Picks and Pans Review: Butterfly

updated 03/15/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/15/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

"Bad comes from bad," Stacy Keach tells Pia Zadora when she finds him at the shut-down Nevada silver mine he guards from scavengers. She has told him she is his long-lost teenage daughter, and Keach is talking about genes. In Hollywood, too, the rule applies, as this inane adaptation of James M. Cain's 1947 novel proves. Meshulam Riklis, 58, Zadora's wealthy and generous husband, produced it to further her career. In the movie Zadora goes, as they say, from bed to worse. Keach is leaden, though loaded with temptation for the seductive daughter who craves him. "Somethin' you want?" he asks her. "How can I tell till I know what you got?" she snaps. With more thought, this could have been done as a campy satire—the Airplane! of incest, say, or a sort of Oedipus Reeks. Zadora, touted as a new sex kitten, doesn't purr or slink: She squints, which can't be easy with her penciled eyebrows, lip gloss and puffy cheeks. James Franciscus actually may be Zadora's daddy—and father of her baby. Then again he might not be. Only Orson Welles, the local judge who arbitrates it all, seems able to act his way clear of this disaster. Director Matt Cimber's one accomplishment is that by fitting the gargantuan Welles and the wispy Zadora into one frame, he unwittingly defined the upper and lower limits of Hollywood's physical and artistic stature. (R)

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