Body Heat 1981 Movie Scene William Hurt as Ned Racine and Kathleen Turner as Matty Walker laying nude in bed after making love

Body Heat [1981]

You know those hot summer days when even thinking makes you sweat? Days when you cannot function normally and you can’t wait for the night to fall. And if a cool summer breeze makes you feel fine, to quote the great American poet, Peter Steele, then everything just might be alright. As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in my underwear, sweating and waiting for that damn night to come. It definitely came last night when I finally decided to check out this eighties classic. More of an erotic thriller than a film noir, Body Heat is a steamy and engaging movie that kickstarted a whole new subgenre.

It pays homage to the 1940s movie Double Indemnity which was based on a novel of the same name. We will be following a small-town lawyer who gets involved with a beautiful woman who hates her husband. I think you can see where this is going straight away. The only thing that surprised me about Body Heat is its pace. It’s rather sluggish at times and things are moving pretty slowly for a high-stakes thriller. I think they were trying to make it as immersive as possible, focusing on the concept of a lonely housewife who’s having an affair. And then decides to raise the stakes, sort of speak.

The interplay between slick Ned and irresistible Matty was sublime. I can already hear all the moans in the audience when he fucking took her in his strong arms. The casting was simply perfect featuring future star Kathleen Turner in her first role. And William Hurt proved why he’s going to have such a long and fruitful career. The supporting cast is also not too shabby as we have both Ted Danson and Mickey Rourke. Richard Crenna’s screen time was rather limited but when he was on, he was fucking on.

Ned Racine is a single small-town lawyer who loves women. Jumping from one casual affair to another, he stumbles upon her, Matty. Matty Walker is a lonely wife of a rich businessman who’s almost always away. The two of them have a rocky start but soon Ned falls for her hook, line, and sinker. The affair turns into something much, much bigger. Something dangerous, deadly, and uncontrollable.

Body Heat is all about that sexually-charged atmosphere. The setting could not have been more perfect with Florida experiencing its first economic boom. It was full of rich guys making loads of money doing who knows what and dreamy girls willing to do whatever it takes to make it to the top. This is in no way a generalization of our society but an honest representation of a small percentage of the population. The heat and the humidity were the physical manifestation of the secretion of bodily fluids.

Moving on, there’s a lot of nudity in Body Heat, as one might’ve expected. It’s tastefully done and it doesn’t feel sleazy at all. Instead, it feels passionate and honest trying to capture those few moments in your life when you felt like that. Okay, okay, those few moments when I felt like that. I also loved the highly suggestive scenes hinting at various sexual acts. We can also witness what the idea of fitness was back in the eighties. You run for a few miles and then you casually light up a cigarette.

With the addition of cigarettes and constant smoking, our nihilistic/hedonistic setting was complete. Body Heat holds up pretty well after more than 40 years and it’s still worth watching. If you’re looking for similar movies do check out The Hot Spot and Palmetto.

Director: Lawrence Kasdan

Writer: Lawrence Kasdan

Cast: William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, Richard Crenna, Ted Danson, J.A. Preston, Mickey Rourke

Fun Facts: Since the movie features so many nude scenes both Hurt and Turner made sure they knew the crew working with them personally. They made their introduction completely nude and casual defusing the tension and making the filming of those scenes much easier for everybody.


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