To condemn Dressed to Kill
as a Hitchcock rip-off is to miss the sheer enjoyment of Brian De Palma's delirious thriller. Homages to Hitchcock run rampant through most of De Palma's earlier films, and this one's chock-full of visual quotes, mostly cribbed from Vertigo
. But De Palma's indulgent depravity transcends simple mimicry to assume a vitality all its own. It's smothered in thickly atmospheric obsessions with sex, dread, paranoia, and voyeurism, not to mention a heavy dose of Psycho
-like psychobabble about a wannabe transsexual who is compelled to slash up any attractive female who reminds him--the horror--that he's still very much a man.
Angie Dickinson plays the sexually unsatisfied, forty-something wife who's the killer's first target, relaying her sexual fantasies to her psychiatrist (Michael Caine) before actually living one of them out after the film's celebrated cat-and-mouse sequence in a Manhattan art museum. The focus then switches to a murder witness (De Palma's then-girlfriend Nancy Allen) and Dickinson's grieving whiz-kid son (Keith Gordon), who attempt to solve the murder while staying one step ahead (or so they think) of the crude detective (Dennis Franz) assigned to the case. Propelled by Pino Donaggio's lush and stimulating score, De Palma's visuals provide seductive counterpoint to his brashly candid dialogue, and the plot conceals its own implausibility with morbid thrills and intoxicating suspense. If you're not laughing at De Palma's shameless audacity, you're sure to be on the edge of your seat. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
THE LATEST FASHION IN MURDER
After sexually frustrated housewife Kate Miller (Angie Dickinson) has a session with her psychiatrist Dr Elliott (Michael Caine), she silently seduces a man in an art gallery, an assignation that ends in murder and the only witness, high-class prostitute Liz Blake (Nancy Allen) being stalked by the killer in turn.
One of Brian De Palma's darkest and most controversial suspense thrillers, Dressed to Kill was as acclaimed for its stylish set-pieces and lush Pino Donaggio score as it was condemned for its sexual explicitness and blatant borrowings from Alfred Hitchcock in general and Psycho in particular.
But the glee with which De Palma turns this material inside out is completely infectious, as he delves deep inside the troubled psyches of his characters (critic Pauline Kael said that the film was "permeated with the distilled essence of impure thoughts") in order to undermine expectations at every turn.
<ul type="disc"> High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the feature Optional original uncompressed Mono 2.0 Audio and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround Sound Optional English SDH subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing Symphony of Fear: Producer George Litto discusses his working relationship with Brian De Palma Dressed in White: Star Angie Dickinson on her role in the film Dressed in Purple: Star Nancy Allen discusses her role in the film Lessons in Filmmaking: Actor Keith Gordon discusses Dressed to Kill The Making of a Thriller A documentary on the making of Dressed to Kill featuring writer-director Brian De Palma, George Litto, stars Angie Dickinson, Nancy Allen, Dennis Franz and more! Unrated, R-Rated, and TV-Rated Comparison Featurette Slashing Dressed to Kill Brian De Palma and stars Nancy Allen and Keith Gordon discuss the changes that had to be made to avoid an X-rating Original Theatrical Gallery Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Nathanel Marsh Collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic and author Maitland McDonagh, illustrated with original archive stills and promotional material