BODY HEAT. (1981) WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY LAWRENCE KASDAN. INSPIRED BY THE FILM ‘DOUBLE INDEMNITY’ FROM 1944. MUSIC BY JOHN BARRY.
STARRING KATHLEEN TURNER, WILLIAM HURT, RICHARD CRENNA, TED DANSON, J.A. PRESTON, KIM ZIMMER AND MICKEY ROURKE. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
Mmmm, this is a steamy one. A hot ‘n’ heavy, sweaty, sultry steamy one, and I ain’t just talking about the weather, either. This is a great sexy film inspired by the brilliant film noirs of the 1940s, in particular DOUBLE INDEMNITY, one of the best examples of that genre ever.
Starring Fred MacMurray as the insurance salesman, Edward G. Robinson as the phony claims investigator and Barbara Stanwyck as the sexy housewife who wants her hubby bumped off for the money, DOUBLE INDEMNITY was directed by Billy SOME LIKE IT HOT Wilder and based on the superb novel by James M. Cain. He also wrote MILDRED PIERCE and THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE. That’s quite an impressive back catalogue…!
Anyway, I probably shouldn’t have re-watched BODY HEAT right-slap-bang in the middle of Ireland’s annual heatwave. It happens every July for a couple of weeks and it’s miserable. The sweat would be pouring off you from the moment you get up to the time you crash into bed at night, hot and disgruntled. Tempers flare and people argue and behave all out-of-character until Senor Sol (the fuppin’ baxterd!) packs his bags and fecks off again for another year. A bit like in BODY HEAT.
This super-sexy movie set during a Florida heatwave did nothing to help me cool down. Rather, it got me all hot ‘n’ bothered and sent my temperature soaring upwards as I followed the twists and turns of the plot in my underwear with the sweat dripping off me. Yeah, I know. That’s a sexy image, right guys? Haha. Control yourselves, you horny lot, and let’s gab about the fillum…
This was the magnificent Kathleen Turner’s movie debut. She plays Matty Walker, the sex-bomb of an unhappy housewife who wants to kill her hubby and keep all his money for herself. Although some critics have condemned her performance as being a tad wooden, there’s no denying that she’s the hottest ticket in town as far as sex and sexuality are concerned.
She positively sizzles as she seduces and manipulates poor old lawyer Ned Racine, who can’t be blamed for anything he does because obviously he’s being influenced by his wiener-brain and not his head-brain, haha. Everyone knows that blokes can’t help what they do where sex and wimmin are concerned…!
Anyway, this film launched Kathleen Turner as a sort of sexy siren of an actress who, in 1995, was named by EMPIRE magazine as ‘One Of The 100 Sexiest Stars In Film History,’ which is quite a nice little accolade to have under your belt. THE NEW YORK TIMES wrote of her in 2005 that:
‘Propelled by her jaw-dropping movie debut in BODY HEAT, she built a career on adventurousness and frank sexuality born of robust physicality.’
I agree totally with this assessment. So too, probably, would anyone who’s ever seen her in films like ROMANCING THE STONE (1983), THE JEWEL OF THE NILE (1985) and THE WAR OF THE ROSES (1989), which prove exactly how physically robust she is. There’s something very sexy about a nice well-built healthy woman who can do a few cartwheels in the bedroom.
She and Michael Douglas made a great team, incidentally. My favourite role of hers, though, apart from the Matty Walker one, was as Chandler Bing’s cross-dressing Dad in FRIENDS. Yes, I said ‘Dad…!’ She and the gloriously bitchy and glamorous Morgan Fairchild did a bang-up job as Chandler’s warring parents. God, I loved that show…!(#imissthenineties)
It’s obvious to the viewers that Matty is selfish, self-absorbed and ruthless in her quest to get what she wants. Does she ever really love Ned, the man she convinces to do her dirty work for her, or is he just a pawn in her game? There’s no doubt that she’s genuinely sexually attracted to him, the little hussy. Mind you, William Hurt’s gorgeous in this, as he is in everything. I especially fancied him as investigator Arkady Renko in GORKY PARK (1983). There’s just something so sexy (in an understated way) about him always.
Ted Danson, otherwise known as flirtatious bar-owner Sam Malone from brilliant ‘Eighties sitcom CHEERS, does a brilliant job here as the tap-dancing prosecutor. He knows he has to do his job, which means nailing Ned, but he hates the fact that it’s his best mate he’s persecuting-slash-prosecuting. He desperately doesn’t want Ned to be guilty but, hey, things are what they are.
A ridiculously young-looking Mickey Rourke doesn’t do a whole lot for me as Ned’s former client who’s willing to sort him out with a bomb. Yes, a bomb, believe it or not. I can see why other women would fancy him, though. Me personally, I prefer greasy-haired, sweaty Ned…
The music is sexy and atmospheric, the steam from the intense, life-sapping heat literally hangs over the city like a sticky mist and every performance is a winner. I’ve no complaints about this film. The sex is hot, the dialogue is sharp and the sweat that drips from the brow of every actor is all too real. Watch this film every chance you get, but don’t do what I did and re-watch it in the middle of a bloody heatwave. It doesn’t help…!
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:
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