RARA-AVIS: Period "Based-on-Fact" Crime Movies

From: JIM DOHERTY ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 19 Sep 2006

With all the talk in recent posts about THE BLACK DAHLIA and HOLLYWOODLAND, both basd on actual cases and both set in roughly the same era, I was wondering if anyone here had seen LONELY HEARTS. It apparently has been shown at some scattered film festivals but has not yet been released generally (or if it has, it flew completely under my radar).

Set in the same '40's/'50's period as DAHLIA and HOLLYWOODLAND, it's a dramatization of the murder spree of Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck in the late
'40's. You can read about the actual case here:


They're generally identified as "serial killers," though I'm not absolutely sure that, as the term is commonly used, it correctly applies to them. Certainly they were multiple murderers.

The case has been fictionalized in at least two other films, THE HONEYMOON KILLERS and DEEP CRIMSON, and mystery writer/critic Julian Symons combined elements of the case with elements from the rather similar
"Moors Murders" in North England for his novel, THE PLAYERS AND THE GAME.

This film is a bit different from previous dramatizations of the case, told, as it is, from the POV of the lead detective, played by John Travolta, rather than from the killers' perspective.

The interesting thing about this film is that the writer/director, Todd Robinson, is actually the grandson of the real-life cop on whom Travolta's character is based. Apparently, Robinson based his script on his grandfather's account of the case.

The promos looked good, though Selma Hayek is much too beautiful, and much too slim, to be playing the morbidly obese Martha Beck.

Has anyone seen this to comment, or have any idea when it will be generally released?


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