Plot: What’s it about?
Erik Vonk (Rutger Hauer) and Olga Staples (Monique van de Ven) had a passion that ran very deep, but even their love and devotion wasn’t enough to save their relationship. Erik used to be a carefree artist more concerned with adding new conquests than falling in love, but when he met Olga, it was as if something had changed within him. He was a ladies man of course, bedding as many lovelies as he could and making notes in his journal, as if to remind himself of his former lovers or perhaps just to boost his ego when needed. But Olga was a sexual person as well and of course, the two had instant sparks on that level and began a relationship soon afterwards. He meets her parents and right off, her mother dislikes him and believes he is too common and not good enough, even though Olga is convinced is the man of her dreams. As their passions still burned in intense form, the two were married and all seemed well, but time and fate had other plans for these lovers, that’s for sure…
I’ve seen a ton of romance driven movies over the years, from sappy ones to funny ones to strange ones, including this film Turkish Delight. An early film from Paul Verhoeven, this movie packs a visual punch that’s strong, as well as some unusual looks at love and lust, very interesting stuff indeed. Rutger Hauer and Monique van de Ven turn in superb performances, perhaps Hauer’s best work of all time, certainly one of his better turns in any case. This one is loaded with sex, love, passion, tragedy, and all sorts of other goodies, all of which are combined to form one cohesive motion picture. Verhoeven is able to tie all the emotion in with his visuals and surreal atmosphere, with tremendous results. The case states this is the most popular movie in Dutch history and in truth, it is easy to why it is so highly regarded. As part of Anchor Bay’s Paul Verhoeven Collection, Turkish Delight is given a terrific transfer and some cool extras, a solid overall package indeed. If you’re a fan of Verhoeven’s work then this is an easy recommendation, but anyone who loves powerful, offbeat romance flicks should give this a whirl, it’s more than worthwhile.
I really like the films of Paul Verhoeven, so I am thrilled to see some of his earlier Dutch films released on our beloved format. I know he is often criticized for focusing on style instead of substance, but I think he is an excellent director and even in these earlier works, that is easy to detect, to be sure. In Turkish Delight, Verhoeven uses a liberal amount of style of course, but also soaks the film in emotion, which is crucial to the movie’s impact. In truth, I feel this is one of his finest efforts, though perhaps not my choice as personal favorite. He is able to deliver a lot of visual presence, but keep the focus where it belongs and also ensure the film’s pace never runs too fast or slow, but just at the right levels. Other films directed by Verhoeven include Starship Troopers, Soldier of Orange, Hollow Man, Basic Instinct, Showgirls, RoboCop, and The Fourth Man. The cast includes Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner, The Hitcher), Monique van de Ven (The Johnsons, The Last Train), Tony Huurdeman, Hans Bokamp, and Wim van den Brink (Murder in Amsterdam, The Mark of the Beast).
Video: How does it look?
Turkish Delight is presented in a 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This transfer was created from restored materials, so you know you’re in good hands here. I was quite surprised with how clean the print looks here, very few complaints to be made and I was downright impressed. This film is very dark in terms of visuals, but this effort holds tough and rarely falters, even in the darkest of scenes. I wouldn’t go as far as to say the black levels are razor sharp, but they’re effective and much better than previous editions. I found the colors to be strong and natural, while flesh tones looked normal and consistent as well. This is a terrific treatment to be sure and even with a few small flaws, I think fans will be overjoyed with this release.
Audio: How does it sound?
I don’t think there’s much to be said in this department, as a basic, but adequate mono track has been used. I wasn’t too taken with the option, but when you consider the limits of mono, I think this one stands up well enough in the end. The music is quite cool and sounds good in this mix, while sound effects are decent enough, though lacking in the dynamic range we’re so spoiled to have on modern surround tracks. The dialogue is clean and never becomes distorted, while volume levels remain proper at all times. As it should be, the dialogue is presented in the original Dutch language and should you need them, optional English subtitles have been provided.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc’s main bonus comes in the form an audio commentary, which features director Paul Verhoeven himself. I’ve now heard a couple commentary sessions with Verhoeven and once again, he blends technical information with humorous stories, which makes the track a pleasure to listen to, even if you’re only a casual fan of the flick. He discusses the main themes within the film, his take on the characters, and a wealth of other interesting topics as well. This release also contains some still photos, talent files, and the film’s theatrical trailer.