Burt Pugach Hired Men to throw Acid in her Face

Burt Pugach Hired Men to throw Acid in her Face, In an era where Joey Budafucco is now engaged to Amy Fischer and Mary K. Laturno is now married to the boy who fathered her child at venerable age of 12, it should come as little surprise that Linda Riss is married to Burt Pugach, the man who hired hit men to throw acid in her face more than forty years ago.

It was a crime inspired by passionate jealousy after all. Dan Klores’s (Ring of Fire) new documentary Crazy Love, flows chronologically and hits all the standard interviews from friends and family who appear more than eager to comment. It’s not hard to see why a man like Burt Pugach is screwed up. The beginning of the film deals with his traumatic childhood, which included regular beatings and berating from his possessive mother. Driven into a possessive mentality Burt became a prominent negligence lawyer amassing large amounts of wealth, property and women.

But Burt’s a man who wants what he can’t have and when he wouldn’t leave his wife for the girl on the side (Linda), she left him and he descended into obsession. This obsession eventually lead to Burt hiring three men to throw lye in young Linda’s face as she left for a date with her new fiancĂ©e. While in prison he continued to try and contact Linda and eventually, when he got out, they got back together and soon married.

The film focuses tightly on Burt Pugach’s obsessive behavior highlighting his insistence on getting everything he wants. It’s quite hard to sympathize with person such as this, but it’s even harder to sympathize with Linda Riss’s deformity now that she has decided to spend the rest of her life with the man responsible.

Throughout the past few years the documentary form has taken off like never before. Film festivals and markets have been inundated with material concerning all types issues, people, events, crimes, mysteries etc. Why all of the sudden this boom of documentaries hitting the circuit? Is it because if the event actually happened the implications of the film are more profound? Is reality TV responsible? Or are documentaries easier to make then a narrative features? Dan Klores originally contacted scriptwriter Erin Cressida Wilson (Secretary, Fur) to develop the story into a narrative, but due to complications and reluctant backing, Klores decided a documentary would be a more convenient portal.

For filmmakers wishing to tell a true story it’s surely more fitting to compile interviews, archival footage, news documents and pictures into a timeline on a modest budget. This isn’t to belittle the documentary in any way. Some of the greatest stories and social issues can only be brought to light through documentary filmmaking. A film where the truth is in question, like The Thin Blue Line, for example, would lose just about all of its impact if completely reenacted.

With Crazy Love, however, one wonders if a narrative might have been more appropriate. Perhaps a talented scribe would be able to flesh out the characters and their actions, which at the end of this film feel cold and self-aggrandizing. Maybe a feature would have been able to capture the ambiance, emotion and the passage of time with more reverence then archival footage and voiceover can do justice. At the end of the day Crazy/Love is an interesting, sensational story but it’s no deeper then anything seen on
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