Body Heat: Deluxe Edition

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Ned Racine (William Hurt) is a small time lawyer in the small time town of Miranda Beach. He isn’t just small time, he is also not that good and isn’t above bending the law to suit his needs. But he doesn’t need to be honest or skilled to make ends meet and since his profession pays well, he has no qualms about his ethics. Beyond that, his income allows him to be a success with the ladies and more often than not, he beds a different woman each night. Not high class women, mind you, but to Ned, a woman is a woman and since he isn’t looking to settle down, he doesn’t keep high standards. He also don’t hesitate to take a married woman into his bed, as happens when he meets Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner). She is the wife of a wealthy businessman and as soon as she meets Ned, the sparks fly and in large doses. She leads him on a little, but soon gives in and from that point on, the two rarely bother to put their clothes back on. But even as they indulge their every sexual desire, the issue of the husband remains pertinent. After a while, Matty confesses that she hates her husband and wouldn’t mind if he was dead, especially since then she and Ned could be together without a care in the world. But when Ned decides to make that happen, has he made a decision he will live to regret?

If you’re a fan of film noir, then you are bound to have seen Body Heat, Lawrence Kasdan’s 1981 tribute to 1940s style noir. If you think the movie is similar to Double Indemnity, then you’d be right, but of course, it isn’t up to that level. Body Heat has the elements we want in a good film noir, like mystery, tension, doomed romance, and plenty of surprises, but spins it all into an updated concoction. You’d never see this kind of sexual content in the 40s films, so the sex side of the coin is more immediate. What used to be done off screen and rarely even referenced now takes place right in front of our eyes. I’m not sure if that helps or hinders the noir aspect, but I won’t complain about naked female flesh, you can be sure of that. The sex does add a thick atmosphere of lust, which in turn impacts the rest of the movie. Kasdan is able to pay tribute to the classic noirs without coming off as parody, which isn’t an easy task. He is a little over the top at times with his noir elements, but all in all, he balances things well enough. Body Heat has a good throwback style storyline, impressive performances, and some hot sex, what else could we want? I don’t consider it a classic or even a great motion picture, but Body Heat is a good movie and is recommended on all fronts.

Video: How does it look?

Body Heat is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. I wasn’t that impressed with this transfer, but the case states the transfer was approved by Kasdan. As such, I have to assume that what I saw as flaws were really part of his grand design for the visuals. The image is soft and inconsistent in all regards, so if this is what Kasdan wanted, I question his logic. The visuals are very soft and vary in that softness, with some scenes even looking buried under a thick layer of fuzziness. On the same line, the colors and contrast are both varied in appearance, so black levels are sometimes too dark and colors show variance as well. Perhaps this is how the movie is supposed to look, but even so, I can’t give this transfer a high score.

Audio: How does it sound?

A Dolby Digital 5.1 option is on hand, but don’t expect to have your surrounds put to much use. The rear channels aren’t given much at all to do here, though to be fair, the soundtrack doesn’t suffer as a result. The presence is limited however, so perhaps a little more effort could have yielded a more immersive experience, but who knows. What is here sounds more than decent, but this is an 80s movie, early 80s no less, so you shouldn’t expect power and depth here. The sound effects come across well and while atmosphere isn’t that memorable, I didn’t hear any kind of errors or serious problems. I also found dialogue to problem free, with clean and clear vocals from start to finish. This disc also includes a French language track, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The main attraction here is a trio of new featurettes, which cover all three stages of production, though not in great detail. Even so, these brief pieces do give us some insight into how Body Heat was brought to the screen, so fans should be pleased. This disc also includes some deleted scenes, vintage interviews, and of course, the film’s theatrical trailer.

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