The Sizzling “Body Heat” Turns 40! A Celebration Of This Modern Day “Film Noir!”

Fog. Late night. Black And White. Film Noir At Its Purest!

You wanna know what film noir is? Here is what wikipedia says:

“Film noir is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize cynical attitudes and sexual motivations.”

Cynical Attitudes and Sexual Motivations, Indeed!

I LOVE that definition, as it encompasses what I love most about the movies! Need an example? Well, try out this movie dialogue from “Double Indemnity”:

Walter Neff: You’ll be here too?
Phyllis: I guess so, I usually am.
Walter Neff: Same chair, same perfume, same anklet?
Phyllis: I wonder if I know what you mean.
Walter Neff: I wonder if you wonder.

“I Wonder If You Wonder…”

The brilliant “Double Indemnity” is a perfect example of the genre – but there have been more recent films that have captured this same smoky, sexy feel…

Try out this steamy dialogue from “Body Heat”:

Ned: Maybe you shouldn’t dress like that.
Matty: This is a blouse and a skirt. I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Ned: You shouldn’t wear that body.

This, my friends, is GREAT DIALOGUE. Time to celebrate the 40th anniversary of this classic film noir!

Body HeatTurns 40!

In 1981, Director Lawrence Kasden wrote and directed a modern day film noir – and it is brilliant – starring William Hurt and featuring Kathleen Turner’s movie debut! It was released 40 years ago last week, and hasn’t aged a day!

Here is the original theatrical trailer, dripping with noir…

Cynical Attitudes and Sexual Motivations!

Remember what makes a classic “noir”, and this film does just that!

William Hurt is Ned Racine, a seedy small town lawyer in Florida. During a searing heatwave he comes across Kathleen Turner, who plays Matty Walker – married to a shady businessman.

Here is the dialogue the first night Ned meets Matty, while her husband is away, and it is CLASSIC noir:

Ned: Can I buy you a drink?
Matty: I told you. I’ve got a husband.
Ned: I’ll buy him one too.
Matty: He’s out of town.
Ned: My favorite kind. We’ll drink to him.
Matty: Only comes up on weekends.
Ned: I’m liking him better all the time. (pause) You better take me up on this quick. In about 45 minutes, I’m going to give up and go away.

Now THAT is great writing!

Obviously, a passionate affair commences but it isn’t long before they realize the only thing standing in their way is Matty’s rich husband Edmund.

A plot hatches to kill him but will they pull it off? All throughout, the dialogue is terrific!

Matty: You aren’t too smart, are you? I like that in a man.
Ned: What else do you like? Lazy? Ugly? Horny? I got ’em all.
Matty: You don’t look lazy.

Kathleen Turner’s star-making debut is mesmerizing: she commands the screen with a fearless performance.

Needless to say, things get very complicated, as Ned admits to his buddy, played by a young and very charismatic Ted Danson…

Ned: Sometimes the shit comes down so heavy I feel like I should wear a hat.

The script is razor sharp, the plot propels itself forward to a shocking ending, and the cast is flawless.

Actors William Hurt and Kathleen Turner wanted the crew to feel comfortable filming their love scenes. So they lined up the crew and both actors introduced themselves to each crew member. When they did this, both stars were naked!

This is one of my all-time favorite movies, almost perfect in setup and execution – don’t know anything more than I’ve told you and you’ll have a great thrill ride ahead!

Kathleen Turner made another wild film a few years later:

“Crimes Of Passion” is lurid, sexy and completely bonkers!

See more here, including the trailer:

“Body Heat” was a classic “film noir” that also played as a modern “erotic thriller” – here’s another classic one:

“Fatal Attraction” was a pop culture phenomenon when released in 1987, and still packs a punch today! See more here:

Finally, if you want to read the greatest “noir” Author of all time, it was Raymond Chandler:

He created Private Eye Philip Marlowe, shown here portrayed by Humphrey Bogart, and yes, he’s reading Chandler’s brilliant “The Big Sleep” – click here to see them all!

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Let me know what you think of “Body Heat” at 40!

Categories: Action Films, Art, Books / Media, Cult Movies, Exploitation films, Film Fight Club, Film Noir, Great Films, Hollywood, Movies, Pop Culture, Revenge Movies, Talent/Celebrities

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15 replies

  1. Body Heat is one of my favorite neo-noirs! Turner and Hurt are a fantastic screen duo (I also love them in The Accidental Tourist). BTW, I’m a huge fan of Crimes Of Passion — Turner’s no-holds-barred performance is unforgettable.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this film! I’d put it with Chinatown as perfectly designed, constructed, shot and acted. They came out, what? Five years apart? Both so true to their inspirations but entirely their own.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, 6 years apart and both modern classic film noirs…Ales and I saw Kathleen Turner sing and tell stories at Cafe Carlyle in 2018 and she said the set was FREEZING cold due to a cold spell in Florida during all of the sex scenes!


  3. I love noir and love this movie

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, I have at least seen Fatal Attraction, John. There are a ton of films I haven’t seen.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, I watch this every six months or so.


  6. Great film. I saw it on release at a London cinema, then bought the VHS when it was available so I could watch it again. Still holds up today, with all the right boxes well and truly ticked!
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person


  1. RIP William Hurt….This Brilliant Actor Was 71 Years Old…An Homage… – johnrieber

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