Lipstick (film)

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Not to be confused with Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy.
Directed by Lamont Johnson
Produced by Freddie Fields
Written by David Rayfiel
Starring Margaux Hemingway
Chris Sarandon
Mariel Hemingway
Anne Bancroft
Music by Michel Polnareff
Cinematography Bill Butler
Edited by Marion Rothman
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • April 2, 1976 (1976-04-02)
Running time
89 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $8,328,666

Lipstick is an American 1976 rape and revenge drama film directed by Lamont Johnson and starring Margaux and Mariel Hemingway.[1]


Chris McCormick (Margaux Hemingway) is a highly paid fashion model whose image serves as the driving force of the ad campaign for a popular brand of lipstick and can be seen in magazines and on billboards all around the world. Gordon Stuart (Chris Sarandon), a part-time composer and full-time music teacher, eagerly accepts Chris's 13-year-old sister Kathy's (Mariel Hemingway) invitation to come to a secluded beachside photo shoot, so Chris can listen to some of his music. But Chris is too busy to give any of her time to Gordon and suggests that they meet another day at the apartment she shares with Kathy. Gordon agrees and shows up at the apartment at the date and time that she mentioned. Though Chris has clearly forgotten about the invitation, she lets him in and politely sits down as he plays her a tape of one of his compositions. What she hears is not easy on her ears, but she smiles as it plays and pretends to appreciate it until a phone call from her lover, Steve Edison (Perry King), thankfully interrupts them and allows her to escape to her room, away from the noise and the very creepy Gordon.

As Chris talks to Steve, Gordon begins to fume at the thought of Chris' obvious rejection. His hurt soon turns to anger, and he enters her room and smashes a picture of her brother Martin (John Bennett Perry), a priest, before throwing himself on top of her. During Chris's struggle to fight him off, Gordon slams her head against one of her bedposts and screams at her to show him where she keeps the lipstick that her face sells to the public. When she tells him it is in her bathroom, he takes her in there and smears it across her face, then forces her to perform fellatio on him to leave the traces of the lipstick on his genitalia. Returning her to her bed, he ties her down with silk scarves, and anally rapes her to the accompaniment of his discordant compositions. Near the end of the ordeal, Kathy returns home from school and walks in on Chris and Gordon, on whom Kathy has a crush, together in bed; hurt and embarrassed, Kathy runs out before they see her, and before she can tell what is really going on. Chris hears her leave, and asks Gordon to untie her. He gets up and suggests calling Kathy in to join them and "have some fun", but he instead cuts Chris free and leaves. Chris gets up, finds Kathy, and after telling her what really happened, Chris calls the police.

Gordon is arrested, but as Chris learns from Carla Bondi (Anne Bancroft), the prosecutor assigned to handle the case, Gordon's conviction is hardly a sure thing. Only two of 100 rapists serve any jail time, and only 10,000 of the 50,000 rapes that occur each year in California are reported to the police. If Chris wants justice, she will have to testify, and that could mean subjecting herself to a kind of abuse as terrible as the rape itself. Despite Steve's fears of what a trial could do to her career, Chris agrees to testify passionately, informing everyone in the room, "I want him to die in jail! I want them to do it to him in jail!" Unfortunately for Chris, Carla's worst fears are all realized. Gordon's attorney argues that the sex was consensual, and that its roughness was the result of Chris's own twisted desires and not Gordon's. He also suggests that even if Gordon acted without her consent, she provoked him by appearing naked in front of him at the photo shoot where they first met, and by the inherent sensuality of the photographs from which she makes her living. To Chris's enormous shock, the jury buys that logic and votes to acquit. Gordon walks out of the courthouse a free man.

Not long after that, Chris learns that Steve, who works for the cosmetics company for which she poses, has decided to "cool down" their ad campaign, meaning she has been abandoned by Steve, and is soon going to be out of work. Not knowing what else to do, Chris decides to move to Colorado with Kathy as soon she finishes what is to be her last photo shoot. But by a terrible coincidence, Kathy's old school is using the same building where Chris's shoot is to rehearse the new ballet being orchestrated by Gordon. As Chris poses in a red sequined gown, Kathy runs into Gordon, who—despite her protestations to the contrary—a part of her still believes is innocent of what Chris accused him. Kathy soon learns, however, that Chris was not lying when Gordon's intentions become sinister, and he starts chasing her throughout the nearly abandoned building. Eventually, he catches her, starts tearing at her clothes, and rapes her.

When Gordon is done with her, Kathy stumbles to the photo shoot and tells Chris what happened. Knowing she absolutely cannot trust the system to do what is right, Chris—still wearing the red gown—runs outside to her vehicle and grabs a Remington Slide-Action Rifle she had intended to take to Colorado with her. Chris spots Gordon driving his car in the parking lot, and shoots at it. Gordon is hit by a bullet. He tries running Chris over, but the car swirls and overturns on its side. With difficulty, Gordon climbs out of the car, and Chris shoots him in his chest, shoulder, and stomach. Gordon falls out of the car. Chris comes near to the place where Gordon is writhing in pain. Convulsing, he tries hard getting up, but Chris shoots him between his legs, killing him instantly. Even after his death, Chris keeps shooting. Within seconds, the police arrive and arrest Chris. Later, Carla Bondi speaks to a jury, telling them that their acquittal of the devillish Gordon earlier resulted in Chris losing faith in the law, and for the Los Angeles Department of Justice to not appear appallingly incompetent, they have to acquit Chris. The jury ultimately finds Chris not guilty.


Soundtrack album by Michel Polnareff
Released 1976
Length 28:44
Label Atlantic Records

The soundtrack of the film was by French singer Michel Polnareff who released the album in 1976 on Atlantic Records. The soundtrack became a disco success on its own in the United States and internationally.

No. Title Length
1. "Lipstick"   03:33
2. "Lipstick montage"   12:37
3. "The rapist"   10:57
4. "Ballet"   02:17
Total length:


Lipstick currently holds a 17% rating at Rotten Tomatoes.[2]

Indian remakes[edit]

The film was remade in India twice.

  • The first remake is the Hindi film Insaaf Ka Tarazu (1980),[3] which became a big hit.
  • The second remake in Telugu is titled Edi Nyayam Edi Dharmam (1982).


  1. ^ New York Times
  2. ^ "Lipstick (1976)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-02-01. 
  3. ^ M.L. Dhawan (December 2, 2001). "When substance was more important". The Tribune. Retrieved November 3, 2010. 

External links[edit]