Crazy Love

For those who don't believe that truth trumps fiction for whacked-out depravity, mark this shockingly fierce and funny spellbinder as Exhibit A. Director Dan Klores, who heads one of the largest public relations firms in the country, lets rip with a tale of erotic obsession so schizoid that it's impervious to spin. It could only be a documentary. Back in the 1950s, hotshot New York attorney Burt Pugach was a negligence specialist in his thirties who was struck by lightning in the form of Linda Riss, a naive Bronx beauty whom Burt took on a whirl of Manhattan high life. Linda knew nothing of Burt's wife and disabled daughter. When the truth snuck out, Linda moved on. That's when Burt hired goons who disfigured her with lye and left her nearly blind. After fourteen years in prison, Burt was released and married Linda. And out of that nutso turn of events — there's more twists than a bag of pretzels — Klores and co-director Fisher Stevens craft a movie that leaves your head spinning. Crazy Love uses archival footage and fresh interviews (Linda refuses to take off her dark glasses but otherwise hides nothing) to get at the dark heart of a passion that spanned half a century. How? Damned if I know. But I couldn't stop watching.

From The Archives Issue 295: July 12, 1979
x