Friday, June 4, 2010


By D.E.Levine

Director: Taylor Hackford
Writer: Marc Jacobson
Cast: Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren, Scout Taylor-Compton, Joe Pesci, Gina Gershon, Ling Bai, M.C.Gainey, Taryn Manning, Gil Birmingham, Rick Gomez, Luce Rains et al.
Producers: David Bergstein, Lou DiBella, Taylor Hackford and Mary Katz
Executive Producer: Marcus Shofer
Co-producer: Jeff G. Waxman
Associate Producers: Tiffany Tiesiera and Frederich R. Ulrich
Line Producer: Anne Johns
Original Music: Chris Bacon
Running Time: 117 Minutes
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Genre: Drama

Taken from a true story about Joe Conforte, who owned the Mustang Ranch, one of the first legal brothels in the United States and his wife, Sally Burgess Conforte, the daughter of a prostitue.

Love Ranch deals with life on the Mustang Ranch, the prostitutes, tax cheats, law men on the take and others who were involved with the Confortes.

In 1976, world class boxer Oscar Bonavena was shot dead at the ranch, alledgedly for having an affair with Sally. According to the film. the murder was covered up by law men on the take and Joe never paid for the crime.

Because of the wonderful acting, the late blooming love affair between Sally and Oscar is convincing. Of course, Helen Mirren is always superb in her roles whether she's playing Queen Elizabeth or the queen of a brothel.

Names have been change so while the story is based on truth the name changes protect the writer, director and producers from law suits.

The role of Joe (here know as Charlie) is thin. There's not much character development although Pesci is a bit of a surprise since most of us relate to him in comedic supporting roles and here he places a hard nosed man who's the brains behind the brothel (it was his idea) and schmoozes everyone while deal making.

However, the truth is that Charlie isn't always successful with his entrepreneurial endeavors and it's definitely Grace (Charlie's wife) who runs the ranch.

Brothel work certainly doesn't look glamorous in this film. If anything, the prostitutes are overworked and deal with the work as though it's drudge work - not even a job they like. But they stick to it because of the money and because Charlie and Grace provide them with a place to live and with all the amenities they need.

This isn't an erotic film in any sense of the word. While it covers life in a brothel during the 1970s, the film certainly isn't an advertisement for anyone to turn to prostitution as a way of life.

Overall, Love Ranch is interesting and well acted. Appeal will depend on individual taste regarding the story, characters and time period.