This page should have been called My Arse Types.
Don’t get me wrong – De Palma can absolutely do wrong. Witness the abomination that was SNAKE EYES and to a lesser degree, MISSION TO MARS. But there have been enough winners earlier in De Palma’s career that more than makes up for BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES, imo.
First, many say that De Palma imitates Hitchcock. I say, no – he doesn’t imitate him at all, in fact, De Palma’s visual style is very much his own. He does, however, tends to revisit similar themes that Hitchcock has covered, like obsessive love. Obsession is De Palma’s nod to Hitchock’s obsessive love opus, Vertigo. This time round, Cliff Robertson plays an American man who loses his wife and daughter during a kidnapping go awry, then meets a young woman years later who looks exactly like his deceased wife. He naturally pursues her, and they marry. With tragic results.
DRESSED TO KILL
Dressed To Kill has light (or is that dark?) shades of Psycho thrown in. The story revolves around a mysterious blond woman who kills a psychiatrist’s patient, then sets her sights on a high-class hooker, the only witness to the murder. As is usually the case with De Palma genre flicks, things are not what they seem. Like in Psycho, De Palma has the audacity to pull the rug out from underneath us in terms of what he does to our heroine in the first third, and this story is peppered with themes of – shall we say – duality.
The art direction in all of De Palma’s films is really outstanding. Angie Dickinson who played Kate Miller and as far as I am concerned exited the movie way too soon, wore an all white ensemble in that fateful scene in the elevator. Did you notice her earrings and that bracelet on her left wrist? Those, my friends, were pieces of wholesale sterling silver jewelry. How do I know it was wholesale? My girlfriend, at the time the movie was made, had a friend who worked in the film’s art department who actually had to go find very specific jewelry pieces for Angie Dickinson’s character. She ended up in a wholesale jewelry store in mid-town Manhattan where she finally found what she was looking for. And Nancy Allen also had some fine pieces of jewelry; like that barrette that held back her gorgeous locks of hair. It looked like it might have been made from gold cuz of the reflections, but the truth is, it was sterling silver as well.
This will be continued else where on this site…