Sight and Sound - 06/01/1987
"...A sophisticated retelling of the film noir romance..."
New York Times - 02/06/1987
"...Good, flashy star-performances....Important things going for it that make it very easy to take..."
Los Angeles Times - 02/06/1987
"...Russell and Winger turn in a pair of brilliant performances, feral and captivating by turns..."
The black widow spider mates to kill--and so does the femme fatale of this noir thriller. Catharine (Theresa Russell) makes quite a glamorous living by marrying well and then carefully murdering her devoted husbands after ensuring that her name's on the will. No one suspects that the beautiful and affluent widow is actually a killer, as she hides her tracks well, using undetectable poisons. But her luck turns when federal agent Alexandra Barnes (Debra Winger) takes a closer look into the case and suspects she's found a serial killer. Soon Barnes books a flight to Hawaii, where Catharine's doing her mourning in the sun, and discovers that the widow has already gotten her claws into a highly successful hotel tycoon. However, Barnes quickly becomes obsessed with both her alluring subject and with the sophisticated businessman--a situation Catharine is sure to exploit. Like THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE, director Bob Rafelson's BLACK WIDOW refers to an earlier noir film of the same name (directed by Nunnally Johnson in 1954), though similarities stop at the ruthless title character.
In Bob Rafelson's BLACK WIDOW, a femme fatale serial killer lures wealthy men into marriage and murders them for their money. When a federal agent becomes involved in the case, she also falls under the seductive spell of the murderess.