Body Heat

As the temperature rises, the suspense begins.

Crime Thriller Romance
113 min     7.053     1981     USA


In the midst of a searing Florida heat wave, a woman convinces her lover, a small-town lawyer, to murder her rich husband.


John Chard wrote:
I hope you haven't done us in?‏ Warning: Spoilers Body Heat is written and directed by Lawrence Kasdan and stars William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, Richard Crenna, Ted Danson, J.A. Preston and Mickey Rourke. Music is scored by John Barry and cinematography by Richard H. Cline. Plot sees Hurt as small time Florida lawyer Ned Racine who falls in love and lust with smouldering babe Matty Walker (Turner). Trouble is is that she is married, and as the affair grows more torrid, the pair begin to hatch plans to kill the husband (Crenna) so as to be together and get very rich in the process... Well some can chide it for its debt to Double Indemnity, or even glance scornfully at Kasdan for using sex to sell his reinvention of amoral noirs of the 40s and 50s, but it stands tall and proud in my book of best neo-noirs produced. Causing quite a stir upon its release, Body Heat under Kasdan's watchful eye has most things right for a nod to the glory days of film noir. Male protagonist caught in a lusty web of deceit and murder, femme fatale so smouldering her skin literally does burn, twists and turns in the narrative, photography keeping it down low on light but expanding the colours for extra lurid effect, and a score that fuses seedy like jazz with low Bondian base strains that suddenly get attacked by a shrill to outline the hapless Racine's imploding panic. The dialogue, too, is devilish, especially when delivered so sensually by Turner's crafty honey, a lady bridging the gap between Lauren Bacall and Jessica Rabbit. Yep! Body Heat has it all going on. That was her special gift, she was relentless. Basically Kasdan has brought to life the suggestion involved of something like Double Indemnity, and set it in a sweltering modern day Florida. Free of any code restrictions, he unleashes the sex between the two principals and wraps his biting story around it. It's never sordid or done for the sake of selling tickets, it expertly realises the passion, trickery, and even genuine love? That's going on between Matty and Ned. Helps, too, that Turner and Hurt are terrific in performance and chemistry, while the support cast, courtesy of well thought out writing, really flesh out the plot. There's a problem for genre fans that stop it being a masterpiece all told, that of there being no shock factor come the finale reveal, but the slow boil to the outcome is positively gripping. While the visual views we get of Matty in the final frames leave a question tantalisingly hanging in the air... Slick and sexy, tricky and teetering, Body Heat stokes the fires of noir conventions of old with some style. 9/10