Black Widow (1987 with Debra Winger and Theresa Russell)


USA / 1987

Director: Bob Rafelson
Writer: Ronald Bass

Cast: Debra Winger, Theresa Russell, Sami Frey, Dennis Hopper, Nicol Williamson, Terry O’Quinn, James Hong, Diane Ladd, Donald W Moffat, Lois Smith, Leo Rossi, Danny Kamekona, Rutanya Alda, Mary Woronov, Wayne Heffley, Raleigh Bond, David Mamet

An unusaul woman-to-woman thriller. Debra Winger takes the lead as a federal investigator who is studying files relating to the death of a millionaire when she begins to suspect that foul play has been involved. As she delves deeper into this case, she comes across a number of other cases that are similar in nature to the first one. As she investigates the deaths, she becomes aware that each of the dead men appear to have been married to a beautiful young woman just before they died. What’s more, it appears to have been the same young woman – Theresa Russell – in each case.

Determined to nail Russell, Winger travels to Seattle to warn Russell’s latest husband (Nicol Williamson) of the danger he’s in. He ignores her warnings and ends up dead. As a result of this, Winger goes undercover to gather the evidence on Russell.

Posing as a secretary, Winger becomes friendly with Russell and accompanies her to Hawaii, where she has her eye on a new victim, Sami Frey. However, her job is complicated when she begins to realize that she is falling in love with Frey and is beginning to enjoy the battle of wits with Russell.

Movie trivia collectors should look out for the scene where Winger is playing poker – her partner is playwright David Mamet.

Said Motion Picture Guide : “Both Russell and Winger give solid performances, and the memory of the complex interplay between their ultimately not-so-different characters lingers long after the film has ended.” Says Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun Times : “The acting in this movie is good throughout, especially in the chemistry between Winger and Russell.”