‘Kiss Of The Spider Woman’ has to be one of the better novel to film translations in film history. The film was directed by Hector Babenco in 1985 and had a box office gross of $14 million dollars. Not only was the film a great adaptation, but also won a Best Actor award at the Oscars. That is a great feat considering that the film was nominated for four Oscar nominations.

The story in ‘Kiss Of The Spider Woman’ revolves around Luis Molina (William Hurt) that is in prison for his sexual preference and how badly it is looked upon. Molina is not alone; he has a cell mate Valentin Arregui (Raul Julia) who is a Marxist that was locked up due to political reasons. Both men are locked up in a South American prison where they probably will never see the day of light again to be free men.

While the two prisoners tend to not fully understand each other from the outset of the film, both Molina and Arregui begin to make a friendship. Through the new found friendship, they learn a lot about each other through their conversations. It is what helps both men get through the prison life that they have become a part of. There is a small twist to this story, Molina is working with the warden (Jose Lewgoy) to get as much information from Arregui about the revolution that he is a part of. If Molina gives the information needed to the warden, he can be free from this nightmare. Then add yet another wrench into this and that Molina is starting to have a thing for Arregui. It makes it harder for him now, which side does he choose?

To add a bit more complexity to the story, we also have Molina’s introduction of this fantasy world in his head that he likes to live out while in prison. It is very interesting how Babenco adds these two worlds where they intertwine with each other. This is where we meet the lounge singer Leni Lamaison (Sonia Braga) also known as the Spider Woman. Between Lamaison and her love interest Werner (Herson Capri). Both Julia and Hurt pull in some excellent performances. The supporting cast also has a great performance which helps round out this film.

Print/Audio Quality
The print is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The print looks rather good considering that there are a lot of dark scenes which mainly are the prison scenes. Blacks look deep and there are colors that pop off the screen. There is also grain throughout the print, but not in all scenes. The problem is that the grain gets too heavy, which can be distracting. The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix. While the mix sounds very good here with the film, the rears aren’t used as much as one would hope. Sound effects tend to be more prevalent through the rears, while the front speakers and used much more since this was originally a Dolby Digital 2.0 mix. Dialogue comes through the center channel rather clean making the voices sound rather crisp.

Special Features
‘Kiss Of The Spider Woman’ comes in a 2 disc special edition with loads of extras.

  • Trivia Track
  • Theatrical trailer (presented in non-anamorphic widescreen)
  • “Tangled Web: Making Kiss of the Spider Woman” is a comprehensive look at the film with interviews.
  • “Manuel Puig: The Submissive Woman’s Role” is part biography and look at the novel’s author.
  • “Spider Woman on Broadway”
  • “Kiss of the Spider Woman from Novel to Film”
  • 5 photo galleries w/Over 150 Exquisite Images
  • Teaser trailer

‘Kiss Of The Spider Woman’ is a film that I highly recommend as it does an excellent job at building and driving character development. Independent studio City Lights Home Entertainment does a great job with the presentation to DVD.

List Price: $34.95, Sale Price: $34.95 – Order today from (Amazon and Save)