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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 July 2, 2013 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, July 2, 2013
Brian De Palma 's "Dressed to Kill" (1980) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Arrow Video. The supplemental features on the disc include original trailer for the film; in-depth look at the differences between the Unrated, Rated-R, and Network versions of the film; 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. The release also arrives with a 36-page collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic and author Maitland McDonagh, illustrated with original archive stills and promotional material, as well as a reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Nathanel Marsh. In English, with optional English SDH 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 British distributors Arrow Video.
The following text appears inside the booklet included with this release:
"Dressed to Kill was transferred from a 35mm interpositive. The film was transferred in High Definition on a Spirit Datacine at the Post Group in Hollywood, California. The audio was transferred from an original 35mm mono mag. This work was managed by David Sargent and Mary Grace Nicolas for MGM.
I did not see any sizable discrepancies between Carlotta Films' release of Dressed to Kill and this new release from Arrow Video. Generally speaking, detail and clarity are consistently very pleasing. Some softness is present, but as I noted in our review of the French release it could easily be traced back to the film's principal photography. There are no traces of excessive deraining or sharpening corrections. Some light noise occasionally creeps in but it never becomes distracting. Color reproduction is pleasing. Lastly, there are no serious stability issues to report in this review. Also, there are no large cuts, splices, damage marks, or stains. All in all, I think that this is a competent and pleasing presentation of Brian De Palma's classic thriller that should make its fans happy. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray release. 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 two standard audio tracks on this Blu-ray release: English LPCM 2.0 and English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. For the record, Arrow Video have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. When turned on, they split the image frame and the black bar below it.
I think that the English LPCM 2.0 track is outspreading. Some viewers will likely choose the 5.1 track, which is also quite good, but the LPCM 2.0 track gives the film the period feel it needs. Depth, clarity, and overall dynamic movement are indeed very good. Pino Donaggio's score, in particular, benefits a great deal from the lossless treatment. The dialog is clean, stable, and easy to follow.
Dressed to Kill Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Dressed to Kill Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I like this new release of Brian De Palma's Dressed to Kill quite a lot. It looks just as good as the U.S. and French Blu-ray releases, but it has the most impressive selection of supplemental features. It also comes with a nice promo card highlighting Arrow Video's upcoming Blu-ray releases of Brian De Palma's The Fury, Sisters, and Phantom of the Paradise. I cannot wait to see what supplemental features these releases will have. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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