Red Shoe Diaries (1992) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

I suppose Zalman King is never going to be mistaken for Welles or Kurosawa, but he does have the ability to create a certain erotic mood and flavor.
You are familiar with his techniques: the close-ups of body parts, the bright swirling colors, the dancing, the shirtless sweaty guys, the whispered conversations, the languid music .... the first few times he used these techniques, I thought they were fresh and erotic in a sleazy Bossa Nova kind of way. "Two Moon Junction" is junk, to be sure, but it's really fun for a junk picture, and genuinely erotic in stretches. "Wild Orchid" can be very sensuous in some scenes, and women seem to respond to it as well as men.


Brigitte Bako appears naked from verious angles, but there is no clear shot of her face and her body together, not anywhere in the film.

There is a clear topless scene on the DVD in the "still gallery'

But there comes a time when technique isn't enough. Without fresh content, technique just becomes repetition. Moreover, as time as passed, King started to skimp on the real nudity in favor of the mysterious cutaways, shots of sweaty tummies and the bottom of breasts and the back of necks, shown while the blues guitar plays its sultry rhythms. To the point where you want to call in the Deltas to start mumbling "bullshit, bullshit, blowjob, blowjob", and you want to scream at the screen - "could I just see her body with the camera back a few feet and the lights on? Remember how you did it with Sherilyn Fenn?'"

DVD info from Amazon.

  • The promos say widescreen, but it is a standard 4:3 version.

  • There is some scene-specific commentary from one of the actors.

  • There is one deleted scene and some bios and stills.

Red Shoe Diaries is the original pilot film for the long-running series, and it is the very apotheosis of King's sweaty chest, sultry music technique. It actually stars Duchovny in the plot, as opposed to just showing him in the prologue and epilogue. I would probably have thought more kindly of it if I hadn't seen it all before, or if it had some nice clear nude frames, or if it had some content to go with the technique. But it is slow and boring, and it has little clear nudity. I barely stayed awake.

Duchovny is mourning the suicide of the love of his life. He reads her diaries, finds that she was trapped in an affair with a young construction worker who also sells shoes. (He sold Bako some red ones). He finds the guy and takes out his anger in a one-on-one basketball game.

It is nothing but technique. Pretty good technique, but I've seen it all before. And if I wanted to see guys sweating with their shirts off, I'd rather watch "Cool Hand Luke"

The Critics Vote

  • no reviews online

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 4.4
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C-. Technically capable, but style and music mask a lack of plot and dialogue.

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