Release Date: June 1st, 2007 (Landmark Sunshine Cinemas and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas) by Magnolia Pictures.
Directed by Dan Klores.
BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about Burt Pugach, a crazy man who married Linda Riss 16 years after using aggressively persistent and obsessive behavior in the 1950’s to win her over.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: The story of how Burt Pugach and Linda Riss ended up married has so many twists and turns, that it’ll never cease to amaze you, even if you’re familiar with the events. Burt and Linda initially seemed like a happy couple, until Burt revealed that he had a wife and daughter. When Linda found out that he lied about filing for a divorce, she dumped him and moved on to a new guy she met at the beach. That’s when the dramatic thrills kick into full gear because instead of moving onto someone new, Burt fixated on Linda, thinking that she just belongs to him. He did everything you’d expect a psychotic creep to do from stalking her to threatening her family, but the worst part was when he hired thugs to throw acid on her face, which partially blinded her. Director Dan Klores smoothly weaves archival photos and videos with many lively interviews and a well-chosen soundtrack. Now in their golden years, Burt and Linda give their own vivid, detailed accounts of these events, which quickly became a media frenzy. Klores also interviews one of Burt’s friends who, when asked why Burt had friends, he jokingly claims that even Hitler had friends. What makes this documentary so immensely entertaining is simply that Burt and Linda are so complex, you don’t know whether to like them or not—yes, even Linda eventually acted crazy. Their crazy yet fascinating story could—and should— easily be turned into a romantic, psychological thriller in Hollywood.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Everyone expresses jealousy and love in different ways. Burt happened to express his desire for Linda through force, which brought out his psychotic nature. After Burt served time in an asylum and wrote her letters, Linda married him as if nothing bad had ever happened between them. Not only does this emphasize the importance of forgiveness, it also shows how love can sometimes come in the strangest, most mysterious way imaginable.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
IN A NUTSHELL: A lively, fascinatingly and thrilling documentary.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater.
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