What Was the Movie "Wild Orchid" About?

by Eleanor McKenzie Google
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In "Wild Orchid," a young lawyer finds love in Rio de Janeiro.

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"Wild Orchid" (1990) is directed by Zalman King, American actor turned director. The film stars Mickey Rourke, Carre Otis and Jacqueline Bisset in the story of a young lawyer who is sent to Rio de Janeiro on a job and finds herself caught up in a series of erotic encounters. Viewers are advised that the film has an R rating from the Motion Picture Association of America.

The Interview

Emily Reed (Otis) arrives in New York for a job interview at a top law firm. She impresses the interviewers and is offered a job on the condition that she goes to Rio de Janeiro the next day with Claudia Dennis (Bisset), one of the firm's senior lawyers. The two fly to Rio to complete the purchase of a rundown beach hotel. Everything seems to be going well until Dennis discovers that the hotel owner has suddenly flown to Buenos Aires. She feels he is trying to sell to another buyer, so she follows him to Argentina, leaving Reed alone in Rio.

Reed and Wheeler

Before she leaves, Dennis asks Reed to meet her date for that night, and she even leaves her a dress to wear. The "date" is Dennis' wealthy friend James Wheeler (Rourke). At dinner, Wheeler reveals that she is wearing a dress he bought, and that he has called Reed's mother to find out her likes and dislikes. Although Reed returns to her hotel room alone, the next morning she wakes to find Wheeler silently watching her, holding a bouquet of orchids. Although a little nervous, she agrees to go sightseeing with him. During the course of the day, she discovers that Wheeler doesn't like being touched, and that he has voyeuristic tendencies.

Jerome McFarland

Wheeler encourages Reed to satisfy his voyeurism, and although she is reluctant at first, eventually she gives in and spends the night with Jerome McFarland. Afterward, both Reed and Wheeler seem saddened by it. Dennis returns the next day with the hotel owner and his lawyer. Reed is embarrassed to discover that the lawyer is McFarland, whom she met the night before. McFarland tries to blackmail Reed and negotiate a better deal for his client, but Dennis sorts him out. The two women are about to celebrate the hotel deal when they discover that a mystery man has circumvented them and bought it. Dennis guesses that it is Wheeler and is furious with him. Reed tries to find out why he did it, but she loses him in a crowd just as he is about to answer her.

The Hotel (Spoiler)

After Dennis finds a young surfer to amuse her, Reed and Wheeler begin a series of arguments. Reed discovers that Wheeler has bought the hotel for her. He tells her about his childhood, how he made his fortune, and explains why he can't bear people touching him. Reed confesses she loves him, but he doesn't respond. She challenges him to touch her and to feel something. He reacts only when he thinks she is going to walk out of his life for good.

About the Author

Based in London, Eleanor McKenzie has been writing lifestyle-related books and articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in the "Palm Beach Times" and she is the author of numerous books published by Hamlyn U.K., including "Healing Reiki" and "Pilates System." She holds a Master of Arts in informational studies from London University.

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