Body Heat appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Despite a smattering of concerns, the transfer usually looked decent.
Sharpness wasn’t a significant problem. The movie sported a hazy, humid look to fit the muggy Florida climate, and that could make the image a little soft at times. However, this made sense within the visual design, so I didn’t fault the transfer for those elements. I thought the movie was accurate and concise within its parameters.
No examples of moiré effects or jagged edges appeared, and I noticed no edge enhancement. Source flaws stayed minor. I noticed the occasional speck or mark, but nothing intrusive. Instead, the movie usually stayed clean.
Again due to the visual design, colors remained subdued. The muggy setting led toward dense tones. These probably could have been a little more vivacious, but the transfer replicated them with acceptable definition. Blacks tended to be a little inky at times, though, and shadows could seem a bit murky. Though this never became a great transfer, it seemed acceptable for the material.
Though Body Heat got a Dolby Digital 5.1 remix, don’t expect much from the soundfield. The material concentrated heavily on the front speakers, especially in the center. Music broadened moderately to the sides and presented passable stereo imaging. We also got a little light atmosphere from the front and rears, but matters stayed focused on the center. This was essentially a monaural mix with a little extra attached.
Audio quality seemed perfectly fine for a 25-year-old flick. Speech was consistently concise and natural, with no edginess or other problems. Effects were a minor factor but seemed accurate and without notable distortion or other concerns. Music seemed a little muted but usually was fairly full. This was an unexceptional soundtrack.
For this “Deluxe Edition” of Body Heat, we get a collection of featurettes. Body Heat: The Plan lasts 17 minutes, five seconds and mixes movie clips, archival materials, and interviews. We hear from director Lawrence Kasdan and actors William Hurt, Kathleen Turner and Ted Danson. Kasdan discusses how he got to direct his first film and why he chose a noir. We then follow the story’s path to production, casting, rehearsal and performances, and a few aspects of the flick.
As you can tell from that synopsis, actors get the most attention in “Plan”, and that’s fine with me. Actually, I’d have liked to know more about Kasdan’s influences and inspirations, but at least we find good participation from the cast and learn a lot about their side of things. Those elements help make this an effective program.
Next comes the 16-minute and 16-second Body Heat: The Production. It features Kasdan, Hurt, Turner, director of photography Richard H. Kline and editor Carol Littleton. The show looks at location choices and shooting in Florida, aspects of particular shots and performance elements, dealing with sex scenes and violence, visual motifs and photographic choices, and a few other specifics.
“Production” moves our understanding of the film along well. It goes through its topics in a logical manner and explains them to a satisfying degree. I’d think it probably could run longer and delve more fully into the different areas, but it works nicely nonetheless.
Finally, Body Heat: The Post-Production goes for 10 minutes and 36 seconds. It includes notes from Kasdan, Hurt, Turner, Danson, Kline, Littleton, and composer John Barry. This one covers editing and removed scenes, music, and valedictory thoughts about the film.
“Post-Production” finishes matters in a satisfactory way. It goes over the end of the movie processes with nice detail as it runs through its subjects. “Post-Production” caps matters with an informative piece.
Five Lifted Scenes fill a total of nine minutes, 29 seconds. We find “In the Backseat” (1:03), “Stewardess” (1:01), “Practice Run” (2:06), “First Murder Attempt” (1:12) and “After the Attempt” (4:07). The last two are moderately interesting since they show an aborted stab at Edmund. The first three offer minor exposition but not anything memorable.
In addition to the trailer for Heat, we get 1981 Interview Footage with Kathleen Turner and William Hurt. This 12-minute and 35-second reel shows the actors individually. First Turner discusses her casting, some general thoughts about the film, reflections on old noir flicks, Kasdan’s direction and aspects of her performance, working with Hurt, and how her prior roles helped her in Heat. Hurt chats about what he liked about the script, challenges of the role and working with Kasdan, jumping from stage to screen,
Of the two actors, Hurt proves more interesting here. He offers some nice notes about his career path and choices. However, I can’t say either performer presents much useful information, so these clips are good for archival purposes but not a lot more.
1981’s Body Heat took a dormant genre and gave it life. It also accelerated the careers of most connected with it as the neo-noir became a hit. 25 years later, the film still holds up well as it presents a tight little thriller. The DVD offers decent picture and audio plus reasonably useful extras. This isn’t a stellar DVD, but it’s a good one for an involving movie.