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The Taking Of Christina






Approximate Running Time: 01:26:09
Released: 1975

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Based on a true story, the Taking of Christina is a provocative, erotic look at one of today's most important issues! A short time before her wedding day, a young woman is stolen away and kept in a secret place. As the days pass, she convinces her keepers that she really cares for them. When they finally grant her freedom, she shows that revenge, not friendship, is what she really has in mind!
Clip 1 - 4 mins 47 secs

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Comments on The Taking Of Christina

Editor's Review

Director Armand Weston followed up his groundbreaking (THE) DEFIANCE (OF GOOD) with this no less impressive classic, co-written (or "conceived" as the slightly pretentious opening credit would have it) and produced by performer Jason Russell. For the record, his wife Tina – one of the earliest genre superstars - was responsible for editing and make-up. Neither one appears on screen on this occasion yet they had been the stars of Weston's maiden effort PERSONALS from 1972. Though Christina would seem to adhere to a certain exploitation sub-genre centering on suppression and subsequent retribution, Weston and Russell cleverly subvert audience expectations at every turn, creating a work as compellingly singular as their previous collaboration.

An opening title card informs that the movie we're about to witness was inspired by true events taking place in the state of California on the first three days of October 1974. Titular Christina (lovely brunette Bree Anthony, star of Lloyd Kaufman's DIVINE OBSESSION, in a career-best performance) is the virginal bride to be of handsome if growing somewhat impatient Larry (Jack Thompson, looking rather like current mainstream actor Paul Rudd) whose ardor she is quick to dampen at the heavy petting stage. Unbeknownst to the happy couple, a pair of petty thugs are knocking over a gas station nearby, loose cannon Frank (a pre-Dan McCord Roger Caine billed under his real name Al Levitsky) accidentally icing the elderly attendant (Daniel Fitzgerald) in the process. Making a run for it with his more levelheaded partner Sonny (Eric Edwards, whose amazing career on both sides of the cameras extends to this very day), the pair wind up at a sleazy bar where good-natured prostitute Mary Jo (Terri Hall, star of Gerard Damiano's STORY OF JOANNA) tried to chat up blue-balls Larry just moments before. She and gal pal Louise (C.J. Laing for once not cast as completely helpless) hook up with the bad guys, resulting in some truly excellent three-way action (with Laing doing her deep throat specialty) once the too intense Frank angrily backs out. The latter apparently doesn't like to pay for what he assumes he can get for free anyway. So sweet innocent Christina, waiting for her boyfriend outside the movie theater where she works, is taken for this particular purpose. Dragged off to the house they've broken into (with its rightful owners conveniently absent), Christina is screwed by nasty Frank who rushes out for booze right after. Leaving the girl tied to the bed, Sonny proceeds to clean her up and gently perform cunnilingus before penetrating her as well. Though shot like a love scene (with soft lighting and romantic guitar music), it should not skip the viewer that this is NOT love. To further confuse the audience, this sequence is cross-cut with an equally tender encounter between Larry (who thinks he has been stood up) and Mary Jo. Following her ordeal, Christina appears to have a change of heart as she comes on to the bad guys, urging them to take her along. Has the girl got a major case of Stockholm syndrome all of a sudden? Is she trying to escape by putting the two men up against each other? See and find out.

Professionally shot by the pseudonymous but hardworking "Harry Flecks" (actually Joao Fernandez, who incidentally shot most of Damiano's classics as well as the cult favorite THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS), this looks as good as any Hollywood indie production of the period. What really sets it apart though is the remarkably thoughtful screenplay offering rare opportunities for in-depth characterization to a talented cast. Anthony, who'd been mauled by villain extraordinaire Jamie Gillis only the previous year in Claude Goddard's WINTER HEAT, moves from vacuous virgin to scheming angel of vengeance with utter credibility. Levitsky and Edwards make for a contrasting pair of hoodlums, the latter providing a neatly subversive twist on his usually being cast as Mr. Sensitivity. Most surprising to me is Terri Hall's sympathetic turn as the kind and classy lady of the night, a part that could easily have taken a turn to Cliché City. A trivia in-joke occurs when her character tantalizingly strips for Larry and he remarks on how well she moves and asks if she's a dancer. Though she smiles and denies this, in real life Hall had of course been a member of the Stuttgart ballet. After DEFIANCE and Christina, Weston pretty much abandoned this type of edgy, risk-taking material. Unsurprisingly, this led to an amount of (postponed) mainstream acceptance with admittedly exceptional films like EXPOSE ME, LOVELY (1976) and, of course, TAKE OFF (1978), both of which are now regarded as prime examples of the genre at its finest.

-Review courtesy of DirtyMovieDevotee

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