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Woman of Desire

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A yacht captain, Jack Lynch, is accused of murdering his boss and raping the victim’s wife, Christina Ford. Nothing is how it first appears. Jack seeks the help of veteran attorney Walter J. Hill to help prove his innocence.

This film-noir wanna-be, capitalizing on the success of Basic Instinct (1992), was directed by Robert Ginty (not Bo Derek’s husband John this time – a rare occurrence). One attempt at cleverness was to have some of the character’s last names matching famous directors: David Lynch, John Ford, Walter Hill, etc. But the plot had lots of loopholes and was unnecessarily confused and twisting.

Its taglines were:

“Sex isn’t always enough.”
“Two men. One beautiful woman. Alone at sea.”

Star Bo Derek was identified as the “woman of desire” – who lived by the motto: “A long time ago I decided that the key to life was pleasing men.”

The plot was about yacht captain Jack Lynch (Jeff Fahey), who was accused of two crimes:

the murder of his boss Ted Ashby (Steven Bauer) – who was allegedly shot, fell overboard from his yacht and drowned (there was no body or murder weapon, however)
the rape and beating of the victim’s ‘mistress’ Christina Ford (Bo Derek) also on the yacht, with whom Jack was having an affair
According to Christina, Jack was captaining Ted’s yacht when the two fought, Jack shot Ted and tossed him overboard, and his body was still missing. Jack raped Christina, and a storm tossed both Jack and Christina overboard. She was at the hospital while Jack was found washed up nude on a beach.

Jack sought out veteran attorney Walter J. Hill (Robert Mitchum) to help defend him and prove his innocence. Hill thought the testimony was contradictory and would vindicate Jack:

“Even her statement said that he was killed the night before you were found….That would indicate that someone else was involved. Say Ashby died when she was with you. Why wouldn’t she come forward with the truth? Cheating on your boyfriend is not exactly a capital offense, you know…Why is she lying?…Why is she trying so hard to nail you?”

Things became very complicated when Christina began love-making with Ted’s identical twin brother Jonathan Ashby (also Steven Bauer). She also appeared in sex and nude scenes with Jack atop a chrome-decorated motorcycle (“It’s a custom Renegade love machine”), and in the shower.

Ultimately, Christina was revealed to be in cahoots with “Ted” — now masquerading as his surviving brother Jonathan, although she was double-crossing him by still having sex with Jack. She explained to “Ted” that she had killed his brother, not Jack: (“Jack wouldn’t go through with it. He was all entangled in the lines. All I had to do was push. I’ve been trying to forget about it ever since”). Hill explained his own conclusions to Jack – asserting that Christina was still lying to him:

Ted Ashby was not the man who fell off that boat. He’s the one who set it up. They did it together. It looks like you and Jonathan both lost out.

Then in another twist, “Ted” was shot and killed at a carnival, in full view of all the major protagonists.

In a concluding voice-over, the conniving Christina explained to her psychiatrist Dr. Laskus (Robert Whitehead) in a clinic that she had inherited the yacht due to the court’s resolution of the matter – and her doctor was revealed to be her new husband!:

“The only logical explanation is that Ted and Jack came up with a scheme to fool the insurance company and it went terribly wrong. I knew Ted was having money problems. He and Jonathan argued about finances all the time. And Jonathan was pressuring Ted to sell (the yacht) to Christina…..And to be perfectly honest, it was very reassuring to know that the court decided that Ted and Jonathan would have wanted me to have it….”

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Genre: (1990-1999), 1994, Bare breasts, Drama, Female Nudity, Mystery, Nudity, Thriller

Director: Robert Ginty

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