Maria's Lovers (1984) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)


Tuna's notes

Directed and co-written by Andrei Konchalovsky, Maria's Lovers is set in a Yugoslavian neighborhood in a small Pennsylvania town just after WW2. Ivan Bibic (John Savage) has just been released from the army after being held in a Japanese POW camp. He gives the army shrink the right answer to "What are you thinking about?" but, of course, has some emotional scars after his ordeal. Upon his return, he immediately looks for his old girlfriend, Nastassja Kinski, and is disappointed to find she is seeing a Marine captain. Thinking about her was the only thing that got him through his imprisonment. She does dump the captain to marry Bibic, only to find that he can't get an erection with her, probably because he built her up to near sainthood in his mind.

Mortified, he goes off to another town. Meanwhile, she finds a way to lose her virginity and have the baby she so desperately wants in the form of an itinerate singing guitarist/hustler (Keith Carradine).

The photography is a treat and the film is well-made in general. Kinsky is superb in this film. Carradine did an outstanding job as the guy who hustles his good looks and dubious musical skills into cash gigs in bars and into ladies' beds. Robert Mitchum as Savage's father rounds out a very good cast, which also included John Goodman and Vincent Spano. The plot is interesting as well, but not always pleasant to watch.


DVD info from Amazon

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.85:1, and a fullscreen version.

  • Not an especially good transfer - colors faded, undercontrasted.

  • no meaningful features



Nastassia Kinski shows her right breast while looking at herself in the mirror, then again in a sexual fantasy. Kinski shows her pubes very briefly in a love scene with John Savage.

Scoop's notes

A young soldier returns home from WW2, after suffering a nervous breakdown in the service. He seems to be unable to make love to his new bride, so a cocky itinerant musician takes care of that and gets her pregnant. The story has to resolve the love triangle. 

Writer/director Andrei Konchalovsky hasn't had much success in his English-language projects, having reached a career nadir with the infamous Tango and Cash, but decades earlier he had established quite a reputation in the Soviet Union for his collaborations with the legendary Tarkovsky. Konchalovsky co-authored the film which many serious film scholars feel to be the greatest of all time: Andrei Rublyov! Who could have dreamed that the same man worked on Andrei Rublyov and Tango and Cash?

Konchalovsky did create one impressive, heartfelt story in English: The Inner Circle, which is a true story about the man who was Stalin's private film projectionist. Although it stars Tom Hulce (Animal House, Amadeus), and features Bob Hoskins as the sinister Beria, it has never been released to DVD. I'd like to own a copy.


  • Excellent cinematography, perfectly evoking the rust belt after the war. The photography is artistically brilliant, although the DVD transfer is not especially good.
  • Moody and atmospheric period look.
  • Fairly interesting characterizations


  • Keith Carradine singing - again and again and again. Did you know that George Gershwin never won an Oscar for his songwriting, but Keith Carradine did?
  • Predictable resolution to the plot.
  • Keith Carradine accompanying his singing on the guitar.
  • Did I mention that Carradine singing thing? If not, be advised that this is practically a Keith Carradine one-man musical.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: three stars. Ebert 3/4, Berardinelli 3/4

  • It was nominated for a Cesar by the French Film Academy ("best foreign film")

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.2 
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. Mixed bag of strengths and weaknesses. Impressive cinematography.

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