×

Dressed to Kill

Brian De Palma goes right for the audience jugular in Dressed to Kill, a stylish exercise in ersatz-Hitchcock suspense-terror. Despite some major structural weaknesses, the cannily manipulated combination of mystery, gore and kinky sex adds up to a slick commercial package.

With:
Michael Caine Angie Dickinson Nancy Allen Keith Gordon Dennis Franz David Margulies

Brian De Palma goes right for the audience jugular in Dressed to Kill, a stylish exercise in ersatz-Hitchcock suspense-terror. Despite some major structural weaknesses, the cannily manipulated combination of mystery, gore and kinky sex adds up to a slick commercial package.

The film begins with a steamy auto-erotic shower scene and segues to a session between Angie Dickinson and psychiatrist Michael Caine.

Matters begin in earnest when Dickinson enters an elevator and is razor-sliced to death. Enter high-priced hooker Nancy Allen who finds the body and is caught razor-in-hand with no alibi, smack into the arch Hitchcockian position of a circumstantially involved ‘innocent’ forced to clear herself by discovering the real murderer.

Instances of patent manipulation or cheating (and the film’s stolen ending from Carrie) are generally more annoying in retrospect than while they’re happening.

Dickinson, who has an abdominal stand-in for the steamier segments, is used exceptionally well as the sexually torn, quickly disposed-of heroine. Caine, until the film’s internal logic breaks down, is excellent as the suave shrink.

Dressed to Kill

Production: Filmways/Cinema 77. Director Brian De Palma; Producer George Litto; Screenplay Brian De Palma; Camera Ralf Bode; Editor Jerry Greenberg, Bill Pankow; Music Pino Donaggio; Art Director Gary Weist

Crew: (Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1980. Running time: 105 MIN.

With: Michael Caine Angie Dickinson Nancy Allen Keith Gordon Dennis Franz David Margulies

More Film

  • Knuckle City

    Durban Fest Hails Film as ‘Conscience of Our Nation’

    DURBAN–When Ros and Teddy Sarkin raised the curtain on the first Durban Intl. Film Festival 40 years ago, the odds were long that their scrappy fest would survive its inaugural edition. The apartheid government and its draconian censorship board had a stranglehold on the films that reached South African theaters, banning the sorts of subversive [...]

  • Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell

    Film Review: 'Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell'

    “Streetwise,”  the classic and haunting 1984 documentary about homeless street kids in Seattle, is a movie that’s now 35 years old. But for anyone who has seen it, the children it’s about — drifters, hustlers, squatters, thieves, prostitutes — remain frozen in time. And none of them was ever more memorable than Tiny, the 14-year-old [...]

  • Animation Studio Fire

    Revenge Motive May Have Sparked Kyoto Animation Arson Attack

    Japanese media is speculating that revenge was the motivation for the arson attack on Kyoto Animation which killed 33 people on Thursday. Investigative sources quoted by Jiji Press on Friday said that the man in custody had a grudge against the studio. “Since [the studio] stole my novel, I poured out the liquid and set [...]

  • Terminator: Dark Fate Gabriel Luna

    'Terminator: Dark Fate' Cast Proud of Latinx Representation in Latest Installment

    The stars of the Tim Miller-directed “Terminator: Dark Fate” stormed the stage of San Diego Comic-Con’s Hall H on Thursday, but it wasn’t until after the panel — which included appearances from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton — that Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna and Diego Boneta reflected on what makes the upcoming installment in the [...]

  • It

    Producer Sues Warner Bros. Over 'It' Film Adaptations

    A producer who developed the original “It” TV miniseries sued Warner Bros. on Thursday, alleging the studio breached his contract by making the films “It” and “It Chapter Two” without him. Frank Konigsberg and Larry Sanitsky were running Telepictures in the early 1980s when they acquired the rights to the Stephen King novel. They developed [...]

  • Animation Studio Fire

    Kyoto Arson Attack: Animation Community Mourns Colleagues

    Thursday’s deadly attack on Japan’s Kyoto Animation studios left many in the animation community shocked and horrified by the loss of 33 of their colleagues. Another 36 people were injured in the attack, which was Japan’s deadliest ever. A suspect was arrested after pouring a flammable liquid inside the building, which caught fire and trapped [...]

  • Nicolas Cage

    Film News Roundup: Nicolas Cage's '10 Double Zero' Completes Financing

    In today’s film news roundup, financing has been secured for a Nicolas Cage police drama, feature drama “Topside” is unveiled and the late Tom Snyder is getting a tribute from his daughter. FINANCING COMPLETED DCR Finance Corp. has signed a deal to complete the financing for Nicolas Cage’s upcoming crime drama “10 Double Zero.” The [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content