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Dressed to Kill (1980) – Review

dreesed to kill uncut

After sexually frustrated housewife Kate Miller (Angie Dickinson) has a meeting with her psychiatrist Dr Elliott (Michael Caine), she silently seduces a man she meets at an art gallery, a turn of events that ends in murder and the only witness, high-class prostitute Liz Blake (Nancy Allen), is also being stalked by the killer as well.

Brian De Palma’s 1980’s thriller caused a lot of fuss on its initial release, Dressed To Kill was criticised for its sexual content and violence against women,  but seen today its one of the director’s finest works, its got Hitchcock touches for sure, but stands up on its own as a very well directed, suspenseful movie.

The version on this release is fully uncut, some cuts and changes to dialogue were forced upon theatrical release to get an R rating in America. The film flows beautifully, the scene in the museum is a standout, shot without any dialogue it is a masterclass in using images and music only to tell a story. Angie Dickinson is very good and has a solid supporting cast giving the whole film a classy look. My only complaint is what seems like a tacked on, if very well shot,  shock ending which seemed totally unnecessary considering what came before.

dressed to kill blu rayThe Blu ray released by Arrow has a striking 1080P transfer, the booklet inside says “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”.        No complaints from this reviewer. Clarity and depth are very pleasing, the colours are solid and I did not notice any over-sharpening of the image as grain can be seen clearly. The sound is English LPCM 2.0 and English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Both tracks are very good indeed the 5.1 track giving as you would expect slightly more depth.

Extras are:

Slashing Dressed to Kill – in this featurette, director Brian De Palma, Nancy Allen, Keith Gordon, Angie Dickinson, editor Jerry Greenberg, and producer George Litto discuss the controversy that once surrounded the rating of Dressed to Kill.

A Film Comparison – a fascinating look at the differences between the Unrated, Rated-R, and Network  TV versions of Dressed to Kill. Various clips highlighting what was cut or censored are included.

The Making of a Thriller –  Director Brian de Palma, actors Angie Dickinson and Keith Gordon, and producer George Litto recall their work on Dressed to Kill. Very interesting anecdotes about the making of the film from all involved. Great stuff.

Also included are separate interviews with Angie Dickinson, Nancy Allen, Keith Gordon and producer George Litto. All give great insight into the production, the filming and other actors involved in the movie.

Finally, there is a trailer and a booklet featuring: “Dressed to Kill: American Giallo” by Maitland McDonagh; “I Know You’re Watching Me: The Poster of Dressed to Kill – Stephen Sayadian Interviewed by Daniel Bird”; and poster gallery.

Another great package from Arrow with great extras. Recommended.





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