The first American feature film by Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky, Maria’s Lovers is a turbulent, quite particularized period romance about the sometime lack of synchronization of love and sex.
Opening sequence makes use of excerpts from John Huston’s great postwar US Army documentary Let There Be Light to introduce the phenomenon of returning soldiers with psychological disabilities. Climaxing this is a mock verite interview with vet John Savage, who survived a Japanese prison camp and is terribly glad to be home in smalltown Pennsylvania.
His grizzled father Robert Mitchum gives Savage an understated welcome, and latter then has the misfortune of dropping by the home of his great love, Nastassja Kinski, just as she turns up in the grasp of another soldier, Vincent Spano.
Spano finally backs off, leaving the childhood sweethearts free to marry in a Russian Orthodox service.
Konchalovsky’s storytelling proceeds at a smooth pace and contains certain interesting wrinkles, such as Mitchum’s discouraging his son from pursuing Kinski because he himself is secretly interested in her.