Jade (film)

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A woman in an open back black dress, arm outstretched above her head, is leaning against a green wall. From below, another hand holds her at the waist. The top right of the poster features the tagline "Some fantasies go too far."
Theatrical release poster
Directed byWilliam Friedkin
Produced byRobert Evans
Gary Adelson
Craig Baumgarten
Written byJoe Eszterhas
Music byJames Horner
CinematographyAndrzej Bartkowiak
Edited byAngie Hess
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • October 13, 1995 (1995-10-13)
Running time
95 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Box office$9.9 million (United States)[2]

Jade is a 1995 American erotic thriller film written by Joe Eszterhas, produced by Robert Evans, directed by William Friedkin, and starring David Caruso, Linda Fiorentino, Chazz Palminteri, Richard Crenna, and Michael Biehn. The original music score was composed by James Horner based on a song composed by Loreena McKennitt. The film was marketed with the tagline "Some fantasies go too far."


San Francisco Assistant District Attorney David Corelli (Caruso) is called to the murder scene of prominent businessman Kyle Medford, found bludgeoned to death in his home by an antique hatchet. Police detectives Bob Hargrove and Petey Vesko find photographs in Medford's safe of Governor Lew Edwards (Crenna) having sex with a prostitute, later identified as Patrice Jacinto. During questioning, Patrice reveals that other women and she were paid by Medford to have sex with wealthy men at his beach house in Pacifica. She also informs them that the most desired prostitute among the clients was a woman known only as "Jade".

In a private meeting with Governor Edwards and aide Bill Barrett, Corelli is warned not to make the photographs public. Corelli is then almost killed when his brake line is deliberately cut and his vehicle goes out of control while driving down a steep hill.

The detectives find fingerprints on the hatchet belonging to Katrina Gavin, a clinical psychologist and former lover of Corelli's who eventually married his close friend, defense attorney Matt Gavin. When interviewed, Katrina explains that Medford gave her a tour of his antique collection on the day in question, but claims to have nothing to do with his death.

At Medford's beach house, Corelli and the detectives find various drugs, alcohol, and sex toys, as well as hidden video cameras. They conclude Medford was recording the sex sessions to blackmail the men. Corelli is shocked to discover Katrina on one of the tapes; the revelation renews the detectives' interest in her as a suspect.

Patrice arranges to meet Corelli at a restaurant to discuss Jade's identity, but she is murdered in a hit-and-run attack by an unknown assailant driving a black 1993 Ford Thunderbird. Corelli, witnessing the murder first-hand, chases the assailants' vehicle in vain. The detectives discover the Gavins own a similar Thunderbird, so suspect Katrina of killing Patrice, but when they find the actual vehicle used in the hit-and-run abandoned, someone appears to be trying to frame Katrina.

Katrina is again brought in for questioning and this time is shown the sex tape. Matt, in his capacity as her attorney, ends the interrogation before she fully explains her involvement. When confronted at their home, Katrina admits to her husband that she did have sex with the man on the tape, due in part to her knowledge of Matt's many affairs.

Katrina visits Corelli at his apartment and tries unsuccessfully to seduce him. She admits having felt sexually liberated by sleeping with several men at the beach house. Meanwhile, the only witness to identify Katrina at the Pacifica beach house, a man named Henderson, is found murdered. Corelli informs the detectives at the crime scene that Katrina could not have killed him because Corelli and she were together at the time.

Back at his apartment, Corelli is met by Matt, who holds him at gunpoint and angrily accuses him of having sex with Katrina. He denies it and persuades Matt that his wife's life is in danger. They hurry to the Gavin home, where Det. Hargrove, Pat Callendar and governor's aide Barrett have come to kill Katrina and search for the incriminating photos of the governor. Callendar is shot by Matt, but Barrett manages to escape. In the meantime, Hargrove is trying to rape and kill Katrina, but Corelli and Matt arrive and Hargrove is shot by Matt.

Corelli goes to the governor for a guarantee of Katrina's safety by leveraging his possession of the photographs. The governor denies any knowledge of Hargrove or Callendar's actions, but insinuates they were both acting on his behalf. As she gets ready for bed at home, Katrina finds photographs laid out in her bathroom of her having sex at the beach house. Matt admits to Katrina that he killed Medford, certain that Medford eventually would blackmail them both. He then tells Katrina to "introduce me to Jade" the next time they "make love".



Warren Beatty was the first choice to play the role of David Corelli, but turned it down. After his sudden departure from NYPD Blue, David Caruso was hoping to break through with a film career and accepted the role. The part of Matt Gavin was offered to Kenneth Branagh, before Chazz Palminteri was eventually cast. Julia Roberts and Sharon Stone were considered to play Katrina Gavin, but both rejected it. Linda Fiorentino was then asked, but she originally turned it down because she did not want to play a prostitute, but changed her mind once her character was changed through rewrites.

According to Joe Eszterhas' autobiography, Hollywood Animal, William Friedkin changed the script so much that Eszterhas threatened to remove his name from the credits. He claimed Paramount settled by giving him a "blind script deal" worth $2–4 million.[3]

In an interview in Linda Ruth Williams' book The Erotic Thriller in Contemporary Cinema, Friedkin admitted that he had virtually rewritten the script.[4] Friedkin also said that Jade was the favorite of all the films he had made.[5] He later wrote the movie had "a terrific cast. A wonderful script. Great locations. How could it miss?"[6]


A year prior to the film's release, Caruso decided that his popularity as star of the hit ABC TV series NYPD Blue would provide enough momentum to successfully make the risky jump from television to feature-film leading man.[citation needed] Although he did play an assistant district attorney, this film was a departure from his more heroic role on TV.

Despite a large marketing campaign,[citation needed] moviegoers did not seem to accept Caruso in this character, or the dark and overtly sexual themes of the film.

Comeback roles in television failed until he landed the lead role in CBS' 2002 spin-off series, CSI: Miami.


The film, with an estimated production budget of $50 million,[citation needed] earned $9,851,610 at the North American domestic box office, taking in $4,284,246 in its opening weekend and ranking number five in the box-office charts.[2]

The film received negative reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes retrospectively collected 29 reviews and gave the film an approval score of 14%, with an average rating of 4.04/10. The site's consensus reads: "An ostensible erotic thriller that's largely neither erotic nor thrilling, Jade marks one of several unfortunate low points for aggressively sexual mid-'90s cinema".[7] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C+" on an A+ to F scale.[8] Gene Siskel singled the film out as the worst one he saw in 1995.

It earned two Golden Raspberry Award nominations, for Worst Screenplay and Worst New Star (for Caruso, who was nominated for both Jade and Kiss of Death), but lost both categories to Showgirls, also written by Joe Eszterhas.[9]

Friedkin admitted the film was "a critical and financial disaster", although it "contained some of my best work. I felt I had let down the actors, the studio, and most of all, Sherry (Sherry Lansing, his wife, an executive at Paramount). I went into a deep funk. Was it the Exorcist curse, as many have suggested, a poor choice of material, or simply that whatever talent I had was ephemeral? Maybe all of the above."[10]

Michael Biehn was not fond of the film: "Well, on Jade, I had no idea what I was doing. I don’t think anybody had any idea what they were doing. It was a Joe Eszterhas script. To me, none of it ever really made any sense. I didn’t realize until the read-through that I was the bad guy in it. It was like a jumbled mess. And the movie came out a mess, too. It had great people on it, though. It had William Friedkin directing, it had Chazz Palmenteri, who was nominated that year for an Academy Award, it had Linda Fiorentino, who had just come out with that famous movie she did The Last Seduction, and it had David Caruso, who's a brilliant actor when given the right material, and a very smart guy. So a great cast, great director… everything but a script."[11]

Director's cut[edit]

An unrated "director's cut" version featuring additional scenes and more explicit sexual footage with an additional 12 minutes was later released to VHS, though it is now out of print; the theatrical cut was used for the subsequent DVD and Blu-ray editions. The planned unrated versions for DVD, LaserDisc, and Blu-ray were cancelled, due to poor sales of the unrated VHS version. The unrated version was available on the streaming service Hulu in 2010.

In one alternate version of Jade, rather than having Gavin get away with murder, Corelli returns to the house, clearly planning to place him under arrest.

Cable channels USA, Cinemax, and WGN air the director's cut, including some scenes originally cut to avoid a possible NC-17 rating and for length.


  1. ^ "JADE (18)". British Board of Film Classification. 1995-10-16. Retrieved 2012-12-15.
  2. ^ a b Jade (1995). Box Office Mojo (1995-11-07). Retrieved on 2014-05-22.
  3. ^ Eszterhas, Joe (2004). Hollywood Animal. Random House Entertainment. ISBN 3-8090-3027-9.
  4. ^ William, Linda Ruth (2005). The Erotic Thriller in Contemporary Cinema. Indiana University Press. p. 139. ISBN 0-253-21836-5.
  5. ^ William, Linda Ruth (2005). The Erotic Thriller in Contemporary Cinema. Indiana University Press. p. 140. ISBN 0-253-21836-5.
  6. ^ Friedkin p 413
  7. ^ "Jade (1995)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  8. ^ "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com.
  9. ^ "1995 RAZZIE® Nominees & "Winners" - The Official RAZZIE® Forum". Razzies.com. Archived from the original on August 31, 2012. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  10. ^ Friedkin p 414
  11. ^ https://film.avclub.com/michael-biehn-on-the-victim-william-friedkin-and-his-1798233922

Further reading[edit]

  • Friedkin, William, The Friedkin Connection, Harper Collins 2013

External links[edit]