From Lye Attack To Wedding, The Title ‘Crazy Love’ Does The Film Justice

From The New York Times
By Manohla Dargis

LOVE IS BLIND, and so, too, is Linda Pugach, one of the looney-tuners in the somewhat sickening, mildly gonzo documentary "Crazy Love." In 1959, when she was 22, and known as Linda Riss, Pugach opened the door of her Bronx apartment to a thug who claimed to have an engagement present for her and instead threw liquid lye in her face. Screaming tabloid headlines ensued, along with a sensational trial, a suicide attempt, an insanity diagnosis and finally the conviction of a jilted boyfriend, Burton Pugach, a Bronx lawyer turned Bellevue-certified nut job, who after the assault, promised to buy Riss a seeing-eye dog for Christmas. Fifteen years later they were married. Crazy love? Try demented.

The couple had met two years before the assault, when Pugach, then 30, was chasing ambulances, raking in the dough and throwing his money around. Once he spotted her, he locked her firmly in his sights. She was young and lovely, if not exactly the Elizabeth Taylor look-alike claimed in the movie, with a coquette's knowing smile and a virgin's skittish caution. She liked the good times he gave her, the nights out at the clubs, the drives in his convertible. He met her for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner, blasting her with attention. There was talk of marriage, but there was also a wife and a child, escalating melodrama and finally a wake-up call. Riss looked elsewhere; Pugach looked nowhere else.

Tango’s Take

Who among us hasn’t intentionally maimed a jilted lover, gone crazy, spent time in jail and then reconciled and gotten married? Oh, that’s right: no one. Somehow these guys make Joe Buttafucco and Amy Fisher look tame by comparison (by the by, it looks like Buttafucco and Fisher are back together). There’s really not much to say about Crazy Love that Manohla Dargis hasn’t said. We would like this time to paraphrase Ed O’Neill from the Wayne’s World film: “Why is it that when a man blinds his lover in the heat of battle, he’s a hero, but when a man blinds his lover in the heat of passion, it’s assault?”
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