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Dressed to Kill(1980)
After wife and mother Kate Miller discusses her sexual frustrations with her psychiatrist, she goes to meet her husband at a museum. At the museum, she meets a strange man who she follows to a cab and then has sex with him at his apartment. After the affair, Kate is brutally murdered in the elevator by a blonde woman with a razor. A blonde prostitute named Liz caught a brief glimpse of the killer, but when she comes forward with this information, she becomes the prime suspect to the police and the next victim to the murderer and Liz teams up with Kate's son to find the real killer.
For more about Dressed to Kill and the Dressed to Kill Blu-ray release, see Dressed to Kill Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on November 22, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson, Nancy Allen, Keith Gordon, Dennis Franz, David Margulies
Director: Brian De Palma
» See full cast & crew
Dressed to Kill Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, November 22, 2012
Brian De Palma 's "Dressed to Kill" a.k.a "Pulsions" (1980) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of French distributors Carlotta Films. The supplemental features on the disc include original trailer for the film; short introduction to the film by writer Samuel Blumenfeld; video interview with producer George Litto; video interview with actress Angie Dickinson; video interview with actress actress Nancy Allen; documentary film by Robert Fischer, featuring actor and director Keith Gordon; and more. In English, with optional French subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
Kate Miller (Angie Dickinson, Rio Bravo, Ocean's 11) is a frustrated New York housewife who has strange fantasies. In the film's opening sequence she is raped by an unknown man while showering. She screams but her husband can't hear her, even though he is also in the bathroom, slowly shaving his face. Sometime after that Kate makes love to him - and pretends that she likes it.
When Kate sees Dr. Elliott (Michael Caine, Pulp), she confesses to him that her sex life is hugely disappointing. She wants more but does not know how to tell her husband. When Dr. Elliott encourages her to be brave and talk to him, she asks if he ever wanted to make love to her.
Not long after her session with Dr. Elliott, Kate visits the Museum of Modern Art. While taking notes, an attractive man (Ken Baker) sits next to her. She drops her glove, he picks it up, and later on the two make love in a taxicab while the driver watches. They finish what they have started in his apartment. Before she leaves, Kate discovers that the man has a venereal disease. In the building's elevator, a blond woman wearing dark sunglasses cuts her throat with a razor. The murder is witnessed by Liz (Nancy Allen, Blow Out, 1941), a beautiful prostitute, who has been entertaining a client from Cleveland.
In the days that follow, Liz is questioned by detective Marino (Dennis Franz, Body Double) who warns her that she is his prime suspect and in a couple of days will end up behind bars – unless she helps him track down the blond woman with the dark sunglasses. Liz is also approached by Kate's son, Peter (Keith Gordon, The Legend of Billie Jean), who has been working on an exciting new device for the city's upcoming science championship.
Hitchcock's influence can easily be felt but the film most definitely has an identity of its own. Its attitude towards sex, in particular, gives it an edge that no other mainstream American film from the early '80s has.
Brian De Palma's direction is flawless. The film flows, never stumbling or overwhelming with an attitude. There is sleaze and there is gore but they are perfectly mixed, effectively adding to the tense atmosphere not detracting from it. Each sequence is expertly shot – the camera moves and the manner in which shadow, light and color are utilized ought to be studied by aspiring young directors.
De Palma's script is also first-class. Virtually all of the exchanges between the actors are full of incredibly sharp lines. When they remain silent, the camera carefully studies their faces or spends time observing object that would reveal what the viewer needs to know about them. There is absolutely no fluff.
The film has many stars, but Dickinson impresses the most. What she manages to accomplish for the short period of time she is in front of the camera is quite remarkable. The museum sequence, in particular, where she follows the man is truly amongst the best of its kind. Allen and Caine are also outstanding in their respective roles. Franz, still looking very young and slim, is absolutely hilarious as the cocky detective.
Dressed to Kill was lensed by cinematographer Ralf D. Bode (John Badham's Saturday Night Fever, Jack Fisk's Violets are Blue...). The film's soundtrack is by long-time De Palma collaborator Pino Donaggio (Carrie, Blow Out, Body Double).
Dressed to Kill Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.34:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Brian De Palma's Dressed to Kill arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of French distributors Carlotta Films.
The high-definition transfer appears awfully similar to the one MGM used for their Blu-ray release of the film in the U.S. Only compression could be slightly better on this French release.
Depth and detail are pleasing throughout the entire film. Some softness is occasionally present but it could be easily traced back to the film's principal photography. There are no traces of excessive densoising and sharpening corrections. Unsurprisingly, light grain is often very easy to spot. Color reproduction is also convincing - the light browns, blues, greens, grays and blacks remain stable. This being said, some extremely light noise occasionally creeps in but it never becomes distracting. Serious purely transfer-specific anomalies, such as banding and aliasing, are nowhere to be seen. Lastly, there are no large cuts, damage marks, debris, or stains to report in this review. All in all, this is a competent, very convincing presentation of Brian De Palma's classic film. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Dressed to Kill Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are three standard audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0, English Master Audio 5.1, and French DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0. For the record, Carlotta Films have provided optional French subtitles for the main feature. When turned on, they appear inside the image frame.
The inclusion of the original mono track is a major bonus, even though the English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is also very good. I experimented with the two since the U.S. release does not have the original mono track and must say that the mono track serves the film very well. Depth and dynamic movement are very good (in fact, surprisingly good for a mono track). The dialog is clean, stable, crisp, and easy to follow.
Dressed to Kill Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Dressed to Kill Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Fans of Brian De Palma's Dressed to Kill should definitely consider importing Carlotta Films' Blu-ray release. Not only does it include the original mono track, but it also has a very good selection of supplemental features. The long video interviews are very interesting. I especially liked the one with Angie Dickinson, as she discusses in great detail her contribution to Dressed to Kill and the type of taboos the film broke. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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