DVD Reviews - Body Heat and Basic Instinct

      Date posted: December 31, 1969

Body Heat
Body Heat
Lawrence Kasdan, director; Warner Home Video;
Widescreen & Pan & Scan; Dolby Digital 5.1
English, Dolby Surround French; 113 Minutes

Basic Instinct
Paul Verhoeven, director; Live Enertainment;
Widescreen & Pan & Scan; Dolby Digital 5.1
English, Dolby Stereo 2.0 Spanish; 129 Minutes

      Body Heat is one of those films that’s so hot and steamy you sweat watching it, even with the air conditioning on. Set in the Florida keys in summer, it contains brilliant youthful performances by William Hurt as a dumber-than-he-looks lawyer, and Kathleen Turner as a true femme fatale. Director Kasdan would go on to make The Big Chill and The Accidental Tourist (both with Hurt in leading roles), but this is his most accomplished film, the combination of atmosphere, performances and pacing absolutely perfect.

      The atmosphere is further improved by the 5.1 remix. To the best of my knowledge, the original theatrical film and laserdisc releases were mono. The transfer to DVD is superb, preserving the colour and sense of heat mist in the air, as the two principals become more entwined in sex and murder.

      Sex and murder are what Basic Instinct was all about, a more recent, inferior film that allowed Sharon Basic Instinct Stone to create a minor scandal by flashing her bush while being questioned by police. I gave away the ending in an earlier review, so I won’t get into the plot, except to say that Michael Douglas’s character, a cop, is not much brighter than Hurt’s, but does solve the crime in a rather implausible plot. How likely is it that the murderess could really be his ex-wife and a police psychologist to boot?

      Well, now that I’ve given away the whole film, you may not want to watch it, and that’s perhaps just as well, though the DVD transfer’s picture and sound are first rate.

Andrew Marshall

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