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Dressed to Kill

224 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Writer-director Brian De Palma "maintains a fever pitch from start to finish" (Leonard Maltin) with this "steamily libidinous and extremely bloody thriller" (Newsweek)! Starring Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson and Nancy Allen (in a Golden Glober-nominated performance), this taut psycho-sexual chiller is a razor-sharp tale of passion, madness and murder that's as "scary as the devil [with] suspense to spare" (Playboy)! Fashionable Manhattan therapist Dr. Robert Elliott (Caine) faces the most terrifying moment of his life, when a psychotic killer begins attacking the women (Dickinson and Allen) in his life- with a straight razor stolen from his office. Desperate to find the murderer before anyone else is hurt, Elliott is soon drawn into a dark and disturbing world of chilling desires. And as the doctor edges closer to the terrible truth, he finds himself lost in a provocative and deadly maze of obsession, deviance and deceit- where the most harmless erotic fantasies...can become the most deadly sexual nightmares!

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To condemn Dressed to Kill as a Hitchcock rip-off is to miss the sheer enjoyment of Brian De Palma's delirious 1980 thriller. Hitchcockian homages run rampant through most of De Palma's earlier films, and this one's chock-full of visual quotes, mostly cribbed from Vertigo and Psycho. 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's 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, fortysomething 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


Special Features

  • Unrated and R-rated versions on the same disc
  • 45 min. documentary "The Making of a Thriller"
  • Animated photo gallery
  • Advertising photo gallery
  • "Slashing Dressed to Kill" featurette
  • "Dressed to Kill: An Appreciation by Keith Gordon" featurette
  • Comparison of the unrated, R-rated, and network versions

Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson, Nancy Allen, Keith Gordon, Dennis Franz
  • Directors: Brian De Palma
  • Writers: Brian De Palma
  • Producers: Fred C. Caruso, George Litto, Samuel Z. Arkoff
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: August 28, 2001
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (224 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005K3NU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,430 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Dressed to Kill" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By barry VINE VOICE on September 19, 2011
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
It's very exciting to see DRESSED TO KILL on blu ray and for all fans the question when a blu ray of an older film already owned on dvd comes to blu ray is - how does it look? Is it worth it to double or even triple dip? The answer here is a resounding YES - the film looks and sounds great on blu ray and is a must have. There has always been much controversy over how good a film DRESSED TO KILL is and as to how original director Brian De Palma actually is. Many critics considered this a Hitchcock rip-off and others thought De Palma used his same standard directiorial mechanics here to results similar to his other films. I myself love this film and like to think any Hitchcockian comparisons are actually done in a respectful bow to Hitchcock. And though I did find some scenes similar to those in De Palma's CARRIE, this film stands on its own as an excellent scary and suspenseful film with a very original story line. We know De Palma loves his shower scenes here and the shots with Angie Dickinson (and the body double for close ups) are legendary.

But what about the bu ray. This is a film from 1980 and overall the video presentation here is superb. Though the picture isn't always fully sharp the clarity is excellent. Close ups are crystal clear with flesh tones very realistic. Colors are vivid and pop. The black/white ratio is overall excellent. Sometimes blacks come across a little shadowy but this most likely has to do with the original film source. There is some graininess but it is again part of the intentional viewing experince. With the blu ray you get an overall clear, exciting and vivid picture with clarity that pulls you in. And the audio is amazing. The DTS HD Master 5.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Libretio on October 3, 2001
Format: DVD
DRESSED TO KILL

(USA - 1980)

Aspect ratio: 2.39:1 (Panavision)
Theatrical soundtrack: Mono

Brian De Palma's superb thriller borrows the plot structure of PSYCHO (1960) to tell a completely original story in a manner which Hitchcock would surely have admired. The 'Pure Cinema' approach deployed here also evokes the best work of Dario Argento, though De Palma clearly has his own agenda. His script attends the fall-out from a terrifying attack on a frustrated housewife (Angie Dickinson) by a razor-wielding maniac who then turns his/her attentions to the sole witness, a streetwise hooker (Nancy Allen) who teams up with Dickinson's teenage son (Keith Gordon) when she becomes a suspect in the case.

A masterful example of visual storytelling, DRESSED TO KILL employs constantly roving camerawork to propel complex characters through a series of bravura set-pieces (the museum, the elevator, the subway, etc.), filmed in breathtaking Panavision by the late cinematographer Ralf Bode. At a time when most current scope movies are designed primarily for TV - which rather defeats the whole purpose of scope photography! - it's a revelation to see the entire width of the 2.39:1 frame being used to define characters and advance the plot through an accumulation of visual tricks and counterpoints. Pino Donaggio's memorable score provides an often thunderous accompaniment to the on-screen horrors, and it's refreshing to find a grown-up cast (including a restrained Michael Caine) making the most of a scenario which addresses mature themes in an intelligent manner. This intense thriller refuses to sacrifice integrity for the sake of cheap shocks, but it still manages to scale the dizzying heights of genuine horror.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Pranay C. Shrivastava on May 18, 2001
Format: DVD
Watching a really good thriller is like enjoying a feast after a day long fast. Absolute Satisfaction !!! This movie embodies all the elements of a great thriller ... * A taut script * Well Developed Characters * Hard hitting acting. The story begins with Angie Dickinson, a bored housewife largely unsatisfied with her husband who yearns for more. On one of her visits to the museum she befriends a strange man and has an affair with him. She enjoys her time spent with the stranger realising how much she was missing when she is with her husband and on one such occassion while returning home she is brutally murdered in an elevator. A young lady (Nancy Allen) catches a glimpse of the murderer and she initially becomes a suspect and later a prime witness. Giving away any more of the story would be a crime as the several twists and turns this movie takes are what make it so engrossing. A tad slow moving at times the movie picks up the pace almost immediately before the viewer realises with some finely nuanced performances by Michael Caine,Angie Dickinson,Nancy Allen and Dennis Franz among others. The suspense is maintained throughout the film and makes you want to watch it again and again. This movie is an absolute must for a collector and I hope the Special Edition does some justice to this fine movie. Also recommend watching the following ... * The Usual Suspects * Out of Sight * The Rear Window.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Eric on May 25, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Brian De Palma is a director praised for his visual style and originality. Unfortunately, his style rarely has had the chance to mix with a great script (the major exception is The Untouchables). He's been on a slump recently, as he just came out with the critically drubbed Mission to Mars and the absolutely atrocious Snake Eyes. Though if one wants to see exactly how fine a director he is, you should check out his films in the 80's, which was definitely the time of his heyday. De Palma is particlarly good at crafting suspense, as I noticed when I watched Body Double, his last erotic thriller. That was a seriously underrated film and it made me want to watch some more of his suspense/thrillers. Dressed to Kill seem to have the most resemblance to Body Double so I chose to watch that film. Now, I didn't think Dressed to Kill could possibly match Body Double's suspense but to my surprise, Dressed to Kill is just as great a film, as it's suspense is, to some regard, even more unnerving.
The film begins surrealistically as we see a woman taking a shower. She runs her hands over body sensuously and the expression on her face is obviously one of pleasure. The score that runs in the background at the time is a pleasant one, but this sensuous bubble is burst when a man steps behind this woman, grabs her, and begins to rape her in the shower, and the scene makes a sudden change as we see a man having sex with the same woman on a bed. We find out the woman's name is Kate Miller (Angie Dickinson) and that she has marital troubles. She sees a psychiatrist named Dr. Elliott (Michael Caine) about these problems. In a session early in the film, she tells him that she no longer enjoys sex with her husband.
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