on July 5, 2004
Body heat meant the reinassance of the film noir in the eighties. Kasdan made his best picture to date. He's a very intelligemt film maker ; and employed the craft of one of the two greatest sex symbols of the eighties the talented and beauty Kathleen Turner who altogether with Theresa Russell completed the sexy duo.
Turner made reached the peak of the perfection the role of femme fatale ; the spider woman , who cleverly makes her web , waiting for a private eye who falls in love with her.
She's married and as you well suppose is very unhappy with her husband (Richard Crenna) ; the plot is superbly built from start to finnish ; the locations the heat we can feel it even outside the screen . The art direction ; the sliding camera and the enlightment are first rate. Search for Mickey Rourke in a cameo.
If you ask me about the best film noir of this decade ; this would head the list ; the others would be in order of importance : The postman rings always twice , Blood simple , Bad timing and the Black widow.
A must in your collection!
on May 1, 2004
Ned Racine (William Hurt) is a Florida lawyer (apparently not a very good one) who meets Matty Walker, (Kathleen Turner) the sexy, beautiful wife of a rich husband she wants eliminate for obvious reasons-- she wants his money. Racine falls into Matty's bed and her clutches in this little gem of a movie. In the beginning, this couple mostly just takes their clothes off as they are embroiled in passion; but the plot "heats" up" quickly. I don't want to give the byzantine story away to first-time viewers, but there's not a dull frame in this film.
What makes this movie so successful is two first class performances by Hurt (I think one of our best actors) and Turner in what was her first major film role. Additionally the atmosphere is stunning. You can literally feel the heat, both from the sex and the termperature as read on the thermometer in this movie. The bedroom scenes are as hot as I have seen and not at all gratuitous here. The characters are drenched in sweat most of the time and there are fans and air conditioners everywhere running overtime. This would be a great movie to watch in the dead of winter.
This movie co-stars Richard Crenna, Ted Danson and Mickey Rourke. Danson is a vision in a dark wig and Sammy Davis Junior glasses as a local district attorney. I could never decide if he was miscast or not, but everyone else is quite spendid.
on November 22, 2003
A noirish mystery from the time when William Hurt was an icon of you-know-what, and soon after, Kate Turner was too? I've never been that impressed by her acting ability, but here her limitations map perfectly onto the role of an insincere woman who pretends to be in love merely to entrap William Hurt into her scheme.
From the captivating eroticism, oops romance, to the windchimes, to the sultry background score, to the water condensed on the side of the tub, to every detail of the plot, this film is picture perfect.
But the main draw to the film is easily the terrific writing, it actually has a plot (a respite in itself!) and the final few scenes of the movie weave an intriguing web for all the loose ends of the movie. Five minutes before the credits, we're sure the story is over and we're into the wrapup -- after all, we've seen movies like this before -- but then, in one final killer twist, everything is upended, and we see that the there is much more to this plot than we had realized. The clues had been there, but in the end, we discover that we've been as gullible as William Hurt's character, and we're bowled over by the truth that's finally revealed.
Very well-thought-out scheme that'll leave you thinking for a while. Get it if you can!
on November 3, 2003
Ned (William Hurt) is a second rate lawyer and a fisrt rate womanizer. One night he runs into Mattie Walker (Katheen Turner) and they begin a red hot affair. Eventually the kill Mattie's husban to collect the insurence, and then it seems she's set him up for the crime. This is a throw back to the old '40's film noir where the men are bad and the women are worse. Turner and Hurt have a chimistry most couples could only dream of, that part comes off right. It's some of the plot twists I thought was silly. The husband is suppose to be some kind of real shark, but he dosen't seem that bad. Also the ending twist seems a little out there (the cops should have thought of that too). Ted Danson and Mickey Rourke do pretty good, Danson being the better of the two because he had more screen time. They are both tring to keep Hurt out of trouble, but he dson't listen. This movie was pretty good, though it bares too much of a resembelence to "Double Indemdey", which was the same basic thing. Not to bad, but I wish it could have been better.
on October 10, 2003
The "total package" in "Body Heat" makes it the best film noir ever made. No other movie, even the great film noirs like "Double Indemnity" or "Out of the Past" (an overlooked gem starring Robert Mitchum and the wonderful Jane Greer), fall short of this movie's combination of great characters, a sly script with a terrific twist, real sexual heat that makes the murder plot not only plausible, but inevitable, and a haunting score by John Barry. Yes, the script owes something to "Double Indemnity," but the enforced chasity of Hollywood movies in the Forties diminished the power of Barbara Stanwyck as that femme fatale. Greed seemed an equal motive with lust because we never got to see the lust working on screen. In "Body Heat," you know that Matty Ross can and will manipulate Ned Racine in and out of the bedroom. She is smarter, tougher, and way ahead of him every step of the way. He is so distracted by sex that he cannot see beyond her thighs, and she is smart enough to always let him think that he is in control. What a great movie!
on August 24, 2003
I saw the original release in a theater in 1981, and I am dissapointed in the current "R" release. It has been censored to make it sellable in family video stores like Blockbuster. The original love scene was the hottest I have ever witnessed in any film, mainstream or X-rated. It had a long slow pan showing William Hurt's arm around her thigh and holding her breast, so you could guess exactly where his face was. Her breathing was so realistic, you could almost feel what she was feeling. As she comes, all you see is her hand gripping the carpet. The filming, and Kathleen Turner's acting is pure genius to capture that much passion, and all done with the power of suggestion, no explicit shots. It's really a shame that original scene has been replace with a fairly conventional, missionary position love scene. I was hoping there was a separate "director's cut" edition somewhere, but I have not been able to find it.
Other than the toned-down sex scenes, it's a pretty good mystery-thriller, so I'll give it a three.
on July 2, 2003
Ned Racine (William Hurt) is an attorney who meets unhappily married sex siren Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner) in a bar (as happens in all good film noirs). As you'd guess from the title, sparks fly and soon Matty is trying to talk Ned into killing her wealthy husband played by Richard Crenna so Matty can inherit his money and the pair can elope. But their perfect crime (carried out during a summer heatwave, which gives the title its double meaning) turns out to have one foolish flaw....
BODY HEAT marked the directorial debut of Lawrence Kasdan who of course is famed for writing the screenplays for THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. Also written by Kasdan, BODY HEAT remains one of the most effective American film noirs ever lensed and one of the classic movies of the 1980s.
Kathleen Turner has what is possibly her best role and she has never been sexier or more alluring. Her nude scenes... WOW! After watching this the first thing male viewers will do is reach down to pick their lower jaws off the floor.
Also making appearances are my idol Mickey Rourke and Ted Danson, barely recognisable at first behind those thick nerdy glasses, which must have been hand-me-downs from Woody Allen's wardrobe department. That said, Danson does a fine job and Hurt is especially good here.
Slickly photographed, well acted and intelligently written, BODY HEAT at first seems derivative; but it unexpectedly changes direction and achieves the dramatic, emotional and suspenseful levels that make it a modern classic. If you haven't seen it yet, you owe it to yourself to get acquainted with BODY HEAT.
on June 17, 2003
Extremely well written, BODY HEAT is the first movie of Lawrence Kasdan who also wrote the screenplay of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK in the early eighties.
Homage to the "films noirs" of the 40-50's, BODY HEAT could have been shot by an Howard Hawks or a Raoul Walsh except for a few sexy scenes involving Kathleen Turner and William Hurt. Dialogs are very suggestive and erotic but not crude.
In fact, what's interesting in BODY HEAT is not what the characters have to say but the atmosphere of each scene. Since the beginning of the movie there is a perpetual fight between water and fire around these characters as if the elements symbolically duplicate the tragedy of the two lovers.
Kathleen Turner is a creature of the night surrounded by fog, whose teenage desire was to live by the sea, William Hurt, on the contrary, is always associated with fire, explosions, cigarettes and sunshine. Great work from Kasdan !
If only Hurt had known that, he would have understood that wet people do not burn.
An ice and fire DVD.
This film is simply top notch. With deft direction by Lawrence Kasdan, a stellar cast, and a clever, well thought out script written by the director himself, this is a moody, atmospheric film, reminiscent of those potboilers of the nineteen forties. Highly stylized, the film tautly maintains its tension and suspense.
The plot is simple, yet ingenious. In steamy, hot, and sultry coastal Florida, a beautiful blonde, unhappily married socialite, Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner), a veritable man trap with her smoky voice and Venus de Milo curves, meets a womanizing chump, Ned Racine (William Hurt), a small town, not too successful lawyer. He can't believe his luck when he hooks up with the wealthy Matty, as most of the women with whom he consorts work as waitresses, nurses, or in other service occupations. Better yet, the sexy, alluring Matty seems to want him as much as he wants her, and a torrid affair ensues.
Matty is married to a rapacious business man, Edmund Walker (Richard Crenna), whom Matty wants to have permanently removed. He is definitely a man with whom to reckon and the type of guy that takes no prisoners. He is, quite simply, a ruthless businessman, and the type of guy one loves to hate. He is also rich, very rich. Matty claims that she cannot divorce him without losing her wealthy life style, due to a draconian pre-nuptial agreement. Matty, in between huge dollops of steamy sex, does not hesitate to tell Ned how much she loves and wants him and that, were her husband to die, all that money would be theirs. Beneath her love goddess exterior, however, lies a mind like a steel trap.
As Matty slowly spins her web and ensnares Ned, like a mouse in a trap, he falls into lock step with Matty's homicidal plans. What he does not initially realize is the extent of Matty's perfidy and deceit, until it is too late. As the realization of what actually has happened begins slowly to dawn upon Ned, it is a thing of on screen beauty and an absolutely brilliant contrivance with which to push the film further along to its ultimate resolution. What initially appears to be just a film about sexual obsession turns out to be something quite different, with enough plot twists to keep the viewer riveted to the screen.
It is hard to believe that this was Ms. Turner's screen debut, so powerful a performance does she turn in. She is absolutely mesmerizing as the sexy siren with an agenda all her own. Just as she reels in Ned Racine, she reels in the viewer, as well, hook, line, and sinker. William Hurt is also terrific as the bottom of the barrel attorney who realizes too late that all is not what it seems. He approaches the role with the right amount of naivete, not letting the sleaze factor overwhelm the character. In the final analysis, there is a measure of sympathy for him, such as that for a little boy who is found with his hand caught inside the cookie jar, no easy feat given the nature of his character's actions.
A goofy looking Ted Danson is excellent in the small role of Peter Lowenstein, the State's attorney and Ned's friend, who suspects that Ned may be involved in the death of Edmund Walker. He, too, plays a game of cat and mouse with him. J. A. Preston is wonderful as Ned's friend and the detective investigator who follows the homicide investigation no matter where it leads. Mickey Rourke is very good as Ned's client and small time criminal, as well as a man who seems to have more sense than his lawyer.
This is a superlative film that is well worth having in one's collection. Bravo
on September 19, 2002
This is a very cleverly contrived sexploitation thriller, penned and directed by the talented Lawrence Kasdan. It stars Academy-Award winner (Kiss of the Spider Woman, 1985) William Hurt with a mustache and a dangling cigarette as Ned Racine, a not overly bright Florida lawyer smitten by Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner in her steamy film debut) a rich housewife with a husband she hates, and a yearning to breathe free. Shades of James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity, both triangle murder tales made into film noirs.
Kasdan is cribbing, but I forgive him since in some ways his film is an improvement on both the novels and the films they inspired, plus his is a kind of satire on those films with numerous witticisms. I especially liked it when Matty describes her husband, Edmund, a hard-nosed and successful financier played repulsively by Richard Crenna: "I can't stand the thought of him. He's small and mean and weak." Ned gives this some serious thought and then kisses her on the head like she's a good little girl.
Not too much later, after the first mention of the murder, immediately in the very next scene, Kasdan does a little foreshadowing with lawyer Ned visiting the jail. The steel door clangs shut behind him, startling him and causing him to jump in fright. I also liked the fog on the night of the murder, and I especially liked it when Ned, after putting the body in the trunk, closes the lid to reveal Matty standing there directly in our line of sight, a kind of visual witticism. I also liked the scene in which the lawyers are sitting around the varnished wood with Matty and the woman she has shrewdly cheated, and the lead lawyer asks if anyone would like to smoke. Everybody (except Ted Danson) eagerly and immediately lights up. Ted says he'll just breathe the air. This is a little in-joke satire by Kasdan on the fact that Hollywood movies of the day were financially encouraged by the tobacco companies to show the players happily puffing away as often as possible.
William Hurt really is excellent, almost as good as he was in Kiss of the Spider Woman, and that was very good indeed. Turner is completely believable as a voracious and greedy femme fatale with a wondrous criminal mind. The dialogue is sharp and clever throughout; especially interesting are the dueling "pick-up" rejoinders by Ned and Matty when they first meet. Noteworthy is the performance of Ted Danson of TV's "Cheers" fame as a prosecutor in black-rimmed specs. He has some spiffy lines of his own and he does a great job, as does Mickey Rourke as Teddy Lewis, Ned's fire-bombing buddy.
The plot twists are in some sense anticipated, but the exact nature of their unfolding is fascinating to watch. Indeed, Kasdan's snappy direction of his diabolically wicked tale is practically seamless. This is not to say that it was perfect. I have to point out that the scene in which Matty is in the tub with Ned and he dumps more ice cubes in to cool her off is a little on the contrived side since they surely had air conditioning. She claims to a natural body temperature of 100, reminding me of the classic rock lyric, "I'm hot-blooded, check it and see/I've got a temperature of a hundred and three." Also Matty's seduction of Ned was a little too fortuitous. I don't think she would have left so much to chance. But I liked the beginning anyway because it led us to believe that this would be a tale of sexual obsession (which in part it is) and not just an adulterous murder thriller. I also could not, even though I rewound the video, catch what was said in the final scene. (Probably that's just my ears going the way of the waist line.)