BODY HEAT is about burning desire. You can feel and smell the sweat, the cigarette smoke, and the deception and betrayal. It’s sexy, sleazy, but above all, it’s a genre setting film that birthed the erotic thrillers of the 1980’s and launched the careers of Lawrence Kasdan, Kathleen Turner, and William Hurt in the process.
It’s a fascinating feature, it’s a soft remake of the classic DOUBLE INDEMNITY and was shadow produced by George Lucas. Kasdan was able to roll all of his screenwriting star power into making his directorial debut with a film so sexy and steeped in noir, that it remains cinematic classic.
William Hurt and Kathleen Turner’s chemistry in the film is so powerful, that you can instantly feel and relish in their sexual tension. Hurt’s character progression is remarkable; he starts out as the seedy lawyer and then he’s the alpha male in heat, then he’s the lover who will do anything for Turner, and then he ends up as the ultimate chump whose lust completely blinded him from the telegraphed motives of his obsession.
Yet without John Barry’s remarkable score, this film would not be nearly as powerful and sexy as it is. The sexy jazz score with an abundance of saxophone truly accentuates the mood of the feature. It is easily one of the best film scores of all time.
The picture is stocked with wonderfully memorable supporting performances from Richard Crenna, Ted Danson, and Mickey Rourke in his breakout role singing along to Bob Seger. The film also found it’s way into Cormac McCarty’s screenplay for THE COUNSELOR, in a scene between Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender, Pitt cautions Fassbender by recalling a scene between Rourke and Hurt.
After all, this film is a very heavy cautionary tale about lust and more importantly, obsession. When we latch onto an obsession with such velocity and abandon any sense of reality, there’s a very good chance that we’ll burn ourselves down in our own fiery passion, and that’s exactly what William Hurt does.