Body Heat (1981)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BB.5

USA, 1981.   The Ladd Company.   Screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan.   Cinematography by .   Produced by .   Music by .   Production Design by .   Costume Design by .   Film Editing by .   

Movie audiences were introduced to the purring voice and stunning beauty of Kathleen Turner in this modernized Double Indemnity.  She plays a gorgeous socialite who becomes lovers with a low-rent attorney (William Hurt) and convinces him to kill her rich husband and free her from his tyrannical control.

It’s not hard to predict where things are going, if you get sex easily in a society this heavy with sexual guilt it’s likely there’s a price to pay, but the fun is in seeing how Kasdan indulges the classic tropes of this tale with overtly sexual images that reach almost campy levels of expression .  Turner’s brilliant debut (for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe as Most Promising Newcomer and lost to Pia Zadora) requires us to believe not just that a man would want her but that he’d commit property destruction just to get with her,  then commit murder to keep her there.  The chemistry she generates with Hurt (helped along by John Barry’s incredibly energetic musical score) make his efforts seem perfectly reasonable.


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