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Body heat (1981) belongs to Hollywood classic.

William Hurt brilliantly plays inept but handsome criminal lawyer Ned Racine who gets pulled into an affair with married woman Matty (played by Kathleen Turner). She has a solution to all of their woes when she suggests they murder her wealthy husband (Richard Crenna).

"Body Heat" recalls films like "The Postman Always Rings Twice" with its noir plot but has its own unique twists and turns. 

"Body Heat" paved the way for "Fatal Attraction" and (much weaker) "Basic Instinct".

He doesn't play Ned as dumb, he plays him as vain and lazy. This is the perfect choice. Matty takes full advantage of his weaknesses, and by the time he figures it all out, it's far too late. Had he been merely stupid, she would have come off as merely cruel, rather than as complex and calculating.

Body Heat involves murder, fraud, a weak hero led astray and a seductive, double-dealing female.

The movie open with the impressive scene (8:20). Watch the dialog:

Matty: "You're not too smart. I like that in a man"

Ned: What else to you like? Lazy? Ugly? Horny? I got'em all.

Matty: You don't look lazy

The second interesting scene is meeting in cafe (13:00) when Matty slaps Ned.  As a disguise to get onlookers off track and realizing that he got into her net. See also a scene on Youtube: Body Heat 1981 William Hurt, Kathleen turner - YouTube

Scene at 31:00 also deserve some attention in the category "wrong assumptions"

Another good scene is at 39:00 and 41:22

Scene at 44:00 does not look very convincing. Criminal lawyer usually know quite a bit about risks of such an action.

The Plot

Body Heat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

During a particularly intense Florida heatwave, inept lawyer Ned Racine (William Hurt) begins an affair with Matty (Kathleen Turner), the wife of wealthy businessman Edmund Walker (Richard Crenna). They go to great lengths to keep their affair a secret, but Ned carelessly propositions an old school friend of Matty, Mary Ann Simpson (Kim Zimmer), thinking she was Matty. Matty soon makes it clear to Ned that she wants to leave Edmund but also wants his money, explaining that a divorce would leave her with very little due to their prenuptial agreement. Racine suggests the only option is to kill Edmund. While planning the murder, Ned consults one of his shadier clients, Teddy Lewis (Mickey Rourke), an expert on incendiary devices, who supplies him with a bomb.

Racine drives to the Walker estate at night to kill Edmund. He places the body in an abandoned building in which Edmund had a business interest, and uses the incendiary device to make it look like he died during a botched arson job. Ned is contacted by Edmund's lawyer about a new will that Racine supposedly drew up on Edmund's behalf, which was witnessed by Mary Ann Simpson. The new will is so poorly prepared it is declared null and void, resulting in Matty inheriting the entire fortune. Matty later admits to Ned that she forged the will.

Two of Ned's friends, assistant deputy prosecutor Peter Lowenstein (Ted Danson) and police detective Oscar Grace (J.A. Preston) begin to suspect Ned of involvement with Matty in her husband's death. The men reveal to Ned that Edmund's steel-rim glasses, which he always wore, were not on him at the time of the explosion, and are nowhere to be found. Mary Ann Simpson has also disappeared. Nervous about the will, the glasses, the suspicions of the police, and Matty's loyalty, Ned happens upon a lawyer who once sued him over a mishandled legal case. The lawyer reveals that to make amends, he recommended Ned to Matty Walker, and admits to telling her about Ned's lack of competence as a lawyer.

Lowenstein warns Ned that someone kept calling his hotel room on the night of the murder but never got an answer, thereby weakening his alibi. Lewis tells Ned that a woman came to him for another incendiary device, and he showed her how to booby trap a door. Matty calls Ned to tell him the glasses are in the boathouse on the Walker estate. Ned goes to the boathouse late at night and sees a long twisted wire attached to the door. When Matty shows up, Ned confronts her at gunpoint and tells her to get the glasses. Matty walks toward the boathouse and disappears from view; the boathouse explodes. Grace finds a body that is identified as Matty Walker (née Tyler) through dental records.

Now in prison, Ned tries to convince Grace that Matty is still alive, laying out for him the scenario that the woman he knew as "Matty" assumed the identity of Matty Tyler in order to marry Edmund and get his money. The woman Ned knew as "Mary Ann Simpson" discovered this and played along but was then murdered and her body left in the boathouse. Had Ned been killed by entering the boathouse, the police would have found both suspects dead, and "Matty" would have gotten away with the money.

Remembering that Matty told him when and where she had attended high school in Illinois, Ned writes to the school asking for the yearbook. Ned finds the pictures of Mary Ann Simpson and Matty Tyler, confirming his suspicion that Mary Ann Simpson stole Matty Tyler's identity, eventually becoming Matty Walker. Below the real Matty's picture is the nickname "Smoocher" and "Ambition—To Graduate"; below Mary Ann's is the nickname "The Vamp", swim-team membership, and "Ambition—To be rich and live in an exotic land".

Mary Ann is last seen seated on a comfortable chair on the beach of a tropical island. Reclining beside her is a young man. Mary Ann puts on her sunglasses, which have tinted lenses conspicuously set in the distinctive frames of the missing glasses of her dead husband.


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[Apr 07, 2016] Body Heat (1981)

Rotten Tomatoes

Lawrence Kasdan's first directorial effort is a throwback to the early days of film noir. The scene is a beastly hot Florida coastal town, where naive attorney Ned (William Hurt) is entranced by the alluring Matty (Kathleen Turner in her film debut). Ned is manipulated into killing Matty's much older husband (Richard Crenna), the plan being that Ned's knowledge of legal matters will enable both conspirators to escape scott-free. This might have been the case, had not Matty been infinitely craftier than the cloddish Ned. Just when it seems as though the film has run out of plot twists, we're handed yet another surprise.

While Body Heat involves murder, fraud, a weak hero led astray and a seductive, double-dealing broad, it also incorporates something new: a sexual explicitness that the old films could only hint at.

Ned: You better take me up on this quick. In about 45 minutes, I'm going to give up and go away.

I'd been told Body Heat was a fantastic movie, but before watching it for myself I had my doubts. First, I was never a big Kathleen Turner fan. Also, it just didn't look like a movie that could entertain me for two hours. I'm glad to say I was wrong. Kathleen Turner turned in an amazing performance as Matty Walker and the movie was not lacking in entertainment and suspense. It had it all. It was an erotic, suspenseful crime-thriller.

Watching Turner and Hurt on the screen together was real joy. This was Turner's first role and Hurt's second, but they looked like veterans on the screen. Their chemistry was spot on perfect and left you satisfied with their relationship. Ted Danson turned in a nice little supporting role as Ned's(Willaim Hurt) best friend. Although he wasn't on screen all that much, when he was, he played his role really well.

The story seems pretty straight forward and I thought the movie was going to go the length without a twist. I thought it was going to be a what you see is what you get movie. That however isn't the case in the end. The film didn't cheat with it's twist though. It makes sense and if you think back, you can see how this could have happened. It's a real testament to both the filmmaker and to both Hurt and Turner.

Lawrence Kasden, in his film debut also, weaves a very compelling and believable noir. Hurt and Turner look so authentic together that you think their relationship is real. The way they look at each other. The way they talk to each other. The way they touch each other. It all looks so genuine and realistic, that I almost forgot I was watching a movie altogether.

Body Heat is a masterpiece in every single conceivable way. It is influenced by the film noir's of the 40's and 50's and that influence is easily seen. Even in a 1980's setting the 40 and 50's influences don't seem out of place. Everything works so well together. The dialogue, settings, music, performances, and even the way the smoldering heat of Florida is used. It all fits together in the most perfect way to make an amazing film experience.

[Apr 07, 2016] Body Heat (Deluxe Edition)

Starting William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, Richard Crenna, Ted Danson, J.A. Preston, Mickey Rourke,
Amazon.com
Wayne Klein, HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 30, 2006
Review of new edition of "Body Heat" is it worth it? Yep.

Matty: "You're not too smart. I like that in a man"
Ned: What else to you like? Lazy? Ugly? Horny? I got'em all.
Matty: You don't look lazy.

Finally upgraded on DVD this top notch film noir looks better better than the previous edition on DVD. It isn't perfect (image appears a bit soft at times but part of that was intentionally due to the soft diffuse photography by Richard Kline the other part of that could be due to the interpostive negative aging)We can practically see the heat and humidity sweat through the TV screen. It also has some very nice extras for fans of the film. John Barry's sultry score sounds rich and creamy in the 5.1 remix on this disc.

William Hurt plays criminal lawyer Ned Racine who gets pulled into an affair with married woman Matty (Kathleen Turner). She has a solution to all of their woes when she suggests they murder her wealthy husband (Richard Crenna). Featuring strong performances from a top notch supporting cast including Mickey Rourke and Ted Danson "Body Heat" recalls films like "The Postman Always Rings Twice" with its noir plot but has its own unique twists and turns.

The previous edition had very little in the way of extras. This re-release includes three featurettes on the production of the film covering everything from pre-production to post -production. We find out for example that George Lucas personally agreed to underwrite any budget overruns but did so quietly without telling Kasdan and did it on his own accord. Also Alan Ladd Jr. insisted that Hurt shave his mustache as he felt it made him look too sleazy (precisely the point). Kasdan just went ahead and shot it his way. After they saw the dalies they never complained about it again.Read more ›

4 Comments 51 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 15, 2002

AFI's Great Love Stories: #94 Body Heat

The most important thing you need to know is that most of the women I know consider "Body Heat" to be the sexiest movie they have ever seen. Now, I do not feel that way, but I am pretty sure I can explain the difference in judgment. Then again, writer-director Lawrence Kasdan created sexual tension between Princess Leia and Han Solo, so we should not be surprised at what he can accomplish in a galaxy closer to home.

Attorney Ned Racine (William Hurt) is one of those lawyers whose life is in cruise control, the sort that usually find redemption in those John Grisham novels. Instead he meets Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner), a sexual siren with a well-to-do husband who leads him willingly down the path of damnation. Kasdan gets credit for taking 1940s film noir in which love goes terribly wrong and bringing it into the sexually provocative 1980s, but it is Turner who breaths the fire and passion into this film: Think Lauren Bacall's throaty voice put into the sculptured body of a sex goddess and covered in the sweat of a hot and humid Southern summer night.

The plot takes some delicious twists and turns as well. "Body Heat" paved the way for every every other sick and twisted tale of bad love to come down the road since, from "Fatal Attraction" to "Basic Instinct" and beyond.

Most Romantic Lines: "You're not very bright, are you? I like that in a man." That pretty much sums up this film's idea of "romance."
If you like "Body Heat," then check out these other films on AFI's list: #49 "The Postman Always Rings Twice" and #84 "Double Indemnity." Why? Because they are also movies where a guy meets the sort of gal he would kill to be with--and he does.

Michael B on July 27, 2000

This is Great Noir with the gloves off!

Lawrence Kasdan has done a lot of great stuff as a writer (a small, indie film called Raiders of the Lost Ark comes to mind) but in Body Heat he demonstrates a great touch with the 40's noir style as a director.

Kathleen Turner sizzles, and I mean sizzles, as a smart, ruthless, greedy, and incredibly hot married women who's can't hide her lying eyes. William Hurt is naive, innocent, and believably dumb as her intrepid lover/lawyer/sap.

I dont' want to spoil too much of the plot, but it's dark, atmospheric, and well directed with great lighting that only the dvd shows well. The vhs version is terrible. Pan and scan ruins films like this one, and shadows used this effectively need dvd.

You'll like this film if you like noir, or if you just like exciting murder/romance stories, or even if you just like steamy love scenes. It's got it all.

Matthew Horner on April 13, 2002

A sexy, superb thriller

"Body Heat" is one of my all-time favorite thrillers. It's literate, suspenseful, well-acted, beautiful photographed, reasonably believable, and very, very sexy. What more could you want?
The movie is an excellent example of film noir; however, since it was released thirty years after that genre's heyday, some critics originally dismissed it as a "Double Indemnity' knockoff. Indeed, it does closely resemble that Billy Wilder classic, and, as Roger Ebert noted, it's hard to make a modern film noir. Back in the late 1940s and early 1950s, such movies didn't have this label applied to them. The filmmakers didn't know they were creating something unique in these mostly `B' pictures. These films were most likely a byproduct of Post-WWII cynicism.

Still, the genre has been successfully revived from time to time. Robert Altman's "The Long Goodbye" (1973) comes to mind.

I think writer/director Lawrence Kasden would readily admit that his movie is partly a homage to all those earlier dark thrillers, but, even so, he takes the genre and makes it his own. The many ways he conjures up the image of heat serve as a textbook for novice filmmakers who need lessons in style. Ditto the way he depicts the numerous sexual encounters between William Hurt and Kathleen. We see lots and lots of skin and sweat, but there is not a single frame of gratuitous nudity, at least as I define the term. Ditto the way that every subordinate character is there only to move the plot along, yet at the same time is a memorable one.

Kathleen Turner shows here, in her first movie, why she became a major star in the 1980s. She is sultry and sexy, a true femme fatale. She has bits and pieces of Lana Turner, Veronica Lake and Barbara Stanwyck in her, but, with that incredible voice, she is a one of a kind. She becomes her character, Matty Walker. From the moment we first see her, we are fascinated, intimidated and uneasy. This in one smart, powerful woman.

On the surface, it seems like the story is all from Ned Racine's [Hurt] point of view, but it is equally Matty's tale. As Racine, Hurt is great. He doesn't play Ned as dumb, he plays him as vain and lazy. This is the perfect choice. Matty takes full advantage of his deficits, and by the time he figures it all out, it's far too late. Had he been merely stupid, she would have come off as merely cruel, rather than as complex and calculating.

Oh, and the plot? I don't want to say too much. The locale is South Florida during a dreadful heat wave. Ned is a womanizing attorney whom nobody respects but everyone likes. One night he is hanging out at the beach and sees Matty. Its lust at first sight. She plays it cool and hard to get. He persists, and one night she relents. She lets him know she's not just beautiful. She's rich and unhappily married. His wheels start spinning. He comes up with a plan to solve all their problems. At least he thinks he's the one who came up with it.
I highly recommend this movie to people who love a good adult thriller. The DVD has almost no special features, and I hope one day Kasden and others will be involved in a special edition.

But it's a very inexpensive DVD that's well worth the money. The film transfer is very decent. I believe the movie originally was in stereo, but these tracks seem to have been lost. Since it's a character-driven piece, this doesn't affect one's enjoyment of the film, though hopefully the tracks will one day be restored.

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