You will be redirected back to your article in seconds


Pia Zadora plays Kady, a nymphet who's been searching for her father in the Nevada silver mines. She tracks him down at an abandoned mine where he (Stacy Keach) is serving as a guard.

Stacy Keach Pia Zadora Orson Welles Lois Nettleton James Franciscus Stuart Whitman

Pia Zadora plays Kady, a nymphet who’s been searching for her father in the Nevada silver mines. She tracks him down at an abandoned mine where he (Stacy Keach) is serving as a guard.

The headstrong young woman brings out incestuous desires in her God-fearing father. Eventually, his inner passions overcome his honest instincts. In an effort to keep Kady close to him, he agrees to work the almost depleted mine and cash in the remaining ore.

For Kady, the act is motivated by revenge. The mineowner’s son got her pregnant and refused to marry her. However, the son reconsiders his cowardice and agrees to marry.

Keach plays his role without shadings and this self-righteousness is difficult to swallow even with the picture’s old-fashioned underpinnings. Zadora, in her screen debut, has most of the picture’s best moments and registers well with her little girl looks and Lolita sensuality.

Orson Welles as a corrupt judge provides the film with a few comic but misplaced moments. The final courtroom session sinks into a farce better suited to a comedy of manners on stage. Transferring novelist James M. Cain’s narrative and eroticism proves too great a task for the filmmakers and the picture remains a series of partially realized sketches.

The film, however, does not betray its modest budget. Made for $2 million, Butterfly has the look of a studio production of three to four times its cost.


Production: Riklis/Par-Par. Director Matt Cimber; Producer Matt Cimber; Screenplay John Goff, Matt Cimber; Camera Eddy Van Der Enden; Music Ennio Morricone; Art Director Dave De Carlo

Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1981. Running time: 107 MIN.

With: Stacy Keach Pia Zadora Orson Welles Lois Nettleton James Franciscus Stuart Whitman

More Film

  • Dr. Donald Shirley (Mahershala Ali, right)

    Read Variety's 1957 Review of 'Green Book' Pianist Don Shirley

    “Green Book” viewers who are not totally versed in the ways of ’50s and ’60s jazz may come away from the heavily Oscar-nominated movie wondering just how well known and respected the film’s central musical figure, Don Shirley (played by Mahershala Ali), really was in his heyday. The answer: revered enough to have picked up [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Steven Spielberg Remembers 'Friend and Early Mentor' Stanley Donen

    As news of the death of prolific director Stanley Donen spread Saturday, the industry was quick to remember the helmer of so many classic musicals. Donen directed such hits as “Singin’ in the Rain,” co-directed with and starring Gene Kelly; “Funny Face” with Audrey Hepburn; and “Charade,” with Hepburn and Cary Grant. “Stanley Donen was [...]

  • Aubrey Plaza Spirit Awards

    How to Watch the 2019 Spirit Awards Online

    The Spirit Awards are taking over television Saturday from Santa Monica, Calif., but viewers don’t need a TV to tune in. Hosted by “Parks and Recreation” star Aubrey Plaza, this year’s Spirit Awards are set to air on IFC at 2 p.m. PT and again on Feb. 24 at 9 p.m. ET. However, indie lovers [...]

  • Mandatory Credit: Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

    Oscars, After Repeated Tumbles, Take Center Stage in Hollywood

    At least the weather will be sunny for Sunday afternoon’s Oscars ceremony following one of the stormiest —  and strangest — awards seasons in memory. Expectations have been turned upside down in key categories amid a historic lack of consensus among guild and critics groups. The 91st Academy Awards will be the first in three [...]

  • Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his Night

    Box Office: 'How to Train Your Dragon 3' Speeding to Series-Best Debut With $58 Million

    Universal’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” is far and away the box office champ for Academy Awards weekend with an estimated debut of $58 million from 4,259 North American locations. Three holdovers and an expansion will make up the other top four spots, with the sophomore frame of sci-fier “Alita: Battle Angel” [...]

  • Stanley Donen

    Stanley Donen, Director of Iconic Movie Musicals, Dies at 94

    Stanley Donen, the director of such stylish and exuberant films as “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Funny Face” and “Two for the Road” and the last surviving helmer of note from Hollywood’s golden age, has died at 94. The Chicago Tribune’s Michael Phillips tweeted that one of his sons had confirmed the news to him. Confirmed [...]

  • '2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live

    Film Review: ‘2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live Action’

    The Academy skewed dark in its choice of live-action shorts this year, selecting four films to slit your wrists by — each one featuring child endangerment in a different form — and a fifth, about a diabetic on her death bed, that finds a glimmer of uplift at the other end of life. If that [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content