Butterfly 1982 ***

971full-butterfly-(1982)-screenshotWhether it’s true or not, the story that Pia Zadora’s husband flew the entire Hollywood Press Association to Vegas to hear his wife perform is a classic tale of industry hubris; it’s not clear who the joke is on, since Zadora is indeed the proud possessor of a Golden Globe award for best newcomer. And while her thriller with Telly Savalas, Fake-Out as its adherents, Zadora’s attempt at a big industry splash was Butterfly, now in 1080p and Amazon Prime so that a new generation can be mesmerised by its weirdness. An adaptation of a 1947 James M Cain novel, Zadora plays Kady, a teenage sex-pot who turns up at the mine of widowed Jess Tyler (Stacy Keach). After some provocative behaviour, Jess marries Kady, Butterfly offers the random kind of talent that money can by, including Orson Welles, Edward Albert and Ed McMahon, and there’s an Ennio Morricone score to boot. Writer/director Matt Cimber’s film was a laughing stock in 1982, and it’s still risible now, but there’s fascination in watching these ageing big names circle a famously flighty ingénue.

 

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