Film: Turkish Delight

Turkish Delight ("Turks Fruit") is a 1973 film directed by Paul Verhoeven, based on the novel by Dutch author Jan Wolkers. The story is a cross between an Erotic Film and a tragicomic Romantic Comedy. The film is notorious for featuring a lot of sex and nudity—just like in the novel, by the way—and therefore became an international box office success. It was Verhoeven's breakthrough film that launched his career in the Netherlands and those of lead actors Rutger Hauer and Monique Van de Ven.

On the surface Turkish Delight appears to be nothing more than an Erotic Film, but there's in fact a strong and tragic love story going on. Graphic artist and sculptor Eric (Rutger Hauer) falls in love with the young and naïve Olga (Monique Van de Ven) with whom he has several sex scenes. They have a close mental and physical connection and eventually marry. Yet Erik is a stubborn and sometimes impulsive and aggressive man who doesn't really get along with Olga's snobbish mother, who dissaproves of Erik's poverty.

Turkish Delight is seen as one of the most important Dutch films of all time and was voted to be the "Best Dutch film ever" during a 1999 Dutch poll by the Netherlands Film Festival. In 1973 it was nominated for an Academy Award for "Best Film", but lost to La Nuit Americaine by François Truffaut.


Turkish tropes:

  • All Women Are Lustful: Virtually every young woman Eric meets falls for him and agrees to have sex with him, despite being quite blunt and rude when asking them to do so.
  • Auto Erotica: Eric and Olga first make love in her car.
  • Character Signature Song: Olga's father enjoys singing along with Strauss' "Radetsky March", only adding the words "Tits & Ass" to the refrain.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Eric loves Olga obsessively.
  • Cult Soundtrack: The mouth harmonica soundtrack by Belgian jazz musician Toots Thielemans has become iconic.
  • Downer Ending: Olga dies of a tumor. The end.
  • Do You Want to Copulate?: Eric gets right to the point when he asks women to go to bed with him.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Even when Olga is terminally ill, lost all her hair and is mentally unstable (screaming, kicking) Eric still visits her in the hospital.
  • Erotic Film: Despite some full frontal nudity and sensual sex scenes "Turkish Delight" is not a vulgar porn film, as many viewers seem to expect. It's a very romantic and tragic love story.
  • Fanservice: The film has a lot of hot sex scenes. Both Olga and Eric are really good looking.
  • The Fun in Funeral: In an Imagine Spot Eric suddenly sees his diseased father in law singing and laughing along to the tune of the "Radetsky March" on top of his coffin while it is lowered into the ground.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Eric.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Eric and Olga's wedding night is interrupted several times by her falling asleep early and people bringing them mail, flowers and presents in the early morning.
  • The Lost Lenore: Olga.
  • Love at First Sight: Eric hitchhikes along with Olga. Within minutes of meeting they decided to have sex in the car.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: Eric.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: Olga's brain malfunctions in the hospital and she is never quite again the same. Despite visiting her in the hospital Eric is unable to say goodbye to her because of she is mentally unable to understand him.
  • Oral Fixation: Olga still thumbsucks to go to sleep.
  • Romantic Rain: The most iconic image of this film shows Eric and Olga sitting on the side of the road during heavy rainfall, while drinking wine.
  • Share the Male Pain: Eric has sex with Olga in her car, then gets his penis stuck between his zipper. They go to a farmer and Olga borrows a scissor to cut the zipper open.
  • STD Immunity: Despite Eric being somewhat of a womanizer and having unprotected sex with Olga multiple times no STD's or accidental pregnancies are mentioned.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: Eric's impulsive behaviour burns a lot of bridges.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: The film is very much a typical early 1970s film in fashion, style and attitude. Eric and Olga's free love and free sex behaviour seems very irrational and dangerous in less innocent decades of today.