Before he went to Hollywood and hit the big time with such movies as Robocop and Basic Instinct, Verhoeven was doing his best to scandalise his native Holland with explicit, provocative dramas like Soldier of Orange, Turkish Delight and Spetters. The director has expressed reservations about Katie Tippel, a brisk, almost brusque account of the hardships endured by the titular blonde heroine (van der Ven) after her family migrated to Amsterdam from Friesland in the 1880s. He trowels on the suffering enthusiastically as she's abused and exploited by men, capitalism and her parents - though our Katie is not one to take a spot of harassment lying down, and indeed, her autobiography won the author a Nobel Prize for literature. The film is spirited and quite political, being as much about economics as anything. However, the producer recut the ending, and it's hardly prime Verhoeven. (From the novel by Neel Doff.) TCh.