Dressed to Kill (The Criterion Collection)

Director - Brian DePalma

Cast - Angie Dickinson, Nancy Allen, Michael Caine

Country of Origin - U.S.

Discs - 1

Distributor - Criterion

Reviewer - Scott MacDonald

Date - 09/07/2015

The Film (5/5)

    Angie Dickinson plays Kate Miller a sexually frustrated wife and mother living in New York. As the film opens she is dreaming of a brutal sexual scenario where she is forcefully taken by a strange man in her shower. This occurs while her husband watches, and does nothing. She wakes from this dream, only to have her now alert husband engage her in sex that can viewed as absolutely boring to her, and just fine to him.   Later in the morning she goes to her psychiatrist Doctor Elliott (Michael Caine, Get Carter), and discusses her sexual frustrations with in regards to her husband

      After this she attends an art museum exhibit, and leaves with a stranger whom she has wild sex with, first in the cab, and then in his hotel room. When she awakens hours later, she goes to leave the man a note, stating her happiness with the encounter, but discovers a doctors note informing her mysterious lover  has been recently diagnosed with VD. This would be a pretty major problem if it weren't for the fact that soon after leaving the room, she steps into the elevator of the hotel, and is brutally murdered by a blond woman in sunglasses. This murder is observed by a high-class prostitute named Liz (Nancy Allen, Blow-Out), and her current John. Liz is drawn into the investigation with Kate's son Peter (Keith Gordon, Christine) and is given a few days to prove her innocence before being thrown into prison for a murder she knows that she did not commit.

    Brian DePalma is a director that can be very hit or miss. He has been directing in a multitude of generes since the 1960’s, and having worked so much that is to be expected.  However, when a DePalma film is good, it is usually very good, and Dressed to Kill is one of the director's finest films.   DePalma as has long been established is a director whose work owes a great debt to the work of Alfred Hitchcock, this can be seen as far back to Sisters in 1974 if not earlier. Dressed to Kill uses certain notable elements to pay homage to the Hitchcock style while forging forward in it's own unique direction.

    DePalma offers an effective blend of brutal violence, sleazy, suspense with touches of humor. Also, the performances of the cast which are across the board phenomenal, especially Angie Dickinson, who although her screen time is limited managed to take a character who could be cliché under another actress and brings her to life with strong, powerful, and natural emotions.


Audio/Video (4.5/5)

    Criterion's Blu-ray of Dressed to Kill was slated for an August release date, but was pushed back a few weeks when it was discovered that the first pressing of the disc was compressed in a way that made certain scenes look quite different than intended. Now that has been corrected, and it should be said Dressed to Kill has likely never looked better than it has here. Criterion has presented Dressed to Kill in a fantastic 2:35:1 1080p AVC encoded transfer.  Colors here are stable, and look quite nice, detail is improved from prior releases, and looks quite nice, and there is a healthy level of grain throughout.

     The audio for the film is presented in an English LPCM 1.0 track that sounds quite excellent. The dialogue, an score come through nicely, and I could find nothing to complain about.


Extras (4/5)

    Criterion have loaded up their Blu-ray edition of Dressed to Kill. The disc is packed  with interviews with the cast and crew, documentaries, appreciations, trailers, and more. There is a leaflet of liner notes also included with the package.



    Dressed to Kill is one of Brian DePalma's finest films and Criterion has brought it to Blu-ray again in a splendid release. It looks and sounds fantastic, and is loaded with extras, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.