Join or Sign In

Sign in to customize your TV listings

Continue with Facebook Continue with email

By joining TV Guide, you agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge the data practices in our Privacy Policy.

Black Widow Reviews

Theresa Russell is the title character, a cunning woman who marries millionaires, poisons them, and inherits their fortunes before disappearing and resurfacing in search of new victims. Alexandra Barnes (Debra Winger), a researcher for the Justice Department who has never had much luck with men, begins to track the deaths, convinced that the widows are all the same person. She travels to Seattle, where she talks to a newlywed philanthropist (Nicol Williamson) just before Russell does him in. Determined to catch her in the act, Winger goes to Hawaii. Posing as a secretary, she becomes Russell's friend and falls in love with her next victim (Sami Frey), causing the lines between pursued and pursuer to blur. This was director Bob Rafelson's first film since his 1981 remake of THE POSTMAN RINGS TWICE. Another old film, Nunnally Johnson's BLACK WIDOW (1954), served as the inspiration for Ronald Bass' screenplay here. Rafelson was able to coax talented cinematographer Conrad L. Hall out of a 10-year retirement, and, with his help, the director fashioned an intriguing, stylish psychological thriller. Both Russell and Winger give solid performances, and the memory of the complex interplay between their ultimately not-so-very-different characters lingers long after the film has ended.