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Category:    Home > Reviews > Thriller > Drama > Neo-Noir > Body Heat (1981/Warner Blu-ray)

Body Heat (1981/Warner Blu-ray)


Picture: B+     Sound: B+     Extras: B-     Film: C+



Lawrence Kasdan’s 1981 feature film Body Heat is one of those films that is typically remembered more for its use of nudity rather than its actual storyline, which is pretty much an updated version of the classic film Double Indemnity, which I had the pleasure of reviewing here:





Unlike the genius of a film like Double Indemnity, Body Heat can’t seem to manage the material well enough to make it memorable, instead it opts for love scene after love scene between its stars William Hurt and a very young Kathleen Turner, who are plotting to kill her husband so that the two lovers can be together.  We’ve all seen this story unfold many times before; the only difference here is that it is amidst a heat wave in Florida, thus the title as we get sweaty love scenes instead.  Oh boy. 


Having never really been a fan of the film, its debut to Blu-ray enables me to see the film with a fresh perspective as it’s been quite some time since I have seen the film, plus I have only seen it in poor VHS quality broadcasts.  Presented in a 1080p high definition transfer and framed at 1.85 X 1 the image looks amazingly superior to all previous versions that I have seen.  Part of the ‘look’ of the film is a hazy backdrop that gives the impression that we are in a heat wave, but until now that atmosphere was always too muddy and appeared grainy, soft, and even washed out at times.  On Blu-ray the film looks detailed, color-rich, and demonstrates solid definition and resolution throughout.  Blacks are appropriately deep without losing the detail and showing full grayscale as well, whites also look true, which was also an issue before as certain scenes looked more yellow in nature, but the Blu-ray corrects those issues as well. 


The film is also presented with both Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes and a superior Dolby Digital TrueHD 5.1 lossless audio track that runs rings around the others.  John Barry’s score sounds full and clear, while dialogue and other effects are primarily forward in the soundstage, the overall feel is very natural and relaxed offering a very realistic interpretation.  The basic Dolby Digital tracks are weaker, feel compressed, and are limited in their capabilities, which only help demonstrate how superior the TrueHD mix is. 


There were a few scenes that did not make the final cut of the film; they are offered in the special features section along with three featurettes that detail the production, script, and casting, plus original interviews with the cast and a theatrical trailer, which all combined make for a decent addition that fans will enjoy.



-   Nate Goss


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