Body Heat – Deluxe Edition (1981, 2006)

by | Oct 30, 2006 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

Body Heat – Deluxe Edition (1981, 2006)

Starring William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, Richard Crenna
Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Studio: Warner Bros. 81378
Video: Enhanced for 16:9 widescreen, color
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, DD 2.0, French mono
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Extras: Lifted scenes; 3 New Featurettes = Body Heat: The Plan, The Production, The Post-production; Vintage interviews with Hurt & Turner; Theatrical trailer
Length: 113 minutes
Rating: ****

The term film noir is sometimes stretched a bit to fit some films both vintage and recent, but even though Body Heat is in Technicolor and takes place on the colorful Florida coast, it fits the terminology perfectly. It may be more passionate than most of the classic B&W noirs, but lead character Racine is clearly on his way to hell the moment he takes up with married femme fatale Matty. The plot of bumping off an unwanted husband echoes classics such as The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity, but Body Heat has a lot of original twists and turns, and those noirs didn’t have sex scenes anything like the ones between Hurt and Turner in this scorcher.

The studios have been giving their DVD extras extra attention lately in hopes of continually reissuing films with additional bonus materials in the package. In this case they seem well worth it.  It’s interesting to see both the original interviews with the stars and newly-photographed ones side by side. The three featurettes are well-done and don’t go on forever. The explorations of both the original script and the casting are informative viewing. Attention to the film music composer John Barry is also welcome.

Image quality is high, with good detail in the many dark areas of the picture without noticeable artifacts. Surround is used intelligently in several scenes; never expected that the sound of wind chimes would seem quite so suspenseful and threatening as it does in Body Heat. Barry’s noirish music is a perfect match. By the way, two interesting facts about the shoot are that due to scheduling priorities the very first scene that Hurt and Turner had to do – right after just meeting one another – was the most intimate sex scene of the film. And although the overly hot weather is a constant theme in the film and characters appear to be sweating heavily, it was actually shot during a Florida cold spell and the leads were often freezing in scanty clothing, with water being sprayed on them to pass for sweat.

– John Sunier

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