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Review: Turkish Delight (1973)

Director: | 112 minutes | drama | Actors: , Rutger Hauer, , , Hans Boskamp, ​​, , , , , , , , ,

Holland’s best-known and most successful movie has been praised and reviled. ‘Turks Fruit’ is everything that makes the Dutch after the sexual revolution good and bad, a hurried, raw charming combination of gluttony, vulgarity and anti-bourgeoisie. Jan Wolkers’ excess translates well into the silver screen; although Paul Verhoeven, with his many changes of and speed of editing, takes away some literary subtlety, the love story from the source text remains, is performed energetically by Rutger Hauer and Monique van de Ven and supported by a superior soundtrack (by Toots Thielemans); all this can take some shit and piss, tits and asses. What’s called: like Wolkers, Verhoeven likes to dig at the roots of life through the exploration of sex, death and destruction.

What is striking about the umpteenth revision – the first after a decade and after the death of Wolkers, is that ‘Turkish Delight’ appears to stand the test of time; the culmination of energy that was released around 1970 by the unfolding of the talents of Wolkers, Verhoeven, Hauer, Van de Ven, producer Rob Houwer, screenwriter Gerard Soeteman and cameraman does not only remain in the spirit of the time. Sculptor Erik is a timeless rebel, Olga of an indestructible childlike voluptuous beauty and also Erik’s struggle against the patriotic petty-bourgeois morals – well portrayed in Olga’s mother (the underestimated Huurdeman, a Dutch Sybil Fawlty) and her shop manager (Boskamp) still stands decades later. . Now and then Verhoeven forgets to keep time, as in the crazy scenes with the cow’s eye in the hunting dish and that of the opening of a hospital, but despite these and the many eagerly portrayed copulations, the director does not waste any time: ‘Turkish Delight’ is a love story and not porn. It remains a pity that the drama is settled too boldly to really touch deeply, but the irreplaceable Hauer and Van de Ven carry the film so much that the message gets across anyway; both add something substantial to the book. ‘Turks Fruit’ is a Gesamtkunstwerk as it could only be made in the culturally exploding Netherlands of the early 1970s. It remains a pity that the drama is settled too boldly to really touch deeply, but the irreplaceable Hauer and Van de Ven carry the film so much that the message gets across anyway; both add something substantial to the book. ‘Turks Fruit’ is a Gesamtkunstwerk as it could only be made in the culturally exploding Netherlands of the early 1970s. It remains a pity that the drama is settled too boldly to really touch deeply, but the irreplaceable Hauer and Van de Ven carry the film so much that the message gets across anyway; both add something substantial to the book. ‘Turks Fruit’ is a Gesamtkunstwerk as it could only be made in the culturally exploding Netherlands of the early 1970s.

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