GenreAction, Comedy, Crime Music directorRandy Edelman CountryUnited States
Release dateJuly 26, 1991 (1991-07-26) Based onDeadlock by Sara Paretsky WriterSara Paretsky (V.I. Warshawski novels), Edward Taylor (screen story), Edward Taylor (screenplay), David Aaron Cohen (screenplay), Nick Thiel (screenplay) CastKathleen Turner (Victoria 'V.I.' Warshawski), Jay O. Sanders (Murray Ryerson), Charles Durning (Det. Lt. Bobby Mallory), Angela Goethals (Kat Grafalk, Bernard's Daughter), Nancy Paul (Paige Wilson Grafalk) Similar moviesThe Maltese Falcon, Satan Met a Lady, The Black Bird, The Big Sleep, 8MM, The Last Boy Scout
V.I. Warshawski is a 1991 film directed by Jeff Kanew. It was intended to be a film franchise starring Kathleen Turner, but no sequels were ever produced following the film's critical and commercial failure.
Victoria "V.I" Warshawski is a Chicago-based freelance private investigator who lives the part of the hard-boiled detective. But in her heart of hearts, she is a softy. One night, while she is drinking at her favorite bar, she meets an ex-Blackhawks hockey player named Boom-Boom Grafalk (Stephen Meadows). The two connect and a romance appears to be in the making. But Warshawski is nevertheless surprised when Boom-Boom appears at her doorstep later that night with his 13-year-old daughter, Kat (Angela Goethals) in tow.
He asks Warshawski if she could watch her and Warshawski agrees. Later that night, Boom-Boom is killed in a boat explosion and Kat hires Warshawski to track down her father's killer. In doing so she befriends the victim's daughter; together they set out to crack the case.
Janet Maslin of The New York Times had mixed thoughts about the film but commended the acting:
Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3 out of 4 stars and also praised Turner's performance:
Turner's performance as the title character was the one detail Sara Paretsky, who had created the character and written the film's source novel, Deadlock, found fit to praise, criticizing most of the other elements.
The movie debuted poorly at the box office.
Ian Frazier's book Travels in Siberia recounts an instance where Frazier, visiting the city of Irkutsk in the early 1990s, sees a young girl dancing alone to Randy Edelman's theme song played during the closing credits of the film. At the time, and again in his later reflections upon Russia, Frazier sees this episode as emblematic not only of the sensuality of Russian culture ("Russians can really dance") but of the spirit of the entire nation.
Relation with the original book
The film's plot is very different from that of the original Sara Paretsky novel Deadlock. In the book the ex-Blakhawks player Boom-Boom was the protagonist detective's cousin and lifelong companion, rather than a chance-met stranger; he had no daughter; and "Grafalk" was the family name of another character altogether, a devious shipping magnate who had a major role in the book but was dropped from the film.