This week, The Unenthusiastic Critic is dressing down Brian De Palma's controversial suspense thriller Dressed to Kill (1980), starring Angie Dickinson, Michael Caine, Nancy Allen, Keith Gordon, and Dennis Franz.
Released 40 years ago this week, Dressed to Kill was met with fiercely polarized reviews and angry political protests. A meticulously-crafted homage to De Palma's spiritual mentor Alfred Hitchcock, the film features some dazzling shots and some brilliantly executed set pieces. It also features so much graphic nudity and violence that it nearly earned an X-rating, a lot of disturbing racism and misogyny, and a profoundly transphobic plot that's almost too absurd to be offensive.
Join us for Nakea's first viewing of a problematic 40-year-old thriller that aggressively straddles the razor's edge between the ridiculous and the sublime.
0:00: Prologue: from the documentary De Palma.
00:38: Cultural Osmosis: Pre-Viewing Discussion
16:35: Interlude: Original Trailer
18:36: The Verdict: Post-Viewing Discussion
1:24:29: Outro and Next Week's Movie
Notes and Links
—Movie Reviewed: Dressed to Kill (dir. Brian De Palma, MGM, 1980)
—Prologue from De Palma (dir. Noah Baumbach & Jake Paltrow, Empire Ward Pictures, 2015)
—Links and Sources: "Dressed to Kill: The Power of Two," Michael Koresky, Criterion; "Why I Can't Love Brian De Palma (Though I've Always Wished I Could)," Owen Gleiberman, Variety; Review of Dressed to Kill, Roger Ebert, rogerebert.com; "Is Brian De Palma Derivative or Dazzling? Critics Andrew Sarris and J. Hoberman Duke it Out," Tatiana Craine, Village Voice; "Dressed to Kill protested," Jump Cut; "Body Talk: Conversations on Transgender Cinema with Caden Gardner," Willow Maclay, Curtsies and Hand Grenades; "On Queens, Dreams, Gays, Garp, and Being Different," Haley Tiresius, TV-TS Tapestry; Review of Dressed to Kill, Pauline Kael, Taking It All In (Holt Rinehart Winston, 1984).
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