APRIL MOVIE THON 2: Jade (1995)

April 26: American Giallo — Make the case for a movie that you believe is an American giallo.

Jade was not destined to succeed.

David Caruso had left NYPD Blue after the second season of the show because he wanted a film career. Critics and the media were ready to attack him for that hubris, especially after his first post-TV film, Kiss of Death, also bombed.

Linda Fiorentino had a huge success in The Last Seduction and didn’t want to play a similar role, but ended up making the film.

After making $3 million for Basic Instinct, Joe Eszterhas was due for a fall, which was either going to be this movie, SliverShowgirls or all three. He got $1.5 million for this (and a total of $4 million for his next movie One Night Stand). The script changed so much that he threatened to take his name off the film.

William Friedkin was struggling as well with his last two movies being the tree demoness movie The Guardian and Blue Chips. He would say of this movie, in his book The Friedkin Connection, that it had “a terrific cast. A wonderful script. Great locations. How could it miss?” He’d add that Jade “contained some of my best work. I felt I had let down the actors, the studio, and most of all, Sherry. I went into a deep funk. Was it the Exorcist curse, as many have suggested, a poor choice of material, or simply that whatever talent I had was ephemeral? Maybe all of the above.”

Caruso is Assistant District Attorney David Corelli visits the murder scene of Kyle Medford, a wealthy businessman who set up several wealthy and powerful men like Governor Lew Edwards (Richard Crenna) with gorgeous women, including Patrice Jacinto (Angie Everhart). Corelli is told by Edwards and his henchman Bill Barret (Holt McCallany, who most people know from being on Mindhunter, but come on, he got laid and paid as Sam Whitemoon in Creepshow 2) to never let this info out; seeing as how his brakes are soon cut, that’s to be considered a warning.

The seductress who gets the most requests goes by the name of Jade. Seeing as how Anna Katrina Maxwell-Gavin’s (Fiorentino) prints show up on the ancient hatchet — yes, that kind of murder weapon points to this being a giallo — that killed Medford, so it seems like perhaps she could be Jade. She once dated Corelli before marrying his fellow DA Matt Gavin (Chazz Palminteri). Medford’s safe is filled with sex toys, drugs and video tapes and, oh yeah, bags filled with pubes. But back to those video tapes. Anna Katrina is on one of them.

It also seems like she may have killed Patrice, but her husband cuts the interrogation short. Why would she be on those tapes? Well, didn’t he have his own affairs? Of course, the governor sends his men, which also includes bad cops Bob Hargrove (Michael Biehn) and Pat Callendar (David Hunt), to kill Allison, who gets saved by Corelli — who was nearly seduced by her — and Gavin — who wanted to kill Corelli for perhaps sleeping with his wife. But all along, it had been Gavin who killed Medford to keep the secrets he and his wife keep, telling her to introduce him to Jade the next time they make love.

Biehn would say of the film. “”Well, on Jade, I had no idea what I was doing. I don’t think anybody had any idea what they were doing. It was a Joe Eszterhas script. To me, none of it ever really made any sense. I didn’t realize until the read-through that I was the bad guy in it. It was like a jumbled mess. And the movie came out a mess, too. It had great people on it, though. So a great cast, great director… everything but a script.”

Then again, how many giallo make no sense at all?

But this has an incredible car chase, murder set pieces straight out of Italy, lush production values, a gorgeous heroine/antagonist/who knows in Fiorentino and they threw a lot of money at this movie to make something that Sergio Martino did for about a tenth of the cost. I love it!

In his book Hollywood Animal, Eszterhas said, “”In the week after he was found not guilty and got out of jail, O.J. Simpson went to see two movies. Showgirls and Jade.”

That says something, right?

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