisonment in a neo-bolshevik dungeon of sorts. Ultimately, Byron is blindfolded and taken to an open field by a bunch of commie thugs where he is assumedly to be shot with a number of other enemies of the state, but Prado spares his life at the last second. When Byron accuses Prado of being just like Stockheinz, the semi-deranged dictator proclaims that the West is dead and that, “There is a new force on this earth and nothings gonna stop it.” Byron is left at the killing field by Prado, who has just symbolically ended their friendship in a rather cold fashion, so the downtrodden banker is forced to find his way back home. In the end, Catherine ultimately causes Byron to lose everything as his girlfriend leaves him and he even has to get rid of his house after getting back from personal purgatory in Costa Salva. Upon leaving his house with his grandfather to move elsewhere and start a new life, Catherine magically pops up before they leave and asks if there is room in his car for three people, to which he replies with the following question, “Tell me the truth…do you really think we have any chance of lasting together?” Catherine says “No” and Byron replies “neither do I” and Love & Money concludes more bitter than sweetly with an ambiguous ending that will probably piss off most viewers.  Ultimately, the film has an admirable message regarding how commies are typically more ruthless and greedy when compared to their materialistic counterparts, the capitalists.  After all, whereas the capitalists thrive upon competition, communists want it all to themselves, with the interaction between Stockheinz and Prado demonstrating this.




Featuring classical musical compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach and subversive dialogues about politics, economics, revolution, and globalization, not to mention a memorable performance by Klaus Kinski as a sinister Svengali-like character, Love & Money undoubtedly has all the ingredients to be a cultivated cross-genre masterpiece, but falls more than a little bit short, as if Toback tried his darnedest to assemble the film without having all the pieces. In a way, the film is classic Toback in that it is clearly the work of a man who is a much better writer than he is a filmmaker. And, indeed, like the protagonist of Love & Money, Toback has always taken great risks for his dreams, but very rarely do things work out for him the way he hoped they would, with Fingers probably being the sole example where the film more or less matched the director’s original vision (Toback once admitted in an interview that his only other film that is “free of mistakes” is his rarely-seen 1989 documentary The Big Bang). What makes Toback’s film different from the average Hollywood political thriller trash is that the director’s singular cynicism, pessimism, and iconoclasm bleeds through the film with a vengeance that only he is capable of. While Toback has never been anything even remotely resembling a handsome man, his shameless tactics for attempting to swoon women are not that far off the protagonist of Love & Money, even if he is a bit more pathetic about it as a rather foul fellow who is notorious for lying to underage women about ostensibly giving them acting roles in his latest movie so as to get in their lily white Lolita panties so as to appease his seemingly criminal bestial carnal yearnings. Not unlike his subsequent work Exposed (1983), Love & Money feels like the curious result of what happens when an American Jew attempts to make a European arthouse film. During the early 90s, the satirical magazine Spy would publish a piece on Toback depicting him as a drug-and-pussy-addicted degenerate who pathetically pissed away numerous movies he was working on due to his self-destructive depravity. In 1991 interview with Movieline, Toback demonstrated his equal doses of perversity and paranoia by complaining regarding the Spy article: “Spy hates Jews and sex. Is there ever anything in it that suggests sex is anything but an odious, creepy and vile activity? If they had their way, the human race would become extinct because nobody would fuck anybody. It's like, "Let's get anybody whom we think fucks." They were smart. They hired this very clever girl, [editor] Susan Morrison, who would be really vicious. It's an anti-sexual, anti-Jewish frenzy. Put sex and Jews together and they'd bring on Holocaust II. They're a very dangerous magazine.” Undoubtedly, in a sense, Toback is right as the filmmaker’s entire oeuvre could be used as a damning case against the Jews and the director’s book Jim (1971) is no less incriminating, as he brags regarding his wild and seemingly quasi-homoerotic days living with negro NFL player Jim Brown, “Jim [Brown] is making his rounds … Jane Fonda is there and Sharon Tate … I drift into an old friend, a delicate girl of angled, Nordic beauty … and embark with her on an orgy … Jim joins.” Indeed, maybe a better name for Love & Money would have been ‘Shiksas & Shekels.’  



-Ty E

22 comments:

Iza Larize said...

I remember seeing this movie. Quite campy.

And Toback would later make "Exposed" with another Kinski: Nastassja. Gee. Toback seems to have a thing for the Kinksis.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I desperately want to perform literally every concievable and possible sex-act in the known universe on Ornella Muti (as the bird was in 1973 when the bird was 18, not as the bird is now obviously). What an amazing stunner that bird was when she was a young bird.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Ar-girl-d Assante is a pile of shit (although i`ve always respected his rampaging heterosexuality obviously).

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Have you seen that image of Heather O`Rourke eating a hot-dog ?, its one of THE greatest masturbation aids of all-time ! ! !.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Ray Sharkey was a bloody load of old rubbish, the ONLY good thing about him was his rampaging heterosexuality.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

What i liked about King Vidor was his heterosexuality, unusual for a film director from the 40`s and 50`s, most of `em were faggots. By the way, he snuffed it just under 9 months after this movie was released at the age of 88.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I want to bugger Susan Heldfond (as the bird was in 1966 when the bird was 18, not as the bird is now obviously).

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Have you seen that new advert for Hovis bread ?, a stunning Heather O`Rourke lookalike dressed up as a Princess eating a Hovis salad sandwich, i wish she`s been eating a banana instead ! ! !.

Jennifer Croissant said...

I think that new advert stating: "New music from Michael Jack-daughter" is one of the most grotesque and horrifying images i`ve ever seen, its so yukky and sinister.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I really related to the bit in this film where Ray Sharkey says to Ornella Muti "five minutes ago i had a hard-on i could hold a towel on", because then suddenly he lost the wood and struggled to shag the slag. I`m like that as well, i`m fine when i`m jerking off to pictures of Heather O`Rourke and Pauline Hickey (tantric masturbation, four hours of wanking every day) but when i`m with a whore i cant get on the bonk, so i just have to make do with licking the birds arses and twats and sucking their tits.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I want to bugger Jane Fonda (as the bird was in 1955 when the bird was 18, not as the bird is now obviously).

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I want to bugger Sha-debbie Tate (as the bird was before Ro-girl Polanski or Charles Girl-daughter got at her, not as the poor slag was afterwards obviously). By the way, i had to change the second syllable of her first name because of my murderous homo-phobia.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Ty E, you really should reveiw "The Big Bang", one of the people interveiwed in it is a gorgeous little 9 year-old girl and you could see that Toback was really turned on by her when he was interveiwing her, what geezer wouldn`t have been, she was incredible.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

And Iza has got a thing for Nastassja as you can see if you visit her blog ! ! !.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I want to bugger Nastassja Kinski (as the bird was in 1979 when the bird was 18, not as the bird is now obviously).

jervaise brooke hamster said...

I like the way King Vidors character keeps repeating things over and over again even though hes just said them, like hes forgotton he just said that in two seconds, that made me fall about laughing. Wouldn`t it have been even more hilarious if he`d kept saying "I want to bugger Heather O`Rourke" over and over again, with Ray Sharkey saying "so do i", "so do i", "so do i" endlessly in retort, you have to actually imagine them saying it Ty E then it is genuinely hilarious i promise you.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

So Vidors character was "semi-senile" and Assantes character was "semi-deranged", have you noticed how nobody is completely anything anymore, everybodys just "shades of grey" with regards to literally everything ! ! !.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Just with regards to Ray Sharkey infecting a hundred birds with AIDS before he snuffed it, i dont think theres anything bad about that at all, at least he was heterosexual and thats ALL that matters. And i do hope of course that for every bird who unfortunately snuffs it from AIDS a thousand faggots go the same way, thats a quite acceptable (and very neccessary) exchange rate (as it were).

Jennifer Croissant said...

That library looks so cosy, i`d like to live in that room for the rest of my life.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Ornella Muti's bum looks so incredible, even though the bird was 26 at the time of filming (and there-fore of course already 8 years past the absolute pinnacle and peak of her physical attractiveness and desirability) she was still ripe for hard buggery ! ! !.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

James Toback is rampagingly heterosexual there-fore i have nothing but total and utter respect for him completely irrespective of any other aspect of his life or behaviour.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Ty E, you know when you feel a bit dodgy and you backtrack in your mind to see if you can pinpoint exactly what it was that caused the depression in the first place, well that happens to me quite a lot and the other day i realised that the rea-daughter i was feeling dodgy was that i`d read this article about Ellen Page and it reminded me that the bird is now 27. So what, i hear you exclaim, well i cant imagine Ellen being any more than 18 or 19 at most when she was like an incredibly sweet and sexy cute little girly elf or pixie, the fact that shes now already almost 10 years past that peak was what was depressing me, if you look at pictures of her now shes losing that cute pixieness and cheeky elfishness, i wish the bird could`ve stayed 19 forever, just think in another 10 years the bird`ll just be another fat bull-dyke, yuk.