The quietest opener of the coming weekend has to be Lonely Hearts, a period police procedural set in the late ’40s and early ’50s, which means all the actors will be wearing bulky-ass trenchcoats and fedoras and talking like they’re in costarring with Robert Mitchum in Out of the Past. It’s a little bit strange that there’s zero buzz around this thing and the fact that the opening is being so faintly promoted because it’s got a few big names — John Travolta, Salma Hayek, James Gandolfini, Jaredo Leto, Scott Caan and Laura Dern.
This obviously suggests that the movie, directed by Todd Robinson and released by IDP Films (a Samuel Goldwyn subsidiary), has problems, but I’ve been told that Hayek’s performance is pretty good. The story was the basis of Leonard Kastle‘s The Honeymoon Killers (1970), a cult favorite that starred Tony Lobianco and Shirley Stoller.
Robinson is the grandson of Nassau County Detective Elmer C. Robinson (Travolta), who helped to capture and convict “Lonely Hearts” killers Raymond Fernandez (Leto) and Martha Jule Beck (Hayek). Robinson stayed with the case right to the moment that Fernandez and Beck were electrocuted at Sing Sing Prison in 1951.
The story “is about how Ray and Martha travel around together posing as brother and sister, preying on lonely, vulnerable women. Their scam first milks them of their life savings and ends in the murders of several innocent women. They’re a warped and dangerous duo who leave a bloody trail behind them. As their investi- gation progresses, Robinson and partner Charles Hilderbrandt (Gandolfini) become obsessed by the case. It eventually invades Robinson’s personal life and isolates him from those he loves,” etc.