In 1959, spurned lover Burt Pugach hired thugs to throw sodium hydroxide in the face of ex-girlfriend Linda Riss, leaving her blind and permanently disfigured. Fourteen years later, following Pugach’s release from prison after serving his sentence for the crime, the couple married, and they remain together to this day. Bringing together the thoughtfulness of a BBC4 broadcast with the trashy melodrama of Sunset Beach, Dan Klores and Fisher Stevens’ fascinating doc throws some much-needed light on this ‘love story’ and the pre-womens’ lib sexual politics that spawned it. Far from the battered wife stereotype you might expect, Riss turns out to be one tough old broad, while the jovial Pugach will make your blood run cold. Those in search of heart-warming romance might want to look elsewhere; the Pugach/Riss story is just one per cent love, 99 per cent crazy.
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