As some of you Ernest Hemingway fans may well remember, Margaux Hemingway was the fifth person in her family to commit suicide, her death ending a Hollywood career sullied by alcohol, epilepsy, an eating disorder and life in the shadow of a more famous sister, Mariel.
After making a big splash as a model, being featured on the cover of Time and gaining a million-dollar perfume contract, Hemingway starred in LIPSTICK in 1976, a big budget studio-backed trash-wallow that has gone under many a sleaze fan’s radar, LIPSTICK is unforgettable and savage, and a film Roger Ebert said was “set up to exploit Margaux Hemingway’s beauty, nudity, and her rape”.
Margaux is Chrissy McCormick, a (surprise) fashion model who lives with her thirteen year-old sister Kathy (her real life sibling Mariel Hemmingway) and enjoys fame and success. Kathy’s beloved music teacher, Gordon Stuart (Chris Sarandon) is a failed “musician” (his experimental output is clearly the product of a talentless retard) who resents Chrissy’s easy access to producers and other industry powerplayers. In a harrowing rape scene that is both violent, voyeuristic, and highly sexualised, Gordon takes out his jealous rage on the attractive model.
“What’s so hot about you?” he screams as he anally rapes her. “Your picture all over the place? You fuck to get what you want?”
Gordon then dishes some savage abuse in the form of physical restraint, and an awfully polite offer to rape Chrissy’s little sister Kathy when she comes home from school. “Catholic education can’t do a damn thing about it – it’s on all their minds!”
Just when you think it couldn’t get any more skeezy, the first thing out of the mouth of a policewoman (in front of Kathy, no less) is whether Gordon pissed or shit on the freshy-raped Chrissy! Haha! The expected trial quickly turns into a hilarious farce (“He wanted to kill me! He wanted to kill me with his cock!”) as Defence lawyer Nathan Cartwright (Robin Gammell) effortlessly paints Chrissy as a slut, while getting young Kathy to admit that she thought her older sis offered bumhole to the talentless music teacher willingly.
Even a feminist lawyer played by the scene-chewing Anne Bancroft can’t save the day, and the jury finds Gordon not guilty. He celebrates by later making good on his promise to return and rape the confused 13 year old, and then to do battle with a shotgun-toting Chrissy in a mall parking lot in a freaky finale that has to be seen to be believed.
Utterly trashy in it’s goofball moralising, LIPSTICK is worth seeking out.