“Look at that girl over there…she’s absolutely gorgeous. I’ve got to have her.”
A story so bizarre, so crazy, it has to be true. It starts out simple enough: A successful, slightly older man becomes quite smitten by a young, beautiful girl. This is where simplicity meets a brick wall, head first at full speed. Truth, in this case, definitely outwits fiction. Throw away everything you think you know about a love story. Dan Klores presents “Crazy Love,” an intimate and brutally honest documentary about friends, love, enemies, and the funny ironies of life.
Linda Riss, a young girl from the Bronx begins a relationship with Burton Pugach, an older, successful lawyer. He wines her, dines her, and shows her the New York high life. He forgot to mention, however, that he was married with a young daughter. A few more twists, turns, lies and jealous outbursts, Linda leaves Burt, becoming engaged to another man shortly after. Vowing that “if I can’t have her, I’ll see to it that no one else will,” he hires three men who throw lye in Linda’s face, leaving her nearly completely blind.
Wait a second; what the hell is going on here…this is a love story? Oh, believe me; we haven’t even got started yet.
Their almost unbelievable relationship has spanned over 40 years, and has been covered in the media for also nearly that long. I know that we here in the states are suckers for sensationalism. We like gossip and fight to get to the page six headlines. Crazy Love, in this essence, is very addictive; it sucks you in and the viewer can’t help but to buckle up and hold on for the twisted ride. Linda hides her impaired vision behind a pair of wicked, dark sunglasses. But other than that, she is an open book. Burt, looking back as an older man, gives insight into the obsessive mind of a man crazy in love.
What I enjoyed most was the simple approach to this documentary. Photographs, interviews, newsreels, newspaper clippings and a killer soundtrack balance and compliment this very complicated and complex story. Each element is crafted to heighten an emotional response from the viewer. Even in the darkest places that this story dives into, there is this underlying humor that often occurs when reflecting on past experiences. They can look back, reflect, and analyze how they got to where they are now. After all they have encountered, they are still here to tell their tale. We all have had or will encounter that opportunity to sit back, reflect, and laugh.
Burt and Linda were kind enough to allow us to share in their reflection. This is movie for people who love a good, juicy story. No fancy effects, no smoke and mirrors; just a camera, people and pieces of history that craft this unique love story.