Monday, 21 October 2013

Dressed to Kill

There's no doubt that Director Brian De Palma has made some decent movies? Well he did make Scarface (1983)!!!! But Dressed to Kill (1980) is not really one of them. This so-called homage to Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) starts with a shower scene but this one is far more erotic than the one found in the Hitchcock film. It involves a naked Angie Dickinson body double and a bar of soap. Housewife and mother Kate Miller (Dickinson) is having problems with her sex life and is seeing a psychiatrist Dr Robert Elliott (Michael Caine). Upon entering a lift the highly sexed Mrs Miller meets her maker when she is sliced to death by a razor wielding blond. This horrendous crime is witnessed by a high priced call girl Liz Blake, played by Nancy Allen, who foolishly picks up the murder weapon and immediately becomes Detective Marino’s (Dennis Franz best known for his role of Andy Sipowicz in 261 episodes of NYPD Blues) prime suspect. With the help of Kate Millers son Peter (Keith Gordon) Liz Blake has to set out to clear her name by discovering who the blond murderess really is?
The razor wielding blond!
or the cigarette smoking blond who did the murder?
This combination of mystery, sex and gore suffers from a strangely dull and implausible narrative, in fact a thriller that does not thrill. Not helped by the corny acting,  a relatively unconvincing outing for De Palma that takes itself far too seriously. But it did do very well at the box office and revived Michael Caine’s acting career after a run of movie disasters. It was originally released in the UK around the time of the Yorkshire Ripper murders and it was suggested that it encouraged the murders and in turn the distributers were lobbied to withdraw the film from the North of England. When Peter Sutcliffe was finally arrested he was asked if he had ever seen the film, he had not, mind you I can’t blame him!

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