Dressed To Kill

1980, Movie, R, 105 mins


All dressed up with no script to go, but a feverish nerve jangler nonetheless. Kate (Dickinson) is a sexually dissatisfied middle-aged housewife who fantasizes about erotic encounters while in the shower. Kate's sympathetic psychiatrist (Caine) advises her to indulge in an extra-marital affair. Immediately after her first tryst, however, Kate is cornered in an elevator and murdered by a leather-clad blonde wielding a straight razor. Now it is up to Kate's son (Gordon) to solve the murder with the help of the prostitute (Allen) who discovered his mom's corpse. Although heavily indebted to Alfred Hitchcock, Mario Bava, and Dario Argento, De Palma infused this film with enough sex, blood, and visual panache to make it a big hit at the box office. Gushingly praised by some critics at the time of its release, it now seems a definite case of cinematic style over substance. A slightly longer and more explicit version was released in Europe, mainly for fans of Angie Dickinson's stand-in. But it's probably Dickinson's best work, and Caine is fine indeed. Best surprises: between subway cars, and that nurse's shoe! leave a comment

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