|Burt and Linda Pugach today.|
“If I can't have you, no one else will have you, and when I get through with you, no one else will want you." –Burt Pugach
Documentaries usually move me for a good afternoon or couple hours following their end. I’ll bring them up over dinner to get intellectual points, and recommend them to friends, but generally leave them on the back burner lest the topic on which they are based resurfaces and I can say ‘Oh, I know about that, I watched the documentary.’
Considering how blasé people get due to the volume of documentaries with a message, it’s more difficult to find one that truly sticks with you since its inception. I have found such a one. It is a sensational and bizarre tale of an obsessive, fanatical, and hysterical love between two other worldly personalities.
Crazy Love (2007) directed by Dan Klores and Fisher Stevens follows attorney at large and professional eccentric Burt Pugach who was a swarthy, egocentric and somewhat maniacal wealthy man on the Staten Island scene in 1959 when he met 21-year-old pretty girl Linda Riss. He showered her with gifts, courted her persistently, and propositioned her until she relented and they began dating. Their turbulent relationship eventually ended when she found out that he was already divorced and had a child. Unable to deal with Linda leaving him, Burt paid three thugs to knock on Linda’s door one fateful day and throw lye in her face, permanently blinding and scarring her.
|There was almost a Burton-Taylor glamor to their crazy, if it wasn't way of the Richter scale.|
You would think that this is where the story ends, but this is actually where it starts to get interesting. This is just the build up to the eventuality that rocks you to your core and completely blows your mind.
You quickly realize that these two people might exist in a realm of the insane and surreal that to them seems perfectly normal and find yourself immersed in a story you would have never consciously believed could have happened.
Pugach was sentenced to 14 years in prison during which time he wrote his only love letters every day professing his undying passion for her. After he was released they were married, and to this day are still together.
The film allows access not only into the lives but into the minds of truly unique individuals whose shocking attitude towards romance and love might just leave you speechless, but will never let you forget.
Tamara Straus of The San Francisco Chronicle wrote about the film saying that it was "among the weirdest explorations of connubial relationships since Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’.
This film is inspirational on a few levels. It makes us all remember that truth is often stranger than fiction and to find a story that sensationalizes one doesn’t need to go much further than the headlines. It’s ‘sick’ in that strange way that is enthralling and inescapable, and is compelling and memorable at the same time. It’s funny yet heartbreaking, visceral yet surreal, sardonic yet sincere, and on the whole a completely unforgettable film experience.
Watch the Trailer for Crazy Love (2007) here.