When a film has basically been famous (or infamous) for twenty-five-years for the rumour that its stars, then real-life couple Mickey Rourke and Carré Otis had non-faked sex on screen, you know there’s not much going for it. The film was directed by Zalman King (Two Moon Junction; 9 ½ Weeks) who reigned for many years as the king of late night premium cable with his Red Shoe Diaries series.
What we get with Wild Orchid is typical Zalman King erotic fare. A razor thin plot with a beautiful, naive woman at its core who arrives at a sexual awakening, gorgeous cinematography that would make even Tinto Brass proud, but perhaps some scaled back sexuality that might not.
In this plot about a small town girl from Kansas (Otis) who goes into international law and comes under the sexual grip of a powerful, enigmatic land developer (Rourke) in Brazil and begins to to her desires through the course of several sexual liaisons, we are treated to tortured expressions on faces and equally tortured dialogue (i.e. “It must be the jet lag; my emotions keep getting away from me.” or “I’m not used to women running away from me.”).
A model-turned-actress, Carré Otis recites her lines with about as much feeling as a can of tuna, and Mickey Rourke is so busy playing it cool and sticking his chiseled chin out he forgets every emotion other than pained.
The saving grace of this film, as mentioned, are the sumptuous cinematography courtesy of Gale Tattersall (Ghost Ship) and the elaborately staged sex scenes that make ordinary people’s sex lives look like a Reader’s Digest article on the art of lovemaking. The location filming in Rio lends lots of beautiful backdrops and for those wanting to get to the infamous scene between Rourke and Otis, you’ll have to skip all the way to the end.
Wild Orchid comes to Blu-ray in what is an unimpressive AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement to Blu-ray from Olive Films. While the opening credit sequence looks the worst, things only get marginally better from there. It’s obvious that not much effort has been put into bringing this to high definition. While the image looks natural, it also looks variably dirty, gritty, and washed out. There are some moments where the close-ups, especially in brighter scenes, look crisp and show good detail and flesh tones, however for the most part, one can spot a lot of low level noise in the flat backgrounds like skies, often swarming the whole frame, with grain becoming coarse. Black levels wash out in certain areas as well.
A quality DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (48kHz/24-bit) stereo soundtrack is included. It has good stereo imaging, a wide amount of dynamic, clear dialogue free from clipping and a relatively good balance of sound.
No supplements are included.
The Definitive Word
A throwaway bit of erotica that takes itself way too seriously, Wild Orchid plays far less controversial today than it perhaps did two-and-a-half-decades ago. The overwrought romance and thin plot make for a boring film and the sex is so staged it hardly raises an eyebrow in this age of instant internet porn.